Ray Russell Goodbye Svengali Review

Album. Released 2006.  

BBC Review

First album in 14 years from the recently rediscovered British guitar pioneer...

Peter Marsh 2006

The recent resurge of interest in Ray Russell's work makes this new release a bit of an event (his first in over a decade). Framed as a tribute to the guitarist's mentor and friend Gil Evans, Goodbye Svengali covers a lot of territory; loose improvisations recalling some of his 70s classics to full on fusion belters, electronic tone poems, plus a spot of acoustic impressionism to round things off.

Russell is a fearsomely gifted player who relies on taste rather than speed, even when teamed up with the likes of fusion legends like Anthony Jackson and Simon Phillips. Highlights include the slow burn of the opening "Everywhere", plus a quietly gutsy rendering of "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" from Russell in duet with Evans. That this was Gil's last recorded appearance gives the piece a particular emotional kick. Recommended.

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