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|title||George Russell : All About Rosie (1,957)|
|published||November 10, 2010|
|Keywords||George, Russell, All, About, Rosie, Jazz, Pianist, Composer, Teacher, paganmaestro|
|description||"No words can express my caring and respect for George Russell. He was an unsung hero and a true genius. His music will live in my heart forever. I'm always turning young musicians on to his incredible recordings: New York, New York, Stratusphunk, The Outer View, just to name a few. George is the reason I ever recorded. He heard me and believed in me. Sadly, George was never a name in most homes but he sure rates the highest in mine along with Bird. I'll miss him." -Sheila Jordan, jazz vocalist
"Thank you for your vision. Your music was truly unique and transcendent. Thank you for sharing your vast knowledge. Your thoughts on the fundamental principals of music-making were my first encounter with musical theory and has been of invaluable inspiration to me. You gave me the tools. Thank you for being the shaman who "saw" me and led me—at 17—through the initiation rites of becoming a musician. You´ll always be here." Jan Garbarek, saxophonist
GEORGE RUSSELL Born: June 23, 1,923 | Died: July 27, 2,009
George Russell is a hugely influential, innovative figure in the evolution of modern jazz, the music's only major theorist, one of its most profound composers, and a trail blazer whose ideas have transformed and inspired some of the greatest musicians of our time.
It was a remark made by Miles Davis when George asked him his musical aim which set Russell on the course which has been his life. Miles said he "wanted to learn all the changes." Since Miles obviously knew all the changes, Russell surmised that what he meant was he wanted to learn a new way to relate to chords. This began a quest for Russell, and again hospitalized for 16 months, he began to develop his "Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization." First published in 1,953, the Lydian Concept is credited with opening the way into modal music, as demonstrated by Miles in his seminal "Kind of Blue" recording. It was the first theory to explore the vertical relationship between chords and scales, and was the only original theory to come from jazz. Throughout the 1,950's and 60's, Russell continued to work on developing the Concept and leading bands under his direction. In the mid-fifties, a superb sextet, including Bill Evans and Art Farmer recorded under his direction, producing "The Jazz Workshop," an album of astonishing originality; the often dense textures and rhythms anticipated the jazz-rock movement of the 1,970's. He was one of a group to be commissioned to write for the first annual Brandeis Jazz Festival in 1,957. "All About Rosie" was based on an Alabama children's song. "New York, New York," with poetry by Jon Hendricks and featuring Bill Evans, Max Roach, John Coltrane, Milt Hinton, Bob Brookmeyer, Art Farmer and a Who's Who of the New York jazz scene is striking in it evocation of the New York of the late fifties. From 1,960, Russell began leading his own sextets around the New York area and at festivals; he also toured throughout the Midwest and Europe with his sextet. One of the important albums of this time was "Ezz-Thetic," which featured Eric Dolphy, Don Ellis and Steve Swallow.
Disillusioned by his lack of recognition and the meager work opportunities in America, he arrived in a wheel chair in Scandinavia in 1,964, but returned five years later in spiritual health. In Sweden and Norway he found support for both himself and his music. While there, he heard and recorded a young Jan Garbarek, Terje Rypdal, and Jon Christensen.
In 1,969, he returned to the States at the request of his old friend, Gunther Schuller to teach at the newly created Jazz Department at the New England Conservatory where Schuller was President. He continued to develop the Lydian Concept and toured with his own groups. .
(edited notes and quotes from All-About-Jazz)
George Russell died of complications from Alzheimer's disease in Boston, Massachusetts on July 27, 2,009.
For a video in which George Russell appears and speaks a little about his vision for and knowledge of jazz, I recommended visiting this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAgaqALyJJ4&feature=player_embeddedNote: This non-profit video was made for educational purposes and to honor the work of George Russell. If anyone objects to it due to copyright issues, please make contact and it will be removed.