Tuesday, January 31, 2017

George Russell - 1959 - Modern Jazz Concert

George Russell
Modern Jazz Concert

01. All About Rosie   
02. On Green Mountain   
03. Suspensions   
04. Revelations (First Movement)   
05. All Set   
06. Transformation

Alto Saxophone – John LaPorta
Arranged By, Conductor – George Russell, Gunther Schuller
Baritone Saxophone – Teo Macero (tracks: B1, B2)
Bass – Fred Zimmerman (tracks: B1, B2), Joe Benjamin (tracks: except B1, B2)
Bassoon – Manuel Zegler
Drums – Teddy Sommer
Flugelhorn – James Buffington
Flute – Robert DiDomenica
Guitar – Barry Galbraith
Harp – Margaret Ross
Piano – Bill Evans
Tenor Saxophone – Hal McKusick
Trombone – Jimmy Knepper
Trumpet – Art Farmer, Louis Mucci
Vibraphone – Teddy Charles
Vocals, Bass [Pizzicato] – Charles Mingus (tracks: B1, B2)

Modern Jazz Concert
Six Compositions commissioned by the
1957 Brandeis University Festival of the Arts, New York City
Track A1, A3: Recorded June 10, 1957
Track B1, B2: Recorded June 18, 1957
Track A2, B3: Recorded June 20, 1957

(Reissued in 1977 in Japan as Brandeis Jazz Festival)

Most of the material is representative of third stream experiments popular for a time in the late '50s and early '60s, with Bill Evans in the role as a hired hand rather than leader, the role that falls either to conductors Gunther Schuller or George Russell, with most of the tracks originating from a Columbia LP titled Modern Jazz Concert and having reappeared in various incarnations with other selections in earlier reissues. Russell's impressive modern big band scoring of his "All About Rosie" is easily one of the highlights, with terrific ensembles and solos. Charles Mingus' "Revelations" is rather ominous, often suggesting the influence of Igor Stravinsky. The last three tracks are from an unrelated live Newport Jazz Festival Verve recording by mellophonist Don Elliott, who leads a quartet with Bill Evans, bassist Ernie Furtado, and drummer Al Beldini through merely average arrangements of three standards. The piecemeal gathering of these very dissimilar sessions for two different labels is troublesome, though the difficulty in acquiring this music make this edition a viable option for collectors.

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