Roswell Rudd (born Roswell Hopkins Rudd, Jr. in Sharon, Connecticut, on November 17, 1935) was an American jazz trombonist. Although skilled in all styles of jazz (including dixieland, which he performed while in college), he is known primarily for his work in free and avant-garde jazz. Since 1962 Rudd worked extensively with Archie Shepp, a close friend.
Rudd participated in key free jazz recordings, notably with the New York Art Quartet, on the soundtrack recording for Michael Snow's 1964 film New York Eye and Ear Control, and Michael Mantler & Carla Bley's 1968 Jazz Composer's OrchestrA- Communications featuring Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, Pharoah Sanders, Larry Coryell and Gato Barbieri. A major factor in Rudd's career has been his lifelong friendship with Steve Lacy and their numerous recordings and performances of the music of Thelonious Monk.
Rudd graduated from Yale University, and later taught music-ethnology at Bard College and the University of Maine. On and off for a period of three decades, Roswell Rudd assisted Alan Lomax with his world song style project and the wealth of information on the music of this planet inspired him to collaborate beyond the periphery of western music.
Rudd was a frequent visitor to the African nation of Mali, performing and recording with Malian musicians. His 2001 CD MALIcool, a cross-cultural collaboration with kora player Toumani Diabaté and other Malian musicians represented the first time the trombone had been featured in a recording of Malian traditional music.