Tripti Joshi (Editor)

Paul Rutherford (trombonist)

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Genres  Jazz
Instruments  Trombone
Role  Trombone player
Occupation(s)  Trombonist
Name  Paul Rutherford
Paul Rutherford (trombone player) httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsee
Birth name  Paul William Rutherford
Origin  Greenwich, London, England
Associated acts  John Stevens, Trevor Watts
Died  August 5, 2007, London, United Kingdom
Education  Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Albums  The Gentle Harm of the Bourgeoisie, Septober Energy
Music groups  Spontaneous Music Ensemble, Centipede, The Orckestra
Similar People  John Stevens, Barry Guy, Trevor Watts, Evan Parker, Paul Lovens

Paul William Rutherford (29 February 1940 – 5 August 2007) was an English free improvising trombonist.



Paul Rutherford (trombonist) httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

Born in Greenwich, South East London, Rutherford initially played saxophone but switched to trombone. During the 1960s, he taught at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

In 1970, Rutherford, guitarist Derek Bailey and bassist Barry Guy formed the improvising group Iskra 1903, which lasted until 1973. The formation was documented on a double album from Incus, later reissued with much bonus material on the 3-CD set Chapter One (Emanem, 2000). A film soundtrack was separately released as Buzz Soundtrack. Iskra 1903 was one of the earliest free improvising groups to omit a drummer/percussionist, permitting the players to explore a range of textures and dynamics which set it apart from such other contemporary improvising ensembles as SME and AMM. The group's unusual name is the Russian word for "spark"; it was the title of the Iskra revolutionary newspaper edited by Lenin. The "1903" designation means "20th century music for trio"; occasionally Evan Parker played with the group (Iskra 1904) and Rutherford also at one point assembled a 12-piece ensemble called, inevitably, Iskra 1912.

The group was later revived with Philipp Wachsmann replacing Bailey, a phase of the group's life that lasted from roughly 1977 to 1995; its earlier work is documented on Chapter Two (Emanem, 2006) and its final recordings were issued on Maya (Iskra 1903) and Emanem (Frankfurt 1991).

Rutherford also played with Globe Unity Orchestra, London Jazz Composer's Orchestra, Centipede, the Mike Westbrook Orchestra, and the Orckestra, a merger of avant-rock group Henry Cow, the Mike Westbrook Brass Band and folk singer Frankie Armstrong. He also played a very small number of gigs with Soft Machine. He is perhaps most famous for solo trombone improvisations. His album The Gentle Harm of the Bourgeoisie is a landmark recording in solo trombone and his 1983 Trio album Gheim, recorded at the Bracknell Jazz Festival is another acclaimed work.

Rutherford died of cirrhosis of the liver and a ruptured aorta on 5 August 2007, aged 67.[2]

In November 2007 a memorial concert was held at the Red Rose Club in North London in memory of Rutherford, which featured musician friends playing free jazz. Rutherford had been devoted to the country of Cuba and its people, after first playing there in 1986 as part of The Siger Band British Council tours of the country. Rutherford's family presented three trombones and a euphonium to the Music Fund for Cuba.


Rutherford was a major player in the British free improvisation scene and part of the European free jazz scene. He was one of the first to use unorthodox playing techniques for improvisation. Rutherford was one of the first to use trombone multiphonics, i.e. he sang into the trombone and blew at the same time.


  • Iskra 1903 (Incus, 1972) with Derek Bailey and Barry Guy - reissued as Chapter One 1970-1972 in Emanem in 2000 with additional material
  • As sideman

    With Barry Guy/The London Jazz Composers' Orchestra

  • Ode (Incus, 1972)
  • Songs

    GroupcomposingGroupcomposing · 1978
    LoliloquyChicago 2002 · 2002
    Bottle OutChicago 2002 · 2002


    Paul Rutherford (trombonist) Wikipedia