George Russell

So What

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These tracks were recorded at the same Boston church concert that yielded The African Game, and Russell's Living Time Orchestra responds with the same kick and enthusiasm, although the musicians' individual solo turns aren't terribly startling. Half the CD is taken up by a performance of Russell's "Time Spiral," which opens promisingly but soon evolves into a pair of eventually tiresome funk vamps tied together with an episode of atonality. Russell's idiosyncratic take on Miles Davis' "So What" is built around a transcribed version of Miles' original solo, and it rocks to the modal changes without ever stating the theme. Russell uses an eight-person update of the Smalltet on the modal "Rhymes" and "War Gewesen," which roll forth on a distinct funk beat with plenty of Fender bass underpinning. Consider this as a supplement to The African Game, further evidence of Russell's (mixed?) desire to come to terms with the idioms of his time.

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