Electronic Sonata for Souls Loved by Nature

I’ve been a devout George Russell fan since I played his insane 1962 send-up of “You Are My Sunshine” as a college freshman. One of the first records of his I ever bought was Electronic Sonata for Souls Loved by Nature, a 1968 sextet created during his expat days in Scandinavia. But that was just the first of many recordings of this mind-altering longform comprovisation which morphs from a steady groove to musique concrète plus improvised passages that recall Davidovsky. Here it is featured in a performance by Russell’s 15-piece Living Time Orchestra during his 80th birthday tour back in 2003. The groove has changed quite a bit since 1968—drummer Richie Morales adds hip-hop chops that couldn’t have existed in the ’60s under fully orchestrated pronouncements of what were originally solo piano power chords—but the electronic tape created in Stockholm as well as the overall sense of late ’60s rebellion are still very much there. It’s something we need to be reminded of more and more these days.

—FJO