Prelude & Deodato 2
Themes from The Exorcist, The French Connection, The Sting and other great films & Flashpoint
Hiroshima & Odori
Turn Circle is the debut album of the quartet led by guitarist and composer Ray Russell. Recorded in 1968 for CBS's Realm Jazz' series and arguably Ray's finest jazz album, it mixes compositions by such notable figures as Wayne Shorter (Footprints) and Charles Lloyd (Sombrero Sam) with Ray Russell originals. The best known of these is the suite in three movements A Day in the Working Life of a Slave of Lower Egypt. This remarkable work blends modal writing and free collective improvisation to stunning effect while showcasing the individual talents in the quartet, which are Roy Fry (piano), Ron Mathewson (double bass) and Alan Rushton (drums).
ORIGINAL LP CBS S 52586 (1968) STEREO; RECORDED IN LONDON, 1968
Footprints (Shorter)Bonita (Russell)Peruvian Triangle (Russell)Sombrero Sam (Lloyd)The Fry and I (Russell)
A Day in the working Life of a Slave of Lower Egypt (Russell): Part I Dormancy'; Part II Tremendum'; Part III Path'
Ray Russell Quartet:
Ray Russell (electric guitar)Roy Fry (piano)
Ron Mathewson (double bass)
Alan Rushton (drums)
"As Oliver Lomax points out in his liner notes to this reissue of guitarist Ray Russell's first CBS album (recorded in 1968), distortion and feedback, wah-wah and other special effects were everywhere being applied to guitar playing at the time, courtesy of Jimi Hendrix et al., but Russell (mostly) eschews them. As those who've witnessed his recent gigs at the Vortex will know, Russell can provide some of the sharpest, neatest runs you're likely to hear, his articulation clean and fleet, his musical imagination always fertile. On this album, he's joined by one of the UK 's most accomplished and versatile bassists, Ron Mathewson, sometime Graham Bond drummer Alan Rushton and pianist Roy Fry, but the focus is very much on Russell, both as absorbing soloist and composer, providing as he does all but two of the album's pieces. The opener, Wayne Shorter's classic 'Footprints', sets the tone: although it starts in 6/8, it shifts almost imperceptibly into 4/4 during Russell's solo, imbuing the whole with a highly effective rhythmic ambiguity. Such understated subtlety is the band's hallmark, whether they're musing through the odd ballad ('Bonita'), indulging in bouts of free improvisation during the propulsively vigorous original 'Peruvian Triangle', or easing their way through Charles Lloyd's relatively straightforward 'Sombrero Sam'. Concluding with a richly varied three-piece suite, 'A Day in the Working Life of a Slave of Lower Egypt', which touches all the above bases, this is a fascinating glimpse of a fine musician launching himself, apparently already fully formed, on a career that would later see him perform with the likes of Mike Gibbs, Ian Carr and Gil Evans, not to mention composing for TV ('Bergerac', 'A Bit of a Do' etc.) and playing with touring outfits such as the Four Tops and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band."
Chris Parker, vortexjazz.co.uk, Winter 2007
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