Death of Bill Russo 1 of 9
James D'Angelo (London) January 31, 03
I was a private jazz composition student of Bill Russo during his New York period (1958-61)and his influence has remained because he maintained high ideals about what music should convey. He had his students reading Plato and plowing through the compositional exercises of Hindemith. This is not the usual path of jazz musicians. His wedding of the jazz and classical streams was unique. Witness the addition of the four cellos added to the jazz orchestra. To a large extent he was carrying on the tradition of the Ellington music. Perhaps his greatest moment was the performance of his Titans Symphony with the New York Philharmonic with Maynard Ferguson as soloist. Although his reputation arises out og the jazz world, he was actually forging a whole new world of music with a freshness and joy of a Walt Whitman. I hope his music will continue to be performed by Chicago Jazz Ensemble and other orchestras.
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