Living Time by the Bill Evans and George Russell Orchestra.
An online aquaintance posted this album to one of his daily playlists, and I’ve been meaning to check out some George Russell.
My understanding of Russell is he was a person who tried to synthesize large group Jazz with 20th Century Classical music.
This album feels like it has a few elements that are competing. Along with the symphonic modern classical elements, there’s a core of Jazz writing that wouldn’t be out of place in 1970s film and Television soundtrack work, complete with mod backbeats. There is also some free playing, especially from the Saxophone section, a la Archie Sheep. And finally, there’s a harmonic element in the keyboards and some of the harmony parts that wouldn’t be out of place on a Fela Kuti album.
All of these elements seem to struggle for dominance, winding in and out among the pieces on the album.
Not sure if it is entirely pleasant, or succesful, but it is interesting, and very ambitious.
For my money, the strongest player in the (ridiculously long) list of contributors is a 22 year old Stanley Clarke, who really holds the whole enterprise together on the three songs he plays on.
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