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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

George Russell - Washington 1987

George Russell, the great arranger and composer, died in July 2009. He is one of many greats that left us this year, and his music is dear to me, ever since I discovered him, which was initially through Eric Dolphy's participation on one of his Riverside albums. I was hooked quickly and became a fan of his early recordings (let's say up to the Beethoven Hall albums on MPS). Still have to find more of his later works, though I did find some here and there.

Here's a great 1987 show which I got from an anonymous donor via dime (I also shared it there a while back). I just sent a copy of it to drummer Keith Copeland - if he's able to help with the personnel, I'll post a comment or edit this post! (And of course, if anyone grabbing it from here is able to help, please do post a comment!)

George Russell
Washington, DC (USA), Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institute, Baird Auditorium
October 2, 1987

Tiger Okoshi - trumpet
Mike Peipman - trumpet
Chip Kaner - trombone
Dave Mann - alto sax
Rob Schepps - tenor sax
Brad Hatfield - keyboards
Marc Rossi - keyboards
Bill Urmson - electric bass
Keith Copeland - drums
Pat Hollenbeck - percussion
George Russell - conductor, voice
others unknown/incomprehensibe [band intros at end of CD1#3]

1. Listen to the Silence, Part I (George Russell) 5:34
2. Cubana Be, Cubana Bop (Dizzy Gillespie-George Russell) 16:16
3. The African Game (George Russell) 47:10

1. Electronic Sonata for Souls Loved by Nature (George Russell-Jan Garbarek) 22:15
2. So What (Miles Davis) > Listen to the Silence, Part II (George Russell) 16:16

TT: 104:29

Sound: A-
Source: AUD (Sony Walkman Pro, Aiwa one-point stereo mike, Fuji chrome tapes)
Lineage: aud > dubbed from master tapes > CDR > EAC (secure, logs) > FLAC (8,asb,verify)

Note: some additional musicians are announced, but I can't understand the names.

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The African Game was recorded in 1993 and released on Blue Note records (CD, 1995)
The performance is continuous so there was no need to try and break it up.
However, on the CD, it is divided into eight tracks as follows:

Uni-celled Beings to Amphibians
Homo-erectus Africanus God Said Grace, and Rolled the Dice on the Human Race
Birth of Species Consciousness
Birth of Human Consciousness
Survival of the Fittest
Spiritual Consciousness - The Age of Light Intelligence of the Heart, Illuminating the Unity of the Cosmic Why and How
The Ascent of Technocentricity, and Its Division of Man and Nature, The Fragmentation of All and Everything
Style Over Substance, The Decline of the Spirit
The Collective Level of Being Attracts the Common Future

It is said that Albert Einstein once remarked, "God doesn't play dice with the universe."
Perhaps he did, once, in Africa during the Miocene epoch some 5 to 20 million years ago when the African Game began:

God said grace
And rolled the dice
On the human race.

As the cradle of humanity, Africa is our common home; we are all Africans - white, yellow, red, brown or black.

Great Nature is on our side. We feverishly pursue the game of HOW to conquer nature, while failing to understand WHY it needs us to join her in a state of unity. Nature responds by sending signals to tell us that we are outpacing her capacity to adapt to our technical innovations. These signals are everywhere: they cannot be missed. Entropy is accelerating.

The African Game says something of a positive nature about this. It says that God (Great Nature) is on our side. It wants to win the game it began millions of years ago. But in order to win it needs the awareness and cooperation of each of us descendants from the Miocene epoch now inhabiting Planet Earth.

~ George Russell

(liner notes from "African Game", Blue Note CDP-7 46335 2, 1995)

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Electronic Sonata was recorded in three parts in 1970 and released originally on Sonet (SLP 1411/1412). A CD reissue can be found on "The Essence of George Russell" (Soul Note 121044-2, 1983)

ELECTRONIC SONATA FOR SOULS LOVED BY NATURE - The title is in itself a poem and it gives contrasting associations - a connectedness to musical and cultural patterns - at the same time a freedom and openness which is all-embracing. Yes, just this piece gives an extraordinary good example of the specific in George Russell's musical thinking of which The Lydian Chromatic Concept is another example, no cultivation of the special, of singularity as an exclusive form by itself. The reason for this comes more from solidarity with the whole, which we are all imperfect parts of, than from the perfectness of single parts. But man is not just a passive commodity in nature. As long as it includes man, it includes also the human will. "Nature likes those who give in to her, but she loves those who do not" is the motto which the title is referring to. To be a part of the whole does not then mean a loss f value or responsibility, on the contrary it gives responsibility and value beyond oneself. But why "Sonata"? If we think of sonata as a large musical form where the oppositions are parts of that whole they form, yes, then "Sonata" is right enough in this connection.

~ Kare Kolberg

(excerpt from the liner notes of "The Essence of George Russell", Soul Note 121044-2, 1983)

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1978 recordings of "Listen to the Silence" and "Cubana Be, Cubano Bop" (by the Swedish Radio Jazz Orchestra w/Sabu Martinez in his very last recording) can be heard on "New York Big Band" (Soul note SN 1039 CD, 1982)
"So What" is the title tune of an album recorded at the same concert as "The African Game" and released on Blue Note as well (B2-46391, 1987)

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The line-up from that 1983 concert (Emanuel Church, Boston, MA, June 18, 1983) is as follows (but is most likely of small relevance for this 1987 concert):

Mike Peipman, Chris Passin, Roy Okutani, Mark Harvey (t)
Peter Cirelli, Chip Kaner (tb), Jeff Marsanskas (btb)
Marshall Sealy (fhr)
David Mann, Janis Steprans (as,ss,fl)
Gary Joynes (ts,ss,fl), George Garzone (ts,ss)
Brad Jones (bari,bcl,fl)
Bruce Barth, Marc Rossi (keys)
Mark White (g), Bob Nieske (b), Bill Urmson (elb)
Keith Copeland (d), Dave Hagedorn (perc), Joe Galeota (cga)
Lazaro Perez, Kuto Perez, Amaro Laria, Enrique Cardenas (perc)
George Russell (arr,cond,comp)

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r.i.p. George Russell (June 23, 1923 - July 27, 2009)

: . : shared on dimeadozen by ubu on 2009-07-28 : . :


ubu said...

FLAC (tagged) + info:

lc said...

this is an amazing piece of work ('currently listening to THE AFRICAN GAME) and I can't believe how great it sounds.
for some reason, I was afraid it'd sound too much like his latest release that I know of (the Beethoven Hall recording) which I think is a bit sloppy but this offering, well, my, oh, jeez.
thank you.