George Russell: Concerto for Billy the Kid


Concerto for Billy the Kid


George Russell


The Complete Bluebird Recordings (Lone Hill Jazz LHJ10177)

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Bill Evans (piano), Art Farmer (trumpet), Hal McKusick (alto sax), Barry Galbraith (guitar), Milt Hinton (bass), Paul Motian (drums).

Composed by George Russell


Recorded: New York, October 17, 1956


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

Every important theorist needs a worthy practitioner. The collaboration between composer George Russell and pianist Bill Evans began in 1955, and soon struck pay dirt with Russell’s “frame to match the vigor and vitality” in Evans’s playing. "Vigor and vitality" may puzzle those who know Evans only by his later, introspective work, but “Concerto for Billy the Kid” more than justifies Russell's adjectives. The band is stellar and Art Farmer's solo is characteristically fine. But Russell's advanced modal writing focuses on Evans, who flawlessly executes a difficult passage in octaves and then delivers a long, muscular single-note solo. Dazzling stuff.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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