CD The Hal Russell Story (CD 975677), Audio Other
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The Hal Russell Story

  • 1. Intro & Fanfare / Toy Parade / Trumpet March / Riverside Jump
    2. Krupa
    3. You're Blase
    4. Dark Rapture
    5. World Class
    6. Wood Chips
    7. My Little Grass Shack
    8. O & B
    9. For M
    10. Gloomy Sunday
    11. Hair Male
    12. Bossa G
    13. Mildred
    14. Dope Music
    15. 2 X 2
    16. Ayler Songs
    17. Rehcabnettul
    18. Steve's Freedom Principle
    19. Lady in the Lake
    20. Oh Well
    21. Oh Well
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 517 364

  • Credits
    ProducerSteve Lake
    EngineerMartin Wieland

    Hal Russell NRG Ensemble: Hal Russell (soprano & tenor saxophones, trumpet, drums, xylophone, gong, percussion); Mars Williams (spoken vocals, alto, tenor & bass saxophones, wood flute, didgeridoo, toy horns, bells, sound effects); Brian Sandstrom (trumpet, toy horns, electric guitar, acoustic bass, percussion); Kent Kessler (trombone, acoustic bass); Steve Hunt (vibraphone, drums, tympani, percussion).
    Recorded at Hardstudios, Winterthur, Switzerland in July 1992. Includes liner notes by Steve Lake.
    Recorded two months after Hal's Bells, it was if Russell knew something and tried to get as much recording as possible done before he died. Sadly, he died a mere five weeks after recording this amazing record. Constructed as an aural autobiography, The Hal Russell Story combines a stream-of-consciousness narrative with some rock-solid jazzified blowing and dissonant free playing. The main body of the piece is made up of numerous short segments, some under a minute, but the ebb and flow of the songs is so smooth and effortless, you'll never realize that you're listening to so many short tracks. As usual, Russell's band the NRG ensemble kicks ass and takes names, blowing with so much intensity and power it's astonishing. Adding to this wonderful (if bittersweet) recording is the inclusion of a rollicking version of the Fleetwood Mac chestnut "Oh Well," which Russell claims he'd never heard before (and I believe him). It would be great if Hal Russell were still around serving up his wonderfully skewed jazz-rock, but this is as wonderful and fitting an epitaph as one could hope for. ~ John Dougan

  • Critic Reviews
    Down Beat (9/95, p.46) - 5 Stars - Excellent - "...Tracing his improbable evolution from teenage Krupa wannabee to avant-garde icon...Hal and NRG turn flecks of swing, bop, cool, bossa nova and free-jazz inside out....the music bristles with a pinpoint precision that belies its air of reckless abandon..."
    Option (5-6/95, pp.127-129) - "...a musical autobiography that captures his skewed vision in all its glory. It traces his 60-year musical journey, playing swing, then bop, then free, with the life-affirming frenzy and humor that made Russell unique..."
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