By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Rudolph's main L.A. outlet this decade has been his Moving Pictures band, a fascinating blend of rhythm, improvisation, sonic experiment and foreign flavors featuring saxist Jones, multi-instrumentalist Jihad Racy and harpist Susan Allen; Oguri is also a regular partner in the concert performances of the group, which will soon issue its third release, the live Twelve Arrows. The album takes a daring leap into a mode of performance unfamiliar to most Western ears, wherein interinstrumental relationships develop slowly, naturally, with plenty of space.
"In my first week in Ghana," says Rudolph, "I went to a ceremony where it started in a very offhand manner, with everyone talking and sort of tapping on the drums, and next thing you know, these spirits are coming down and entering people. Or Gnawa healing ceremonies -- they start at sunset and go till about 1 o'clock the next day. When you're there the whole time, you can move through the transformation of it. On Java, the puppet shows go on for hours and hours. I want to explore that."
One of Rudolph's more ambitious stretches has been The Dreamer, produced in 1995 for his own Meta Records label (www.metarecords.com). Based on narrated texts from Nietzsche and Schopenhauer and accompanied by the highly defined, resonant paintings of Rudolph's wife, Nancy Jackson, this surreal, ever-shifting opera is performed by a chamber orchestra featuring such L.A. improvimental luminaries as guitarist G.E. Stinson (himself a former Hyde Park resident) and violinist Jeff Gauthier. Watch for a reprise staging, which will probably again include Oguri in the title role.
Right now, Rudolph is busy as always, encouraged to find ever more receptive listeners and some shelter from the prevailing glare. "Hollywood is like these huge fluorescent lights," he says. "Our kind of thing is like candlelight. But other than the sun, a candle is the most beautiful light."
There's one figure it would be hard to omit from any discussion of Adam Rudolph: Yusef Lateef, friend and associate for 12 years. "Yusef has been the greatest inspiration, musically and personally, in my life," Rudolph says simply, and the man's example shows why.
Beginning as an admirer of Charlie Parker in the '40s, Lateef declared he wouldn't repeat himself, and hasn't. Acknowledged by John Coltrane for pioneering introductions of Eastern elements into jazz, he was a renowned saxist, flutist, what-have-you-ist, composer and pathfinder before lowering his American profile in the '80s by devoting four years to teaching in Nigeria. As the 78-year-old continues to fertilize future generations through his professorship at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, his works, though largely unknown among mainstream jazz listeners, have reached new levels of power and scope, lately even displaying a mastery of electronic invention. And Rudolph has been his strongest bulwark, lending his arsenal of instruments and his musical direction to numerous tours, as well as such discs as the orchestral The African American Epic Suite (ACT/WDR), the 12-musician The World at Peace (recorded for Meta Records at L.A.'s Jazz Bakery), and the moody, sinuous flute-guitar-percussion statement Like the Dust (the last two available from Lateef's YAL Records, P.O. Box 799, Amherst, MA 01004).