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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

r.i.p. George Russell

News of George Russell's death have just been confirmed:

Jazz composer George Russell dies at 86

(AP) – 18 minutes ago

BOSTON — Jazz composer George Russell, a MacArthur fellow whose theories influenced the modal music of Miles Davis and John Coltrane, has died.

His publicist says Russell, who taught at the New England Conservatory, died Monday in Boston at age 86 of complications from Alzheimer's.

Russell was born in Cincinnati in 1923 and attended Wilberforce University. He played drums in Benny Parker's band and later wrote "Cubano Be/Cubano Bop" for Dizzy Gillespie's orchestra. It premiered at Carnegie Hall in 1947 and was the first fusion of Afro-Cuban rhythms with jazz.

Russell developed the Lydian concept in 1953. It's credited as the first theoretical contribution from jazz.

Russell is survived by his wife, his son and three grandchildren. A release says a memorial service will be planned.


This is very, very sad.

I will try and finally get around to sharing some of the live shows of his here. There have been several requests ever since I mentioned having shared them on dime.

Check out this older post for starters:

And if you're on dime, a first share is up already: Newport 1964 + 1966.


Sardo said...

One of the last Giants of Jazz gone...-very sad.

cooljazz said...

The world of Jazz lost a very important member. so long George, God bless you.

Gapplegate said...

A jazz COMPOSER of the highest rank. He enriched our lives and we will certainly miss him. Now it's time to pay attention to those younger composers out there who deserve a hearing.

hulaboy said...

I'll never forget hearing his big band at the Vanguard. Stanton Davis was about the baddest trumpet soloist I've ever heard, and Russell's longtime arrangements still sounded good. Marty Ehrlich and Lew Soloff played great, too. Looking (and listening) forward to Newport '64, Ubu - I hope you post it here.