Monday, February 1, 2021

RUSSELL / KONDO / TURNER – Artless Sky (CAW Records – CAW 001 / LP-1980)




Label: CAW Records – CAW 001
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: UK / Released: 1980
Style: Free Improvisation
Recorded live in Luton 19 Oct. 1979 on J.V.C. dummy head & Revox.
Design – Geoff Matthews
Photography By [Back Cover Photos] – Russell, Turner, Kondo
Photography By [Front Cover Photo] – Steve Francis
Composed By [All Compositions] – Russell, Turner, Kondo
Engineer – Tim Powell
Printed By – Senol Printing Ltd.
Pressed By – Nimbus Records Limited
Extra Rare Vinyl LP
Matrix / Runout (Side A Label): CAW 001 A
Matrix / Runout (Side B Label): CAW 001 B

side 1:
A - Artless Sky ......................................................................................................... 23:25

side 2:
B1 - Dear Listeners ................................................................................................... 3:30
B2 - When Crime Becomes An Option ...................................................................... 2:28
B3 - Pies .................................................................................................................... 6:10
B4 - Mounting On The Wind ...................................................................................... 5:02
B5 - Marcel Waves .................................................................................................... 2:59

Personnel:
John RUSSELL – guitar [plectrum]
Toshinori KONDO – trumpet, alto horn, effects [small amp & mutes]
Roger TURNER – drums, percussion

Note:
This album was made by Russell and Turner’s own label, CAW Records (not to be confused with Caw Records, no matter what Discogs claims).

In memory of the great guitarist John Russell (19 December 1954 - 18 January 2021)

It was German saxophonist Stefan Keune who told me in March 2020 that John Russell was dying of cancer and that he - depending on how well chemotherapy worked - didn’t know how long he would live. Now, the great British guitarist has passed away.

John Russell began to play in and around London from 1971 onwards. He soon connected with the emerging free improvisation scene and became a student of Derek Bailey's. Although he was obviously influenced by the legendary guitarist, Russell found his unique musical personality, he was highly abstract and unpredictable. Or, as my colleague Stuart Broomer once put it: “Where Bailey disrupted the idiomatic gesture, Russell sometimes invokes it; where Bailey practiced discontinuity, Russell can create alternative order“. Sometimes his improvisations seemed to resonate blues or swing patterns, but Russell used them extraordinarily freely, as if they had been carried by a gust of wind and moved on immediately. Another distinctive feature has to do with his instrument, a 1936 Zenith archtop acoustic guitar. It’s an unamplified but loud instrument, which was often used by swing band guitarists, who needed to compete with the brass section. This instrument allowed him to make use of harmonics in a genuinely significant way.



John Russell has played with almost everyone who’s important in the worldwide improv scene and his work can be heard on many albums. There’s a lot of his music which is really to be recommended, starting with his trio album Artless Sky (Caw Records, 1980) featuring Toshinori Kondo on trumpet and his longtime collaborator Roger Turner on drums. The album I became aware of him for the first time was News From The Shed (Acta, 1987) with John Butcher (sax), Phil Durant (violin, electronics), Radu Malfatti (trombone) and Paul Lovens (drums), a real masterpiece of improvised music, maybe the best FMP album which was never released on the seminal German label. London Air Lift (FMP, 1991) with Evan Parker (sax), John Edwards (bass) and Mark Sanders (drums) must be mentioned here, as well as his duos with Stefan Keune. Recently Stuart Broomer has reviewed Nothing Particularly Horrible (FMR, 2019) enthusiastically, another collaboration with Keune, Lovens and bassist Hans Schneider.

However, Russell was more than just a musician. In 1981, he founded Quaqua, a large bank of improvisers put together in different combinations for specific projects and in 1991 he started Mopomoso, which has become the UK’s longest running concert series featuring mainly improvised music.

A true gentleman, a master of subtlety, an excellent musician has left the stage. He will truly be missed.

(By Martin Schray / The Free Jazz Collective)


Note:
Downloading this album you also get the complete issue of EARTRIP Magazine No. 4 in which you can read a great interview with John Russell.



If you find it, buy this album!

25 comments:

  1. RUSSELL, KONDO, TURNER – Artless Sky (LP-1980)
    Vinyl Rip/FLAC-176+Artwork (567.11 MB)
    +
    Eartrip - No. 4


    You can get the download link exclusively through:
    differentper@gmail.com


    Regards.

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  2. Really appreciate this! Thank-you so much.

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  3. Gracias por esta interesante grabación

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  4. And there is nothing new to say about these masters of creative improvisation. Mastery in every second ..... Too bad Russell and Kondo left us.
    Thank you Vitko for this wonderful reminder of the golden days, and I also thank you for the added EARTRIP Magazine and the fantastic interview with Mr. Russell.

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  5. I'd never heard of John Russell before, a good introductipon ,many thanks.

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  6. Classic free improv. Beautiful recorded. Comes from my speakers as I am sitting first row infront of the stage. Thanks for another great share.
    A more recent essay in memory of the late John Russell you`ll find in the January issue of the UKs Wire magazin. I'll add the link for those you would like to read more about John.

    https://www.thewire.co.uk/in-writing/essays/floating-sounds-john-russell

    Uwe

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  7. Fine example from the heyday of imporvisation, Recommended!

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  8. Thanks Vitko. That's my drum collector friend Roger Turner.

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  9. Merci beaucoup et bonne continuation !! Bien à vous, Pascal (banlieue de Paris).

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  10. Thank you very much!
    Greetings from Costa Rica

    Sincerely

    JRAC

    ReplyDelete