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Live at The Montreux Jazz Festival 1983

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RMS with Gil Evans
Live at The Montreux Jazz Festival 1983
Angel Air
2006

After having been part of Gil Evans' British Orchestra rhythm section, guitarist Ray Russell and bassist Mo Foster asked Evans to perform with their group RMS (S for drummer Simon Phillips) at Montreux. This is the complete performance, nine tunes mostly written by Russell and Foster, with two Hendrix numbers (Evans was quite fond of Jimi) and Gershwin's "Gone, Gone, Gone.

Guitarists, like pianists, are the most susceptible to stylistic shifts. After having begun his career as Britain's Pat Martino, he veered into the avant-garde á la Sonny Sharrock. By 1983, Russell was the UK's answer to Al DiMeola and RMS was a full-on fusion group the likes of which one would expect in 1983—funky fast rhythms, churning electric bass, atmospheric Fender Rhodes and, of course, lightning-fast, mathematically precise guitar leads.

And though it comes across as dated in 2006, it is sincere and not terribly overwrought. The guest horn section is a treat as it features two marvelous players in trumpeter Henry Lowther and trombonist Malcolm Griffiths. But when Evans guests on the Hendrix and Gershwin, the performance becomes special and the music more thoughtful. "Gone, Gone, Gone, one of Gershwin's best melodies, is the show's standout.


Tracks: Broadway Rundown; First Love; The Whole Of Tomorrow; So Far Way; Hoover the Duvet; Stone Free; Little Wing; Gone; Juna The Last.

Personnel: Ray Russell: guitar; Mo Foster: bass; Simon Phillips: drums; Gil Evans: keys; Mark Isham: trumpet, keys; Henry Lowther: trumpet; Malcolm Griffiths: trombone; Ronnie Asprey: saxophone.

Production Notes: 90 minutes. Recorded 1983 Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland. Extras: The Convergence—the story behind the concert; Band quotes; Biographies; Photo gallery.

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