Saturday, March 2, 2019

Abissi Infiniti - 1981 - Tunnel

Abissi Infiniti 
1981
Tunnel


01. Come Bambini Di Sera
02. Il Segreto
03. Spirale
04. Tunnel
05. Abissi Infiniti
06. Nebbia Incantata
07. Fessure Di Luna
08. Merlino
09. La Grotta Di Cristallo


- Alberto Cazzola / keyboards
- Paolo Fin / drums
- Enrico Kötterl / Solina strings
- Claudio Liotto / piano, vocals
- Lucio Negretto / bass
- Andrea Zanatta / guitars

Guest musicians:
- Claudio C. / drums (1-3)
- Aldo Menti / bass (3,4), violin (8), acoustic guitar (8), electric guitar (3)


A young group from Vicenza, basically found in a basement of a local house in an evening of 1975, where the future members had been gathered.The documents and texts reveal the fact that the band was playing in an amateur level with local gigs and occasional jam gatherings, but in 1981 they decided to record and release an independent LP.The musician were Alberto Cazzola on keyboards, Paolo Fin on drums, Claudio Liotto on piano/vocals, Lucio Negretto on bass and Andrea Zanatta on guitar, adding Enrico Kotterl on Solina strings for the upcoming sessions.The album was titled ''Tunnel'' (Knights Records).The front cover might confuse a buyer, thinking of ''Tunnel'' being closer to a Hard Rock or Heavy Metal album, but the album was actually a refined Symphonic Rock attempt with lots of Pop elements and a typical 80's production, where the synthesizer and piano have replaced the analogue keyboards, while the symphonic arrangements of the period bands have become very polished and even radio-friendly.So the point was to produce some decent and memorable music and Abissi Infiniti were quite good on it, they appear to be influenced by Premiata Forneria Marconi and Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, as their compositions contained lots of keyboards and piano interludes next to the elaborate guitar parts.Of course this is 1981 and the tracks contain also hints of Italian Soft Rock and Pop, but even so every piece has at least one interesting moment, either it's a beautiful, Genesis-spiced guitar solo or some well-crafted keyboard themes with symphonic overtones.The music is at a good level with some acoustic breaks among the electric pieces, on the other hand some weak synth moves and the ultra-sweet vocals are not among the album's highlights plus some of the pieces sound not properly developed.But the unique Italian atmosphere is always there and the tracks contain plenty of beautiful melodies.So, this band was just made for fun and only Enrico Kotterl was involved in another Italian Prog album with songwriting credits, Gli Apostholi's ''Un'isola senza sole''.No question, he wrote all the lyrics for Abissi Infiniti's sole output and continued to work as a graphic designer.File next to Aton's, Audio or Guercia.

ABISSI INFINITI is an early '80s band who made one album of mellow, dreamy Italian prog. They are: Alberto Cazzola on keyboards, Paolo Fin on drums, Enrico Kötterl on Solina strings, Claudio Liotto on piano and vocals, Lucio Negretto on bass and Andrea Zanatta on guitars.

Their album "Tunnel" had a very small pressing back in 1981 and the LP is considered a rarity. Luckily, it was re-issued on cd in 1994. Their calm, melodious symphonic style has the aerial qualities of bands such as Il VOLO, PFM and GENESIS; they have also been compared to some of the spacier French prog acts.

Recommended for those who appreciate dreamy, serene keyboard-based melodies.

Good God - 1972 - Good God

Good God
1972
Good God


01. A Murder Of Crows (6:24)
02. Galorna Gavorna (5:11)
03. King Kong (8:53)
04. Dragon Song (4:20)
05. Zaragoza (6:31)
06. Fish Eye (8:37)

Larry Cardarelli / guitar, vocals
Cotton Kent / piano, e-piano, clavinet, soprano saxophone, marimba, vocals
Greg Scott / soprano, alto & tenor saxophones
John Ransome / bass
Hank Ransome / drums, vocals

With:
- Johnny Almond / tenor saxophone
- Bruce Solomon / trombone
- Bob Martin / French horn
- Bob Shemenek / trumpet
- Larry Washington / congas


Good God was a jazz/rock fusion band based is Philadelphia in the early 1970s. The group was led by guirist Larry Cardarelli on guitar and Cotton Kent on keyboards. Filling out the band were Greg Scott on saxophones, John Ransome on bass and Hank Ransome on drums. They released one album in 1972 on Atlantic Records (with the catalog number right before Close To The Edge - thanks to Dick Heath for that tidbit).

Rumor has it that band got it's name when they, huge Captain Beefheart fans, called Don Van Vliet out of the blue, and asked what they should call themselves. Good God! was his reported reply.

Whether or not that story is true, their album, as rare as it is, is highly regarded among fusion enthusiasts.

GOOD GOD were a five piece Jazz/ Rock band out of Philadelphia and they released this one album back in 1972. We get two sax players although the one also plays the keyboards, plus we get four guests playing a variety of horns. Love the electric piano that is quite prominent and the guitar. Legend says they were huge CAPTAIN BEEFHEART fans, so when they were trying to decide on a band name they phoned him up and yes they got their band name by his sarcastic response. These guys cover a Frank Zappa song and a John McLaughlin tune on this album.
"A Murder Of Crows" is a pretty good rocking track with bass, guitar and drums leading the way. The horns after 1 1/2 minutes change the flavour though and we get keyboards as well. So impressive. Electric piano to the fore after 3 minutes as the horns stop. The guitar takes the spotlight a minute later. Vocals 5 1/2 minutes in but by the 6 minute mark the horns have replaced them. This is probably my favourite one from their original material. "Galorna Gavorna" is such a catchy tune, it's hard not to move. The vocals and sound bring GENTLE GIANT to my mind but that changes when the vocals stop and the horns start to lead the way. The guitar replaces the horns 2 1/2 minutes in as they continue to jam. Electric piano to the fore after 3 1/2 minutes. There's a bit of a "Continental Circus"(GONG) vibe with the rhythm section. "King Kong" is a Zappa cover and a top three for me. This is a jazzy, horn and electric piano led piece where once again it feels like a jam. I really like this one.

"Dragon Song" is my other top three and a John McLaughlin cover. This is a powerful Jazz/ Fusion song with plenty of horns and busy drum work. The guitar starts to light it up before 2 1/2 minutes. "Zaragoza" is the first time I feel like it mellows out and that's just at the start of this one as we get piano melodies and lazy horn expressions. It does start to build even by the first minute as things start to get adventerous especially the horns. This lasts for about a minute then the electric piano leads the way with bass and drums. The horns are back and then we get a brief drum solo 3 1/2 minutes in. A calm returns after 5 1/2 minutes. Good song. "Fish Eye" is different as we get a bluesy CAPTAIN BEEFHEART inspired tune. The horns blast to start before it settles right down a minute in as these bluesy vocals join in. I can just imagine seeing these guys in a smoke filled bar at this point. The horns will come and go along with bluesy guitar melodies. We get a lazy prolonged horn solo late followed by a passionate ending.

This is a really good album that keeps me interested all the way through. 

Ray Russell - 1977 - Ready Or Not

Ray Russell
1977
Ready Or Not


01. Ready Or Not
02. The Whole Of Tomorrow
03. Amy In May
04. Slave
05. Liberty Caps From The Coast
06. Living For the City
07. The Clapping Song
08. Teaser For Lisa
09. Sweet Surrender
10. Eighth House
11. What Trousers Are These
12. Q

BONUS TRACKS
13. Sweet Surrender (backing track)
14. The Clapping Song (backing track)
15. The Pain Of Love
16. I Need Your Love
17. The Clapping Song (outtake)

Bass Guitar – Mo Foster
Drums – Simon Phillips
Cello – Helen Wright
Violin [1st Violin] – Gavyn Wright
Viola – Levine Andrade
Violin [2nd Violin] – Liz Edwards
Guitars  – Ray Russell
Horns, Tenor Saxophone, Flute, Bass Clarinet – Tony Roberts
Horns, Trombone – Malcolm Griffiths
Horns, Trumpet, Flugelhorn  – Martin Drover
Keyboards – Chris Parren, Tony Hymas


Ray Russell's 'Ready Or Not' album pays homage in great detail to the best of 70's jazz funk, whilst retaining Ray's own identity, mainly through the original material. The influences are all there: Blood Sweat & Tears, CTA, The Electric Flag, Tower of Power and all those ground-breaking jazz funksters of the 1970s.

1. Ready Or Not - A 'minor' funk groove with shades of early Chicago. I like the tasty half-time middle section.

2. The Whole of Tomorrow - An uptempo powerhouse funkster where ray lets loose with a blistering guitar solo. Great drums from Simon Phillips.

3. Amy In May - A pretty acoustic ballad with a stripped-down approach.

4. Slave - Tower of Power-esque song with strong vocals from Denny McCaffrey and Tony Roberts gives it large with a storming sax solo.

5. Liberty Caps From The Coast - A masterfully structured work that features a tender acoustic guitar section.

6. Kiving For The City - A Beatles-inspired intro leads into a clever version of Stevie Wonder's song. Ray attacks the melody with a guitar voicebox in true Joe Walsh style.

7. The Clapping Song - One of my own all-time faves. A fine rendition of the Shirley Ellis original. Duet vocals from Al Green and Annie Kavanagh give this classic a new slant.

8. Teaser For Lisa - 70s funk at it's best, a great arrangement, a driving bass line from Mo Foster and some hot guitar playing from ray. Need I say more.

9. Sweet Surrender - Excellent vocal performances from Moon Williams and Annie Kavanagh on this 'party time' track that boasts some fine horn work.

10. Eighth House - A cool chill-out instrumental ballad that sounds very fresh, even now. Mo Foster turns in a beautiful bass performance.

11. What Trousers Are These - A sharp groove with a full 'in your face' arrangement. The tight horn section leads the listener to a nail biting edge of seat finale. Phew!

12. Q - A haunting Mo Foster tune full of synthesiser layers. Ray skillfully leads the ensemble through this 'leftfield' piece.

Bonus tracks include backing tracks for 'Sweet Surrender' and 'The Clapping Song' (also featured as an outtake). 'The Pain Of Love' is a funky R & B song sung soulfully by Denny McCaffrey, and the slick guitar solo is complemented by a classy Fender Rhodes performance from Roger Webb. A very cool track.

'I Need Your Love' features vocals again by Denny, I love this mid-temp funkster with Philly-style strings and slap bass. A good song with single potential.

Ray Russell is very dedicated to his craft as a composer and arranger but I know from speaking with him that his passion is for guitar playing, and that has not diminshed over the years. Long may his 'chops' stay hot!

Review by Ray Fenwick

Ray Russell - 1973 - Secret Asylum

Ray Russell
1973
Secret Asylum


01. Stained Angel Morning
02. Spinetree
03. Sweet Cauldron
04. All Through Over You
05. Nearer
06. These That I Am
07. To See Through The Sky
08. There The Dance Is
09. Children Of The Hollow Dawn

Bass – Daryl Runswick
Drums – Alan Rushton
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Piano – Ray Russell
Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Gary Windo
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Harry Beckett


Great work from the key years of British guitarist Ray Russell, the style here is quite free at times – Russell's guitar working in a quintet with Harry Beckett on trumpet and flugelhorn, Gary Windo on tenor and flute, Daryl Runswick on bass, and Alan Rushton on drums. Guitarist / composer Ray Russell was a dominant figure on the British Jazz scene in the late 1960s / early 1970s, making numerous seminal recordings as sideman and leader in a wide variety of styles ranging from Jazz-Rock Fusion, modern Jazz and even avant-garde Free Jazz.

Ray Russell is a composer whose wild explorations and sonic extensions of the electrified guitar set him aside from the famed British guitar heroes of the late '60s and '70s. Ray's rhythm and blues roots with The John Barry Seven, Georgie Fame, and the Graham Bond Organisation were set aside by the urgent call of the free jazz movement, and a succession of classic recordings (Turn Circle, Dragon Hill, Rites & Rituals, Live at the ICA, The Running Man) gave rise to his most challenging and ultimately rewarding suite of spectral sounds, the magnificent "Secret Asylum". All stretching out with energy that's similar to some of the freest moments in the Paris scene a few years before, inflected with some sharper, sometimes louder, edges from Russell's guitar – which is quite dark and fuzzy at points. Titles include "Stained Angel Morning", "There The Dance Is", "These That I Am", "All Through Over You", "Spinetree", and "Sweet Cauldron". As always, percussionist Alan Rushton batters beyond belief alongside the darting double bass of Daryl Runswick, with Harry Beckett playing inimitable figurines from his flugelhorn. The quintet is finalized by tenor titan Gary Windo who gives the last word in whirlwind intensity. Throughout the journey, "Secret Asylum" presents sonic caresses and searing assaults from all its featured participants, and its success has yet to be equalled...

"Secret Asylum" album shows him at the extreme edge of his work in the field of Free Jazz and is a wonderful example of the genre, similar to the work done earlier by John McLaughlin with John Surman on “Where Fortune Smiles”. Accompanied by a splendid group of musicians, Russell presents a series of his compositions, which vary from contemplative pieces to group improvisation mayhem, all performed splendidly. Beckett is more prominent on the quieter pieces and Windo leads the massive “wall of sound” sections, with his incredible virtuosity...

The album achieved little attention at the time of its release, but now 42 years after it was recorded, it can be really appreciated in full and in the proper historic perspective. Definitely worth checking out!

Ray Russell - 1971 - Live At The I.C.A

Ray Russell
1971
Live At The I.C.A


101. Lapis 15:47
102. Tip Roote Pt1 8:21
103. Tip Roote Pt2 5:45
104. Stained Angel Morning 18:16
105. All Week Tomorrow 16:08

Bonus CD
201. Stained Angel Morning (Studio) 7:03
202. Find Me And I'll Find You 26:54
203. A Riff Too Far 3:01
204. That Dream Again 4:33
205. Blue Rain 6:30
206. The Name Of Which I Cannot Recall 14:57
207. Dragon Hill 8:37

Bass – Daryl Runswick (tracks: 1-1 to 1-5, 2-2 to 2-6)
Drums – Alan Rushton
Guitar – Ray Russell
Saxophone – Gary Windo (tracks: 1-5, 2-2 to 2-5)
Tenor Saxophone, Bass Clarinet, Flute – Tony Roberts (tracks: 1-1 to 1-4)
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Harry Beckett (tracks: 1-1 to 1-5, 2-2 to 2-6)

The performances on these CDs are recorded live, without any edits or repairs.

1-1 to 1-4 recorded live at the Institute Of Contemporary Arts, London, 11th June 1971
1-5 recorded live at Jazz In Britain, 1978
2-1 recorded in undisclosed studio
2-2 recorded live for Jazz For Britain, 1974
2-3 to 2-5 recorded live at Capital Studios, 1975
2-6 recorded live at the Phoenix, 1975
2-7 recorded live for the Jazz Club, 1968


Following the release of Rites and Rituals in 1971, Ray Russell's sextet was offered the chance to be recorded live during a concert at the ICA. That show, on June 11, 1971, was issued as an album. The whole of that recording is used here, along with a retrospective of other live recordings and studio outtakes of some of his better-known material. As intense as the Dragon Hill and Rites and Rituals LPs are, they do little to prepare the listener for the experience of the intense telepathic communication these musicians were capable of in front of a live audience. The colors are so much deeper, so much brighter, and the spaces so much more open in concert, that it's easy to hear where the sextet preferred to spend its time. Tracks one through four are all at the ICA and contain virtually the same personnel from Rites and Rituals minus Nick Evans. The standout is the four-part blowing session suite "Stained Angel Morning," where Russell reveals how deeply into the free jazz and heavy metal camps he really was. His stabbing, singing notes and psychotic runs up the fretboard have nothing to do with scalular architecture, but rather with viscera and tonal exploration. Harry Beckett and Tony Roberts were both moving away from the traditional scenes they'd grown up in, and further into areas inhabited by the Art Ensemble of Chicago and the Sun Ra Arkestra. They were hearing Lester Bowie, Marshall Allen, Anthony Braxton, and Roscoe Mitchell, and moving into free jazz with open eyes. The awesome tonal and harmonic assaults and transformations that occur among the musicians in "Stained Angel Morning" cannot be overstated. There is music on this suite that had never been made before and hasn't been heard since. Another ICA date, from 1978, features the late saxophone wild man Gary Windo and pianist Brian Roberts, who also plays synthesizer. To listen to the rapport between Windo and Russell is to hear two men who believe firmly in freedom at all costs and are willing to help each other get there. The tonal explorations that this sextet undertook were wild, unruly, and literally savage. The musicians' ability to generate harmonics from inside the frame of a given improvisation and manage simultaneous consonance and dissonance was remarkable. And they rocked like champions while doing it. Disc two features the studio version of "Stained Angel Morning," one of the most psychotic unruly pieces of guitar fury ever recorded; it achieves all the feedback tones and affected sounds that Hendrix could get without the whammy bar or effects boxes and pedals. This is seven minutes of complete noise rock meltdown by a virtuoso guitarist. He doesn't need the notes multiplied to get the same effect; he just plays the guitar like he's strangling the thing and it's fighting for its life. The rest of disc two comes from various live gigs throughout the band's history. Each track is more outrageous and more profoundly disturbing than what came before. All of the current noise freaks -- Keiji Haino, Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo, Rudolph Grey, Masaki Batoh, Alan Licht (who wrote the liner notes to this set), and even Jim O'Rourke -- owe a great debt to Russell and this band; they showed beyond all doubt that a perfect "fusion" of free jazz and hard rock was the most natural thing in the world.

Ray Russell - 1970 - Rites And Rituals

Ray Russell 
1970
Rites And Rituals


01. Sarana
02. Rites And Rituals
03. Abyss
04. Cradle Hill

Bass – Daryl Runswick
Drums– Alan Rushton
Guitar – Ray Russell
Saxophone – Tony Roberts
Trombone – Nick Evans
Trumpet – Harry Beckett

Recorded at De Lane Lea Studios, August 1970.


Two years after the release of Dragon Hill, Ray Russell had completely rethought his approach to jazz and free improvisation. The only remaining member of his quartet was drummer Alan Rushton, and added were the horn section of Harry Beckett, Nick Evans, and Tony Roberts from the four-piece choir that were featured sporadically on that album. Rites and Rituals focuses solely on exploration and power. The only player holding the floor in this new band was bassist Daryl Runswick. Russell was into playing the hell out of his guitar, employing effects combining scales in angular, edgy ways and trying to undo the notion of time. Rushton never played slower than double-time on anything, and often threw all notions of tempo and meter into the dustbin to make room for a "pure rhythm," one that danced alongside a soloist rather that provided his pulse. Inside the line was the deep funk groove that the horns created and Russell painted with fat, stabbing chords. Evans used his trombone like Maceo Parker played a saxophone. As the groove reached a fever pitch, as it did on "Sarana," the tune broke apart and evolved into a series of spacious yet frantic solos complete with studio distortion. On the title track, Roberts' whispering flutes and shifting timbres from Russell's heavily reverbed guitar create a spacious tension that is tread upon, lightly at first, by Rushton and Runswick, and answered harmonically by Beckett and Evans. They build chord structure and harmonic sequence in order to open a tonal space for improvisation by everyone simultaneously. Once it's open, it is explored tenuously at first, and then with the anger that only that era could produce. Each tune here -- there are four -- is a journey into that anger and into the question of how improvisation could engage jazz but be free of its historical entanglements, and was there a way to extend the boundaries of rock music, whose visceral power was enviable but presented a limited palette of expression. Rites and Rituals is an awesome exercise in the joy of freedom and a wonderful example of the changing face of electric jazz as it more fully embraced rock and funk's vocabularies.

If Russell was never a conventional man in his solo career, albums like Rites And Rituals can still be accessed by some classic fusion fans, but even it will lose quite a bit along the way. Featuring a few British-jazz stalwarts, like Nick Evans, Harry Beckett or bassist Runswick, Ray Russell certainly decided to challenge once more whatever few followers were still following his musical explorations. Adorned with a stupendous and well-justified artwork, R&R was recorded in the summer 70, but not released until the following year on the Columbia UK label

Opening on the 13-mins+ fiery red-hot fusion of Sarana, R&R gets off to a solid “rock” start, with some incendiary guitar and wild brass answers, the whole thing not being too far from Nucleus, despite a propensity at showing-off a bit, and tends to hesitate between mayhem and total chaos towards it end. The just-as-long title track is even further “out there”, often flirting with total dissonant improvs and despite an almost-normal passage at the 9-mins mark (before Rushton’s drum solo) and an accessible end, this is a tough track to “dig” or “get”. Opening the flipside, some bowed-bass drones warn you that you’re not yet through your cosmic nightmare, the 15-mins Abyss will indeed bring you into the depth of insanity, wondering how to escape from the infernal lave spewing out of your speakers, but you should come out enriched from the experience. The short (well everything relative, with its 5-mins duration) Cradle Hill will climb up another rung on the weirdness scale, but by that time, you should be either used to it, popped the album away or have left the room. Most likely one of the two latter options. 

Well, I’d be very careful recommend this relatively excellent fusion quagmire, because only a few of the more adventurous free-jazz-heads or RIO freaks will probably appreciate it to its mind-challenging value. To be honest, I don’t always manage it myself and it’s definitely not the type of album I’d listen to more than once or twice a year. 

Ray Russell Quartet - 1969 - Dragon Hill

Ray Russell Quartet
1969
Dragon Hill


01. Dragon Hill
02. Something In The Sky
03. Can I Have My Paper-Back Back
04. We Lie Naked In White Snow
05. Mandala

Bass – Ron Mathewson
Drums – Alan Rushton
Guitar – Ray Russell
Piano – Roy Fry

Tenor Saxophone – Lyn Dobson
Trombone – Donald Beichtol
Trumpet – Bud Parkes
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Harry Beckett


To listen to the reissues of guitarist Ray Russell's early Columbia recordings is to open an eye on a different world, at least a different world in jazz. First of all, Dragon Hill's quartet of Russell, pianist Roger Fry, bassist Ron Matthewson, and drummer Alan Rushton was a frighteningly good jazz unit. They could play the canon until the cows came home and made the best case for modern British jazz at the time. But these were young, restless players; while the blues were fine and good, the edges explored by John Coltrane and the electric Miles Davis group were difficult to resist. Dragon Hill is the sound of a band reinventing itself; undoing the method they previously played music in and replacing it with an intense monster they could barely handle, let alone control. Nothing on this disc was edited, and everything was done in one take without overdubs of any kind. When Russell states a blues theme lifted straight from Davis' "All Blues," you wonder what's up. But it lasts only a moment, because he goes right out of the frame. The band keeps the mode harmonically, but Russell loops over the margins and gets the band to explore with him. They return periodically -- especially Russell, who seems afraid to let go -- but by the time they reach the next tune, "Something in the Sky," the fear is gone. "Dragon Hill" winds out, wailing the blues in a whole new context, unburdened by the chord changes. "Something in the Sky" is like a bebop tune that has become unwound. Adding a four-piece horn section here and on "Mandala," the album's closer, Russell reveals how much influence Jimi Hendrix had on him. He takes in the jazz leanings of the horn players, creates a new harmonic base with Fry, and then shoves his screaming rock guitar into the thick of jazz. It's as if he's trying to break it all apart and it works with the context of the group. The album's backbone is "Can I Have My Paperback Back." Russell's melodic line gets doubled by Fry on electric piano, and they take the blues ride into jazz-funk territory before spiraling the entire composition into pure improvisation without any regard for where or when they may return -- and they never do fully. It's a different tune at the end. Dragon Hill is the first in a pair of albums that revealed -- at least to those in Great Britain lucky enough to hear him play -- that Russell wasn't merely a fine jazz player, but a truly original musical thinker and an improvisational force to be reckoned with. This disc is a wonderful introduction to an underappreciated artist.

Ray Russell Quartet - 1968 - Turn Circle

Ray Russell Quartet
1968
Turn Circle


01. Footprints 5:15
02. Bonita 4:30
03. Peruvian Triangle 6:30
04. Sombrero Sam 5:25
05. The Fry And I 4:30
06. A Day In The Working Life Of A Slave Of Lower Egypt Part I Dormancy 1:18
07. A Day In The Working Life Of A Slave Of Lower EgyptPart II Tremendum 7:15
08. A Day In The Working Life Of A Slave Of Lower EgyptPart III Path 6:28

Bass – Ron Mathewson
Drums – Alan Rushton
Guitar – Ray Russell
Piano – Roy Fry


Russell is probably the most heinously undervalued jazz guitarist in the world, which is ironic because he is undoubtedly one of the best. His style is his own, sounding like no other guitarist.

This album, recorded in 1968, is quite beautiful and the rather quaint cover art adds to its overall charm, showing Russell sporting a Burns Bison solid electric guitar, a singularly unorthodox choice of axe for a singularly unusual jazz guitarist. Two excellent covers of Wayne Shorter's "Footprints" and Charles Lloyd's "Sombrero Sam" join six Russell-penned compositions, the first three—"Bonita, "Peruvian Triangle" and "The Fry and I —are solid, well-arranged and performed, the last three comprising a three-part suite entitled "A Day in the Working Life of a Slave of Lower Egypt. Parts I ("Dormancy ) and II ("Tremendum ) are nearer to Russell's later freer work, whereas Part III ("Path") is a more straight-ahead modal piece introduced and concluded by an initial bass figure.

Throughout the album, Russell's guitar work never fails to engage, and his accompanying rhythm section is simply top-notch, with sumptuous piano inventiveness by the late Roy Fry, typically deft bass from Ron Mathewson, who has played with everyone from Ronnie Scott to Tubby Hayes to Ian Carr's Nucleus, and fine drumming from Alan Rushton. This modest yet masterly recording warrants urgent reevaluation as it offers essential and hitherto missing evidence of the truly talented craftsmanship of Ray Russell.