"Russell is one of the great men of postwar modernism, a direct link to the time when everything--architecture, film, music, society-was being reinvented. His writing is so multifaceted and many layered that you want to hear it again. Every band should play a Russell composition, or at least aspire to his adventurous spirit. Four stars. " John Walter, The Guardian, London, June 16, 2003.
In theory, Russell was the guy who moved jazz from bebop to postbop, although in practice Miles Davis and John Coltrane get the credit. His early records, from Jazz Workshop in 1956 until he moved to Europe in 1963, still bear fruit, with especially profound influence in Scandinavia. Returning to the U.S. in 1969, he settled into academia, working on his Lydian Chromatic Concept and writing sweeping orchestral works like "Electronic Sonata for Souls Loved by Nature" and "The African Game" the two centerpieces reprised for this big-band birthday bash. You'd think he'd have slowed down enough at 80 that we might catch up, but even when he's just having fun, like here, he's still several steps ahead of the game. A MINUS. - Village Voice