Jazz in the Space Age – George Russell, Bill Evans – American Decca

by | Jun 2, 2017 | Jazz CD Reviews, SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

Jazz in the Space Age – George Russell and his orchestra featuring Bill Evans – American Decca/HDTT DVD-Audio, 42:49 [admin@highdeftapetransfers.com]:

A great album to have finally in better sonics.

[Hal McKusick (tracks: 2, 5), Walt Levinsky (tracks: 1, 3, 4, 6); Baritone Saxophone – Sol Schlinger (tracks: 1, 3, 4, 6); Bass – Milt Hinton;
Composed By – George Russell;
Drums – Charlie Persip (tracks: 2, 5), Don Lamond (tracks: 1, 3, 4, 6);
French Horn – Jimmy Buffington (tracks: 1, 3, 4, 6); Guitar – Barry Galbraith (tracks: 1, 3, 4, 6), Howard Collins (tracks: 1, 3, 4, 6); Piano – Bill Evans, Paul Bley (tracks: 1, 3, 4, 6); Tenor Saxophone – David Young (4) (tracks: 1, 3, 4, 6);
Trombone – Bob Brookmeyer (tracks: 2, 5), Dave Baker (tracks: 1, 3, 4, 6),
Frank Rehak (tracks: 1, 3, 4, 6); Trumpet – Alan Kieger (tracks: 1, 3, 4, 6), Ernie Royal (tracks: 1, 3, 4, 6), Mark “Marky” Markowitz (tracks: 2, 5)]

It’s good to have this 1960 album in excellent sonics for the first time. Instead of the usual 7-1/2 ips commercial pre-recorded tape, this one was transferred by HDTT from a 15-ips-two-track reel for even better fidelity.  Although George Russell (1923-2009) first emerged on the avant-garde jazz scene in 1946, when he wrote for Gillespie’s Afro-Cuban jazz orchestra, as a composer/musical theorist he stamped his name on jazz history thru mapping a new approach without departing from the main jazz route. This he did in his 1953 book, The Lydian Concept of Tonal Organisation; he outlined a series of tonal relationships which already existed 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 like loft jazz. It reconciled surprise with structure; true improvisation abounds amidst the sense of organized looseness heard in more conventional jazz groups. The overall effect was a continuity of thought few composers or players in jazz have been able to achieve. And though Russell’s music is within the logical jazz growth, his forms were totally new rather than reconstructions of older forms. This disc will play on any Blu-ray player.

1 Chromatic Universe, Pt. 1
2 Dimensions
Chromatic Universe, Pt. 2
The Lydiot
Waltz from Outer Space
Chromatic Universe, Pt. 3

—John Henry

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