George Russell

Stratusphunk

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From 1960-1962, arranger/composer George Russell recorded six albums with his working combo that found him contributing "arranger's piano." The two Decca dates are very scarce, but the four Riversides have fortunately been reissued on CD under the Original Jazz Classics imprint. For this particular date, Russell is joined by five students at the Lenox School of Jazz: trumpeter Al Kiger, trombonist Dave Baker (who in the future would become an important jazz educator), tenor saxophonist Dave Young, bassist Chuck Israels, and drummer Joe Hunt. Surprisingly, only three of the six selections are Russell originals ("Bent Eagle" was an early effort by Carla Bley), but the leader's influence can be felt in all of the adventurous and slightly unusual yet swinging music.

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