Terry Adams: Hilda




Terry Adams (piano)


Terrible (New World Records 80473-2)

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Terry Adams (piano), Roswell Rudd (trombone),

Greg Cohen (bass), Bobby Previte (drums)


Composed by Terry Adams


Recorded: Woodstock, NY, January 16-17 & 19-20, 1995


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

Long-time NRBQ fans know that the name is short for New Rhythm & Blues Quartet, and that from day one in 1968, irrepressible keyboardist/composer Terry Adams was the eclectic group's creative linchpin. Their first (self-titled) album included Sun Ra's "Rocket Number Nine," and they would play just about anything from rockabilly to country, from wacky covers of TV and movie themes to, of course, R&B. Sun Ra sidemen such as Marshall Allen and Pat Patrick would frequent NRBQ's horn section. All the while, Adams would engage audiences with unpredictable keyboard solos that could evoke both Jerry Lee Lewis and Thelonious Monk. Adams's long-awaited instrumental "jazz" recording finally saw the light of day in 1995, and was well worth the wait.

For the track "Hilda," Adams is reunited with trombonist Roswell Rudd, with whom he first played in the Carla Bley Band (European Tour 1977). Rudd plays the sparse, Monkish melody as Adams's piano aptly fills in the open spaces, Previte all the while keeping an out-of-kilter Latin beat. Rudd's rough-toned, vocalized sound and pungent, darting phrases make his solo a compelling listen. Adams responds with rich chords and tumbling runs, punctuated by urgent ostinatos and dissonant scatterings of notes. Cohen solos briefly before Previte's clanging, whirlwind drum break, which brings us back to the catchy theme. (Adams, Cohen and Previte, by the way, were on-screen members of singer Annie Ross's backup band in Robert Altman's film, Short Cuts.)

Reviewer: Scott Albin


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