Exposé Online banner

Ray Russell — Goodbye Svengali
(Cuneiform Rune 223, 2006, CD)

by Sean McFee, Published 2007-03-01

Goodbye Svengali Cover art

Veteran Brit-jazzer Ray Russell has a lengthy resumé, having played with numerous famous musicians in a sideman role. On Goodbye Svengali, a tribute to the late Gil Evans, we get to hear Russell largely playing his own material, which is a good thing. Russell plays electric and acoustic guitar, and is equally adept at soft ballad passages (“Without a Trace”), angular leads (“Everywhere”), and piercing soundscapes (“Wailing Wall”). Although I do not hear an overly strong Evans influence over each and every track, he is featured on keys on a duet rendition of Mingus’ “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat,” and a pastiche may not have been the intention anyway. Hardly a homogenous collection of tracks, different aspects of the album appeal in different ways. The title track features a rollicking full-band jazz session, a couple of dirges led by the trumpet of Miles Evans, and a solo guitar spot for Russell. Gary Husband’s drumming, on three tracks, is wonderful, virtuoso, swinging. While all the styles presented here are effective, I think what I enjoy most is Russell’s slower, bluesy side. Whether in the sad beauty of “So Far Away,” the pain articulated by “Wailing Wall,” or the celebration of jazz itself that is the title track, this seems every bit a heartfelt tribute and would impress those interested in jazz guitar.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 34, 2006 releases

Related artist(s): Ray Russell, Simon Phillips, Gary Husband

Latest news

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Coronarias Dans - Visitor – Every corner of the world, so it would seem, has a closet chock full of musical gems waiting to be discovered. From a corner of Denmark's junk room, this wonderful little jewel comes to delight...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues