Rudder : Rudder

The self-titled debut from the New York City-based band Rudder is the product of sporadic recording sessions spread over four years by four musicians who have made their mark as sidemen. 

Rudder, comprised of Chris Creek (saxophone), Henry Hey (keyboards), Tim Lefebvre (bass), and Keith Carlock (drums), is an experimental jazz outfit that veers into much of the area pioneered by fellow New Yorkers Medeski, Martin, and Wood, but without much of the same funkiness and lacking some of the trio’s more adventurous qualities.

Rudder’s debut release plays it safe, with the band seeming hesitant to stretch out.  Instead, they go to work over half-finished ideas and underdeveloped riffs that leave Rudder less than inspiring. 

Tracks such as the opening “Squarefoot” and “Juray” start to build interesting grooves, but are ultimately abandoned moments before they fully take flight.  Perhaps their longtime role as sideman and in the stuffy confines of TV studio bands has stunted some of their natural instinct to explore. 

Rudder is out now on  Nineteen-Eight Records