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Artist Profiles

George Russell

By Published: January 22, 2006
Russell returned to the US in 1969 when he joined the jazz faculty that Gunther Schuller assembled at the New England Conservatory of Music. Over the past 35 years, his pieces continued to grow in scope. New York Big Band and Live in an American Time Spiral (Black Saint/Soul Note) probably provide the best overview of Russell's music in the late '70s and early '80s. Blue Note signed him briefly and in 1986 released his monumental The African Game (which takes up most of disc 2 in the new release), a vast programmatic piece that unites African, jazz-funk, and swing rhythms into one of his most exciting works. Since then, recordings have been less and less frequent and for French and Japanese labels that are hard to come by in the States.

Even with all the musical milestones to his credit, Russell still believes, "my most important contribution to world music is the Lydian Chromatic Concept. The compositions are fed and supported first by the thinking that's involved. It comes first from the mind and the soul. Then the music comes out."

Recommended Listening:

· George Russell - The Jazz Workshop (Bluebird-RCA, 1956)

· George Russell - Ezz-thetics (Riverside - OJC, 1961)

· George Russell - The Outer View (Riverside-OJC, 1962)

· George Russell - At Beethoven Hall (Saba-MPS, 1965)

· George Russell - New York Big Band (Soul Note, 1977-78)

· George Russell/Living Time Orchestra - The 80th Birthday Concert (Concept Publishing, 2003)


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