Ray Anderson, who turns 71 on October 16, can look back on a long and eventful career. Born and raised in Chicago, he was influenced at a young age by the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, AACM for short, with musicians such as Muhal Richard Abrams, Roscoe Mitchell and Amina Claudine Myers, but rock musicians such as James Brown, Sly Stone and Jimi Hendrix were just as important to him. The jazz audience got to know Anderson in the late seventies when he played in the bands of Anthony Braxton and Barry Altschul, and he even founded the funk band Slickaphonics where he combined his avant-garde influences with danceable, humorous and razor-sharp funk. Later he played in bands such as the trombone quartet Slideride, the Pocket Brass Band, the George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band, Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra and the Vienna Art Orchestra. He has worked with musicians as diverse as Erika Stucky, Henry Threadgill, John Scofield, and Dr. John. He differs from elegant co-musicians such as Jay Jay Johnson or Albert Mangelsdorff in his expressive, dirty and cheeky style. He explores all possibilities on his instrument from noises to the echoes of early jazz from New Orleans, most recently on his solo album "Marching On" from last year.
On "Double Trouble", he allies himself with drummer Bobby Previte, who became famous in the 1980s in the M-Base environment of Greg Osby and Robin Eubanks, but also played with New York musicians such as John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Don Byron, Anthony Davis and Mark Helias. Previte founded his own bands in the nineties, such as Weather Clear, Track Fast, Empty Suits and the Voodoo Orchestra. In recent years he has been heard in the band The Coalition of the Willing, but he has also composed film music – for example for Robert Altman's episode film "Short Cuts", in which Previte can also be seen as a musician - and has played with Elliott Sharp, Tom Waits, Annie Ross and Victoria Williams.
Both musicians combine a mischievous sense of humor and a conception of jazz that knows no limits. Right on the opener "Homage for Charles Moffett” (the drummer strongly influenced Anderson during his visit to San Francisco in the early seventies), noises such as marbles, growls and moans play an important role before you hear the echo of traditional jazz from New Orleans from afar. In Previte's "Downgrading", the drummer takes on very great form and replaces a whole band with his manic and restless style, over which Anderson can produce his music, especially with deep tones. Anderson seems to speak through his trombone and tell stories that are not always entirely youth-free. "Double Trouble" ends with "Not Since"; it is the longest track on the album with more than eleven minutes of playing time. The record is more than a heartfelt musical encounter between two old friends. It shows that an exciting, free dialog in 2023 has nothing to do with dusty free jazz, but presents the downright encyclopedic comprehension and expressiveness of two exceptional musicians who have a lot to say to each other.
"Double Trouble" was recorded last January in a New York studio with the beautiful name Three Horses in a Wood. The two musicians produced the record themselves, and Bobby Previte mixed the music. The graphically striking cover is the work of Nikolaus Troxler, the founder of the famous Willisau Jazz Festival. The multi-award-winning Swiss graphic designer has designed many festival posters for this purpose.