Vocalion has done it again, with a long overdue reissue of Ray Russell's first album Turn Circle (originally released in on the CBS Realm series), and superbly remastered by Michael J. Dutton. 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.
Track Listing: Footprints, Bonita, Peruvian Triangle, Sombrero Sam, The Fry and I, A Day in the working Life of a Slave of Lower Egypt: Part I ("Dormancy"), Part II ("Tremendum"), Part III ("Path").
Personnel: Ray Russell: electric guitar; Roy Fry: piano; Ron Mathewson: double bass; Alan Rushton: drums.
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz.
Being a Musician myself, (Lead Guitar/Bass Guitar), I studied at the Dick Grove School of Music with Dick Grove, Jeff Richman and Lee Ritenour. This was around '84-'85. I started playing the Guitar in November 1967. Playing Guitar came quite naturally to me thank goodness. Though I spent hours upon hours practicing while my school buddies were doing Sports.
It was in the early '70s that I really got into Jazz, Jazz Rock, Jazz Fusion and World Music. Seeing Weather Report, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Larry Carlton, Steely Dan, John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, RTF, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, VSOP, Freddie Hubbard and so many, many more amazing artists opened my eyes to the beauty and eloquent nature of Jazz. I really love the brilliant ensemble playing that is in Jazz!!
When I play and write music, it blends so many style together. Many fans ask me why my playing sounds so jazzy. It's because I understand Blue Notes, the phrasing, the tonality, time signatures and more. I can also play Rock, Folk, Soul, R n' B and other styles too. I seem to gravitate more and more as I get older to a jazzier style. Currently I'm 62 years old. I have released 2 CDs world-wide. Working on my 3rd.
I also teach Guitar/Bass/Music Theory to my students. They range from 6 years old to much, much older. (I was hired by the City of Aurora, CO to teach ages 6-13 specifically). Currently I teach 41 children in 5 classes. Additionally another 7 private students.
My wife, Meesh, and I love Jazz dearly. It was one of the things that we share together!
Most of the people that I know today do not get jazz. I try to explain what to listen for, but many times the music of Jazz is a bit much for them. So be it.
In a nutshell, I live, breath and listen to Music 24/7. No TV except the Food Channel and Weather.
I love John Kelman's articles. They are so insightful and well-constructed!
Thank you all for doing what you do.