COMPOSERS: George Russell
LABELS: Label Bleu
ALBUM TITLE: George Russell’s Living Time Orchestra
PERFORMER: Stuart Brooks, Stanton Davis, Tiger Okoshi (tpt); Dave Bargeron (tb); Richard Henry (b-tb); Andy Sheppard (ss, ts); Chris Biscoe (as); Pete Hurt (bari-s, b-cl); Brad Hatfield, Steve Lodder (ky); Mike Walker (g); Bill Urmson (b); Billy Ward (d); Pat Hollen
CATALOGUE NO: LBLC 6587
Devoted to two extended works, It’s About Time, a new two-part composition commissioned by Stockholm’s Svenska Rikskonserter, and Living Time, a concerto for piano and orchestra first recorded by Russell in 1972 with Bill Evans, this rousingly beautiful album showcases the American composer/theoretician’s US/UK band in typically exuberant mood.
All the usual Russell traits – his unrivalled ability to build and sustain satisfying musical climaxes, his assured handling of dynamic and textural contrast, his easily worn jazz learning – are present, but the sheer joyousness and uninhibited vigour of the band’s playing ensure that the music is as immediately accessible to casual rock fans as to jazz aficionados.
The band’s American stars make telling solo contributions, but the UK’s Andy Sheppard (in one of the most appropriate settings for his original mix of Breckerish swirling intensity and almost Garbarek-like skirling plangency) and Mike Walker, a vigorously fluent but always controlled improviser, also shine, even in this, one of the world’s great jazz aggregations. CP