Ghost Tones - Portraits of George Russell
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If you were paying close attention to the changes in New Yorkís jazz scene in the late 1950s and early í60s (and there was a lot to pay attention to) you would be aware of George Russell. He was a musician and a composer, but also an educator and a theorist.
George Russell was very active as a free-thinking composer, arranger, and bandleader, but his biggest effect upon jazz was in the quieter role of theorist. His great contribution, apparently the first by a jazz musician to general music theory, was a book with the intimidating title The Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization, where he concocted a concept of playing jazz based on scales rather than chord changes.
Published in 1953, Russell’s theories directly paved the way for the modal revolutions of Miles Davis and John Coltrane and stretched to even taking credit
for the theory behind Michael Jackson’s huge hit “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’”.
The pianist Ran Blake, now over 80, was paying close attention back then, and knew George Russell for a long time thereafter when they both taught at the New England Conservatory. Ghost Tones is his composite portrait of him, with partly George Russellís music, and partly with Ran Blakeís music, as well as versions of the standards “Autumn in New York” and “Manhattan.” A measured, inventive way of composing and playing, and how Blake uses that to connect with his subject.
RAN BLAKE, piano
PETER KENAGY, trumpet
AARON HARTLEY, trombone
DOUG PET, tenor sax
ERIC LANE, piano on track 3
JASON YEAGER, piano on track 12
RYAN DUGRE, guitar on track 8
DAVE "KINFE" FABRIS, guitar on tracks 10 & 16
RACHEL MASSEY, violin on track 10 & 16
BRAD BARRETT, bass
DAVID FLAHERTY, drums on tracks 8 & 14
CHARLES BURCHELL, drums, vibe on track 14
LUKE MOLDOF, electronics
New England Conservatory, Boston MA, August 24 & 26, 2010.
01. Autumn in New York
02. Alice Norbury
03. Living Time
05. Telegram from Gunther
08. Jack's Blues
10. Ballad of Hix Blewitt
11. Cincinnati Express
12. Vertical Form VI
13. Jacques Crawls
14. Lonely Place
16. You Are My Sunshine
17. Autumn in New York (Alt. Take)