Friday, December 4, 2009

The Subject Is Jazz: The Future of Jazz (1958)

Featuring members of bands headed by Billy Taylor and George Russell, the latter of whom taught pianist Bill Evans here modal improvisation, which he then brought to the Miles Davis Quintet shortly thereafter and the Kind of Blue session. Though I'm not sure if the performance or the miking/mixing was off in the performance of "Concerto for Billy the Kid," which is presented definitively in the RCA album by the George Russell Jazztet, Jazz Workshop (1956). (The Kid being Evans.) (Donna, my ex, a punk rock fan primarily as a musical enthusiast, always loved the density of Russell's compositions, particularly this one and "Cubano Be Cubano Bop," his early chart for the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra.)

Very happy to see and hear this.

George Russell's Los Angeles Times obituary, from 26 July. Rest in glory. (Alzheimer's, a real bastard.)


David Cranmer said...

You had me at The Subject Is Jazz!

George Russell. Damn. RIP. He gave so much to Jazz where do you begin. Such a big influence on Davis and Coltrane. I have his The Essence of George Russell with me (I'm traveling about) and began playing it after watching the documentary you posted. Btw my favorite composition he played was STRATUSPHUNK. Genius applies in his case. What a talent!

Thanks Todd.

Todd Mason said...

My own favorite George Russell albums are probably his album-length composition, LIVING TIME, and the early JAZZ WORKSHOP album, but there were so many good ones, such as the ELECTRONIC SONATA FOR SOULS LOVED BY NATURE, and the turn of the '60s alubms on Milestone (with that devastating reading of "You Are My Sunshine" with Sheila Jordan's vocal along with such compositions as "Stratusphunk") and the big band albums NEW YORK, NEW YORK and JAZZ IN THE SPACE AGE.

The Living Time Orchestra albums were a great return to form in the '80s, particularly the first, THE AFRICAN GAME, a phylogeny recapitulates ontogeny sequel to LIVING TIME.

Anonymous said...

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it