George Russell Sextet


Although he's better known as a pioneer in developing modal improvisation, pianist/composer George Russell led some exemplary recordings, my favorite of which is the small-group Ezz-thetics. Russell's dark, angular tunes conjure up a late-night vibe, and are the perfect backdrop for imaginative horn interplay and gobs of terrific soloing. This album features some of Eric Dolphy's finest work — it's reined in, but bursting with passion. The sextet's version of the oft-recorded Monk classic "'Round Midnight," showcasing an extended Dolphy alto solo, is probably my favorite of the dozens and dozens I've heard.