Roswell Rudd

Bebop was arguably one of the worst thing to ever happen to the trombone. While the block-ish rhythms and rough-hewn sonorities of early jazz were tailor-made for -- and in part, defined by -- the infinitely flexible instrument, the technical requirements of modern jazz just about put it out of business. Over the years, a number of very fine players (J.J. Johnson and Frank Rosolino being the foremost among them) managed to adapt the instrument to the exigencies of bop. In the process, however, they were usually forced to sacrifice the peculiar tonal expressivity that sets the trombone apart from other jazz instruments. It wasn't really until the advent of free jazz that trombonists reclaimed the slides, smears, growls, and groans that had virtually disappeared from the current of jazz's development for some 20-plus years.