Wednesday, February 1, 2017

George Russell - 2007 - Things New-Unissued Concerts 1960 & 1964

George Russell 
2007 
Things New-Unissued Concerts 1960 & 1964




01. Introduction (1:42)
02. Things New (7:58)
03. Dance Class (3:38)
04. Potting Shed (4:34)
05. Stratusphunk (6:35)
06. The Outer View (9:30)
07. Stratusphunk (7:08)
08. Volupte (11:59)
09. You Are The Sunshine (8:58)
10. Around Midnight (6:33)


Tracks from three recently discovered 1960’s concerts, by the celebrated arranger, pianist & experimental theorist, George Russell, released here for the very first time - and from the same period as his famous “Ezz-Thetics” album (1961) with Eric Dolphy. Included are new versions of the Russell classics: “Stratusphunk” and “The Outer View”.

1-5: Berkshire Music Barn, Lennox, Massachusetts, September 1, 1960.
6-9: Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, R.I., July 1964.
10: Europe, July, 1964.


Personnel / Recorded:

George Russell - piano, arranger
with:
#1-5:
Al Kiger - trumpet
Dave Baker - trombone
Dave Young - tenor sax
Chuck Israels - bass
Joe Hunt - drums
David Lahm - replace G.Russell on piano [#4 only]
Recorded at Berkshire Music Barn, Lennox, Massachusetts, September 1, 1960
#6-9:
Don Ellis - trumpet
Dave Baker - trombone
John Gilmore - tenor sax
Steve Swallow - bass
Pete La Roca - drums
Sheila Jordan - vocals [#9 only]
Recorded at Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, R.I., July 1964
#10:
Thad Jones - cornet
Garnett Brown - trombone
Joe Farrell - saxes
Unknown musician - bass
Al Heath - drums
Recorded in Europe, July, 1964




There were few examples of early-'60s live recordings featuring composer/pianist George Russell for decades, then suddenly, several live sets appeared over a two year period between 2007 and 2008. This compilation on Rare Live Recordings includes a previously unissued set in 1960 at the Berkshire Music Barn in New England, a 1964 Newport Jazz Festival set (possibly taped by Voice of America for broadcast overseas), plus one song from a 1964 European concert. The first four tracks, all from 1960, include a band with trombonist David Baker, trumpeter Al Kiger, tenor saxophonist Dave Young, bassist Chuck Israels, and drummer Joe Hunt. Russell's style of forward-thinking jazz pleases the audience, especially the post-bop cooker "Things New" showcasing Baker, and David Lahm, one of Russell's students and the son of the famous lyricist Dorothy Fields, subs on piano, playing his complex original "Potting Shed," which shows the influence of his mentor. The tasty though unusual blues "Stratusphunk" has a great walking bassline, dissonant piano, and sassy muted trumpet. The Newport material faced special challenges, as Russell jokes about bringing rocks up onto the outdoor stage to hold the music in place. One can hear the wind hitting the microphone during some of his comments. Russell and Baker are joined by trumpeter Don Ellis, tenor saxophonist John Gilmore, bassist Steve Swallow (prior to his switch to electric bass), and drummer Pete "La Roca" Sims. The leader's challenging compositions "The Outer View" and "Volupte" are well received, though they produced catcalls from some members of European audiences during a tour later in the year. Vocalist Sheila Jordan is added for Russell's dissonant treatment of "You Are My Sunshine." The final track, from an unknown European venue, has tenorist Joe Farrell taking over the lead role from alto saxophonist Eric Dolphy (on the original studio session) in the pianist's superb arrangement of "'Round Midnight," with Russell adding some far out chords, though Farrell doesn't quite match Dolphy's emotion. The sound isn't flawless and there is some slight variation in the audio, a little muddy sound here and there and some wow, but hardly enough to keep from investigating these historic performances.

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