JJ 02/84: George Russell – Live In An American Time Spiral

Forty years ago Barry McRae heard Russell mixing chamber jazz, rock and his unique dissonances with strong solos from Harrell, Anderson et al. First published in Jazz Journal February 1984


Russell now seems committed to recording with big bands and his Lydian gig, so beautifully realised with the medium-sized unit, translates with increasing ease to the larger aggregation. The reasons for this are various. In the main, it is not because he uses elements of jazz chamber music, unisons that remember the mainstream virtues, because he takes rhythmic nods toward rock or that all are spiced with the unique Russell dissonances. It is because all of these musical col­ours are seamlessly juxtaposed on an orchestral palette to create a whole that really flows.

Added to this are solo state­ments that are really plus factors. There is Harrell’s lyrical trumpet throughout, Harris’ shapely solo on Ezz-thetic, and Ray Ander­son’s magnificent trombone on every title. Russell has got the right band for his needs and, in bassist McClure and drummer Lewis, he has a two-man rhythm team that can really carry the weight. He must have listened to these playbacks with some satis­faction.

(a) Time Spiral (22.30) – (b) Ezz-thetic; (b) D. C. Divertimento (26.45)
(a) Ron Tooley (t); Stanton Davis (t); Tom Harrell (t); Ray Anderson (tb); Earl Mclntyre (tb); Marty Ehrlich (as/f); Doug Miller (ts/f); Bob Hanlon (bs); Jerome Harris (g); Ron McClure (b); Jack Reilly (key); Mark Soskin (key); Victor Lewis (d); George Russell (cond). New York 30 & 31/7/82. (b) as (a) but Brian Leach (t) replaces Davis.
(Soul Note SN 1049)