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Ray Russell

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Reviews of Ray Russell

 

16/12/2008 Sid Smith

Taking No Prisoners…

“Stained Angel Morning,” opening this 1973 album, has an acoustic guitar and sweet flute lilting through a gentle, eastern-tinged ballad. A minute later, and the pastoral air previously suggested is curtly dispelled by the fractious ensemble that includes trumpeter Harry Becket and tenor sax player, Gary Windo squawking for all they’re worth.

This headlong plunge from ornate themes into turbulent free-form sorties sets the tone for the rest of the record in which the diligent rhythm section of double bassist Daryl Runswick and drummer Alan Rushton rumble and tumble below the outré sonics of the frontline protagonists. Russell, one of the best kept secrets of the British jazz scene, is primarily throwing out oblique FX-squalls that add to an already frenetic and dense Jackson Pollock-style palette that is their adoptive mode.

Though the individual players here are beyond reproach, their abstracted runs often sound as though they’re in competition rather than co-operation with each other. Unforgiving and certainly uncompromising it may be but anything in which Russell is involved is always worth a punt.

http://sidsmith.blogspot.com

 

10/12/2007 Dusty Groove

Great work from the key years of British guitarist Ray Russell -- a previously-unissued tape, but one that stands right up there with his best albums of the time! The style here is quite free at times -- Russell's guitar working in a quintet with Harry Beckett on trumpet and flugelhorn, Gary Windo on tenor and flute, Daryl Runswick on bass, and Alan Rushton on drums -- all stretching out with energy that's similar to some of the freest moments in the Paris scene a few years before, inflected with some sharper, sometimes louder, edges from Russell's guitar -- which is quite dark and fuzzy at points.

 

01/02/0008 Peter Thelen - Expose

"A study in extremes, perhaps, but this 1973 gem by the multifaceted and accomplished guitarist Ray Russell and his five-piece free-jazz unit is highly regarded by those who know it, and is a welcome reissue indeed. I'm finding myself going for the repeat button more often than not.

 

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