Complete 1956-1960 Smalltet & Orchestra Recordings (3 LPs on 2 CDs) + Bonus Tracks
  • RCA Victor LPM 1372 RCA Victor LPM 1372
  • Columbia WL127 Columbia WL127
  • Decca DL 9219 Decca DL 9219
  • Decca DL 9216 Decca DL 9216
  • George Russell George Russell

George Russell

Complete 1956-1960 Smalltet & Orchestra Recordings (3 LPs on 2 CDs) + Bonus Tracks

Fresh Sound Records

Personnel:
Art Farmer, Ernie Royal (tp), Jimmy Knepper, Frank Rehak, Bob Brookmeyer (tb), Hal McKusick, John LaPorta, Phil Woods, John Coltrane, Al Cohn (reeds), Bill Evans, Paul Bley (p), Teddy Charles (vib), Barry Galbraith (g), Milt Hinton (b), Don Lamond (d)

Reference: FSRCD 847_2

Bar code: 8427328608473

Although George Russell (1923-2009) first emerged on the avant garde jazz scene in 1946, when he wrote for Gillespies Afro-Cuban jazz orchestra, as a composer and musical theorist he stamped his name on jazz history by mapping a new approach without departing from the main jazz route. This he did in his 1953 book, The Lydian Concept of Tonal Organisation, in which he outlined a series of tonal relationships already existing in music, and applied it to his writing.

What he specifically wanted to create in jazz was a composition or an arrangement that "will take the listener through a little adventure. "The writing was harmonically adventurous without resorting to complete atonality. It reconciled surprise with structure; true improvisation abounds amid the sense of organized looseness of more conventional jazz groups. Like Duke Ellington, he created a musical climate so pervasive that most of the outstanding players he selected on these recordings subordinated their own musical personalities to his material as they realized the possibilities it created.

The overall effect was a continuity of thought few composers or players in jazz have been able to achieve. And though Russells music is within the logical growth of jazz, his forms were totally new rather than reconstructions of older forms, because jazz is a new music and must have new forms.


Tracklisting:

CD 1

01. Ezz-thetic 5:13
02. Jacks Blues 3:45
03. Ye Hypocrite, Ye Beelzebub 3:51
04. Livingstone I Presume 3:25
05. Round Johnny Rondo 3:30
06. Night Sound 3:54
07. Concerto for Billy the Kid 4:43
08. Witch Hunt 3:48
09. Fellow Delegates 5:39
10. Ballad of Hix Blewitt 3:16
11. Knights of the Steamtable 2:35
12. The Sad Sergeant 3:25
13. Concerto for Billy the Kid 4:45 [Alt. Take]
14. Ballad of Hix Blewitt 3:43 [Alt. Take]
-All About Rosie
15. First movement 2:08
16. Second movement 3:19
17. Third movement 5:14
-Chromatic Universe
18. Part, 1 3:33
19. Part, 2 3:47
20. Part, 3 4:55

CD 2

01. Manhattan (Rodgers-Hart) 10:34
02. Big City Blues 11:39
03. Manhatta-Rico 10:11
04. East Side Medley:
-Autumn in New York (Vernon Duke)
-How About You (Lane-Freed) 8:01
05. A Helluva Town 5:01
06. The Lydiot 10:04
07. Waltz from Outer Space 6:59
08. Dimensions 13:11

All tracks composed (except where indicated)
and arranged by George Russell


Sources:

CD 1 - Tracks #1-12, from the album
The Jazz Workshop (RCA Victor LPM 1372)

CD 1 - Tracks # 13 & 14, are Stereo alternate takes from LPM 1372

CD 1 - Tracks #15-17, from the album
Various Artists Modern Jazz Concert
(Columbia WL127)

CD 1 - Tracks #18-20, and CD 2 - Tracks 6-8,
from the album Jazz In The Space Age
(Decca DL 9219)

CD 2 - Tracks #1-5, from the album
New York, N.Y. (Decca DL 9216)



Personnel on THE JAZZ WORKSHOP:

GEORGE RUSSELL AND HIS SMALLTET
Tracks #1-4: Art Farmer, trumpet; Hal McKusick, alto sax; Bill Evans, piano; Barry Galbraith, guitar; Milt Hinton, bass; Joe Harris, drums.

Recorded at Webster Hall, NYC, March 31, 1956

Tracks #5-8 & 13: Paul Motian, replaces Joe Harris.

Recorded at Webster Hall, NYC, October 17, 1956

Tracks #9-12 & 14: same except Hal McKusick also plays flute; Teddy Kotick, bass and Osie Johnson, drums and on #9 woodblock, replaces Hinton and Motian George Russell, boobams (chromatic drums) added on #9.

Recorded at Webster Hall, NYC, December 21, 1956


Personnel on MODERN JAZZ CONCERT

ORCHESTRA CONDUCTED BY GEORGE RUSSELL
Tracks #15-17: Art Farmer, Louis Mucci, trumpets; Jimmy Knepper, trombone; Jimmy Buffington, French horn; Robert DiDomenica, flute; John LaPorta, alto sax; Hal McKusick, tenor sax; Manuel Zegler, bassoon; Teddy Charles, vibes; Bill Evans, piano; Barry Galbraith, guitar; Margaret Ross, harp; Joe Benjamin, bass; Teddy Sommer, drums.

Recorded in New York City, June 10 & 20, 1957


Personnel on JAZZ IN THE SPACE AGE

ORCHESTRA CONDUCTED BY GEORGE RUSSELL
CD 1 - Tracks #18-20: Ernie Royal, Al Kiger, trumpets; Frank Rehak, Dave Baker, trombones; Jimmy Buffington, French horn; Walt Levinsky, alto sax; Dave Young, tenor sax; Sol Schlinger, baritone sax; Bill Evans & Paul Bley, pianos; Barry Galbraith & Howard Collins, guitars; Milt Hinton, bass; Don Lamond, drums; G. Russell, beads on tuned drums.

Recorded in New York City, December 29, 1959

ORCHESTRA CONDUCTED BY GEORGE RUSSELL
CD 2 - Track #6: Ernie Royal, Al Kiger, trumpets; Frank Rehak, Dave Baker, trombones; Jimmy Buffington, French horn; Walt Levinsky, alto sax; Dave Young, tenor sax; Sol Schlinger, bass sax; Bill Evans and Paul Bley, pianos; Barry Galbraith and Howard Collins, guitars; Milt Hinton, bass; Don Lamond, drums; George Russell, beads on tuned.

Recorded in New York City, December 29, 1959

CD 2 - Tracks #7 & 8: Jimmy Buffington, Paul Bley and Howard Collins out; Marky Markowitz, trumpet; Bob Brookmeyer, valve-trombone, added; Hal McKusick, alto sax, and Charlie Persip, drums replaces Levinsky and Lamond.

Recorded in New York City, January 27, 1960


Personnel on NEW YORK, N.Y.

GEORGE RUSSELL AND HIS ORCHESTRA
Track #1: Art Farmer, Doc Severinsen, Ernie Royal, trumpets; Bob Brookmeyer, valve trombone; Frank Rehak, Tom Mitchell, trombones; Hal McKusick, alto sax; John Coltrane, tenor sax; Sol Schlinger, baritone sax; Bill Evans, piano; Barry Galbraith, guitar; Milt Hinton, bass; Charlie Persip, drums; Jon Hendricks, narrator.

Recorded in New York City, September 12, 1958

Tracks #3 & 5: Art Farmer, Ernie Royal, Joe Wilder, trumpets; Bob Brookmeyer, valve trombone; Jimmy Cleveland, Tom Mitchell, trombones; Phil Woods, Hal McKusick, alto sax; Al Cohn, tenor; sax; Gene Allen, baritone sax; Bill Evans, piano; Barry Galbraith, guitar; George Duvivier, bass; Max Roach, drums; Jon Hendricks, narrator.

On #3 Don Lamond, drums, replaces Roach; Al Epstein, bongoes, and George Russell, boobams (chromatic drums) added.

Recorded in New York City, November 24, 1958

Tracks #2 & 4: Art Farmer, Joe Wilder, Joe Ferrante, trumpets; Bob Brookmeyer, valve trombone; Frank Rehak, Tom Mitchell, trombones; Phil Woods, alto sax, clarinet; Hal McKusick, alto sax, clarinet, flute; Benny Golson, tenor sax; Sol Schlinger, flute, bassax; Bill Evans, piano; Barry Galbraith, guitar; Milt Hinton, bass; Charlie Persip, drums; Jon Hendricks, narrator.

Recorded in New York City, March 25, 1959



Original recordings produced by Jack Lewis (RCA Victor), George Avakian (Columbia), and George Russell & Milt Gabler (Decca)

This CD release produced by Jordi Pujol


Mono / Stereo ยท 24-Bit Digitally Remastered

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Reviews:

"While he did play the piano, George Russell is best known as a free thinking composer and arranger who changed the direction of jazz by using various unorthodox chordal patterns in his songs, setting the stage for the modal revolution later lead by Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy. Here, youve got a set that find Russell at his most creative and exciting, with fantastically interesting booklet that include personnel listings, original liner notes, historical background and vintage pictures, so you get an eyeful as well as an earful.

This 2 discs collection includes The Jazz Workshop, Modern Jazz Concert, Jazz in the Space Age and New York, NY. The Workshp includes heavy personel such as Bill Evans/p, Teddy Kotick-Milt Hinton/b, Art Farmer/tp, Paul Motian/dr and Hal McKusick/as and with clever ideas such as Fellow Delegates including Osie Johnson on wood drums and the leader on chromatic ones and hip yet cerebral pieces such as Ezz-thetic. A three part Chromatic Universe sounds quite sterile and foreboding, but with Evans and Paul Bley at the piano and a horn section with Ernie Royal, the sounds are thrilling and the grooves are intact. Most intriguing is the 5 part dedication to New York, with Jon Hendricks delivering some hip narration and John Coltrane sitting in on the reed section for Manhattan and sounding like a team player until he delivers a cooking solo over Hintons bass. Some hot Latin rhythms and horns abound on Manhatta-Rico and a take of Autumn in New York includes velvety reeds by Phil Woods, Al Cohn Benny Golson and McKusick . This music, considered far out for its time, is fresher than 75% of the stale bread we eat nowadays."

-George W. Harris (July 6, 2015)
http://www.jazzweekly.com/

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"This represents the best work in a career which lost its concentration and declined in the later years (Russell died in 2009). The non-conforming composer was restless with, and turned away from developments in modern jazz. While recuperating from tuberculosis, he had devised the The Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization (dont ask) and the work on these two CDs is perhaps the finest example of its development. The discipline of the writing puts pressure on the soloists to take advantage of the new opportunities presented to them. It also suggests that they should shed their normal personalities, but usually these come through. There is a new intensity to Farmers playing and the brilliant Bill Evans is pretty voluble.

The orchestration of The Lydiot is particularly intriguing, with Evans percussively athletic in his solo and the brass solos (probably Royal, Baker and Rehak) very satisfying. Its not simple music to listen to, and the passing of the years has understandably removed some of its ground-breaking edge. Far from - in fact almost the opposite of - free form, it called for extreme musical agility on the part of its exponents.

Evans is the leading player, with notable improvising in his Concerto and the third part of the superb All About Rosie. Brookmeyer, unusually extrovert on the first track of the New York suite, seems completely at home and doesnt respond to any pressure. Evanss solo here is also more typical of him. Coltrane solos on the same track and also proves indefatigable. Benny Golson and Joe Wilder also acquit themselves well in their solos and Persip is very much the right man for the job. Hendricks is another man of infinite talent, but his narration sounds dated and irrelevant.

This music is a unique example of disciplined writing (an interesting contrast to Gil Evans!) combined with inspired improvisation. The chunky booklet from Fresh Sound is packed with absorbing information and quite a bit of prose from Russell himself."

-Steve Voce (Jazz Journal, March 2015)
http://www.jazzjournal.co.uk

Price:

$15.80  (tax incl.)

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