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George Russell

Alyn Shipton's interview with the late composer/theorist George Russell, in which he discusses highlights of his recorded music, including work with Dizzy Gillespie.

The jazz composer and theorist George Russell was a major innovator in jazz for over 50 years. In an archive interview with Alyn Shipton, Russell looks back at the highlights of a recorded repertoire that began with Dizzy Gillespie's big band and went on to encompass modal jazz and the dawn of jazz rock fusion.

George Russell was a ceaseless experimenter - spending most of his life writing his theoretical masterwork on Lydian Modal theory - but on the way writing extended compositions for Dizzy Gillespie in the 1940s, introducing Miles Davis and John Coltrane to modal jazz in the '50s, and mixing world jazz and rock with Jan Garbarek and Terje Rypdal in the 60s. His Living Time Orchestra ran from the '70s to the present decade and included innovative soloists from both sides of the Atlantic. In conversation with Alyn Shipton, who visited Russell at his home near the New England Conservatory in Boston, the composer looks back at what he considers the highlights of his work, and at his standard compositions such as All About Rosie and Ezz-Thetic.

1 hour

Last on

Sun 31 Oct 2010 00:00


Music Played

  • George Russell Living Time Orchestra

    So What

    Composer: Davis Performers: Stuart Brooks, Ian Carr, Mark Chandler, tp; Pete Beachill, Ashley Slater, tb; Andy Sheppard, Chris Biscoe, Pete Hurt, reeds; Brad Hatfield, Steve Lodder, kb; Bill Urmson, b; David Fiuczynski, g; Dave Adams, d; George Russell, dir. Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, London, Aug 1989.

    • The London Concert.
    • Label Bleu.
    • 6527/8 CD 2.
  • Dizzy Gillespie

    Cubana Be / Cubana Bop

    Composer: Russell / Fuller / Pozo Performers: Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Burns, Benny Bailey, Elmon Wright, Lammar Wright, Jr, tp; Bill Shepherd, Ted Kelly, tb; John Brown, Howard Johnson, Joe Gayles, Big Nick Nicholas, Cecil Payne, reeds; Milt Jackson, vib; John Lewis, p; Ray Brown, b; Kenny Clarke, d. New York City, 30 Dec 1947.

    • The Dizzy Gillespie Story.
    • Proper.
    • Properbox 30 CD 3.
  • George Russell Smalltet

    Concerto for Billy The Kid [Take 2]

    Composer: Russell Performers: George Russell, ldr; Art Farmer, tp; Hal McCusick, as; Bill Evans, p; Barry Galbraith, g; Teddy Kotick, b; Osie Johnson, d. 21 Dec 1956.

    • Jazz Workshop.
    • Bluebird.
    • ND 86467.
  • George Russell Smalltet


    Composer: Russell Performers: George Russell, ldr; Art Farmer, tp; Hal McCusick, as; Bill Evans, p; Barry Galbraith, g; Milt Hinton, b; Joe Harris, d. 31 Mar 1956.

    • Jazz Workshop.
    • Bluebird.
    • ND 86467.
  • BIll Evans/George Russell Orchestra

    Event IV

    Composer: Russell Performers: Ernie Royal, Richard Williams, Snooky Young, Howard Johnson, tp, flh; Dave Baker, Garnett Brown, Dave Bargeron, tb; John Clark, frh; Jimmy Giuffre, Joe Henderson, Sam Rivers, reeds; Bill Evans, p; Webster Lewis, Ted Saunders, el p; Sam Brown, g; Eddie Gomez, b; Herb Bushler, el b; Marty Morell, Tony Williams, Marc Belair, d, perc; George Russell, arr, cond. New York City, May 1972.

    • Living Time.
    • CBS.
    • 1924405.
  • George Russell Sextet

    Man On The Moon

    Composer: O. Coleman Performers: George Russell, p; Jan Garbarek, ts; Stanton Davis, tp; Treje Rypdal, g; Arild Andersen, b; Jon Christensen, d. Estrad, Sweden, March 1970.

    • Trip To Prillarguri.
    • Soul Note.
    • 1210292.
  • George Russell Sextet

    Lydia and Her Friends

    Composer: Russell Performers: Don Cherry, Bertil Lövgren, tp; Brian Trentham, tb; Ray Pitts, ts; George Russell, p; Cameron Brown, b; Al Heath, d. Beethoven Hall, Stuttgart, 31 Aug 1965.

    • At Beethoven Hall.
    • Polydor.
    • POCJ-2550.
  • Bill Evans / Gunther Schuller / George Russell

    All About Rosie

    Composer: Russell Performers: George Russell, Gunther Schuller, cond, arr; James Buffington, fl h; Robert DiDomenica, fl; John LaPorta, as; Hal McKusick, ts; Jimmy Knepper, tb; Art Farmer, Louis Mucci, tp; Manuel Zegler, bassoon; Barry Galbraith, g; Margaret Ross, hp; Bill Evans, p; Teddy Charles, vb; Joe Benjamin, b; Teddy Sommer, d. Brandeis University, 10 June 1957.

    • Brandeis Jazz Festival.
    • CBS.
    • 15AP 550.
  • George Russell / Swedish Radio Jazz Orchestra

    Event III

    Composer: Russell Performers: George Russell, cond, arr; Arne Domnérus, Ian Uling, Lennart Åberg, Bernet Rosengren, Erik Nilsson, reeds, woodwind; Americo Bellotto, Bertil Lövgren, tp, flh; Håken Nyquist, Jan Allan, tp, frh; Ivar Olsen, frh; Lars Olofsson, Bengt Edvarsson, Jörgen Johansson, Sven Larsson, tb; Rune Gustafsson, g; Stefan Brolund, el b; Bronislav Suchanek, Lars-Urban Helje, b; Björn Lind, Vlodek Gulgowski, Monica Dominique, kb; Lars Beijbon, Leroy Lowe, d; Sabu Martinez, cga; Estrad, Sweden, 10 Mar 1977.

    • Vertical Form VI.
    • Harmonia Mundi.
    • 1210192.


  • Sat 26 Sep 2009 16:00
  • Sun 31 Oct 2010 00:00