Ray Russell — Goodbye Svengali
(Cuneiform Rune 223, 2006, CD)
by Sean McFee, Published 2007-03-01
Veteran Brit-jazzer Ray Russell has a lengthy resumé, having played with numerous famous musicians in a sideman role. On Goodbye Svengali, a tribute to the late Gil Evans, we get to hear Russell largely playing his own material, which is a good thing. Russell plays electric and acoustic guitar, and is equally adept at soft ballad passages (“Without a Trace”), angular leads (“Everywhere”), and piercing soundscapes (“Wailing Wall”). Although I do not hear an overly strong Evans influence over each and every track, he is featured on keys on a duet rendition of Mingus’ “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat,” and a pastiche may not have been the intention anyway. Hardly a homogenous collection of tracks, different aspects of the album appeal in different ways. The title track features a rollicking full-band jazz session, a couple of dirges led by the trumpet of Miles Evans, and a solo guitar spot for Russell. Gary Husband’s drumming, on three tracks, is wonderful, virtuoso, swinging. While all the styles presented here are effective, I think what I enjoy most is Russell’s slower, bluesy side. Whether in the sad beauty of “So Far Away,” the pain articulated by “Wailing Wall,” or the celebration of jazz itself that is the title track, this seems every bit a heartfelt tribute and would impress those interested in jazz guitar.
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more
Chick Corea RIP – The sad news has reached us that Chick Corea has Returned to Forever, so to speak. The innovative keyboardist and composer died on February 9 at the age of 79. With a career that spanned from the 60s until shortly before his death, Corea touched many listeners with the incredible variety of music he produced in his lifetime. » Read more
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more