Gene Russell – New Direction (1972) (Black Jazz BJ01 – RSD 2020)

Gene Russell
New Direction
Real Gone Music RGM1018
Released: 29 Aug 2020
Limited Edition, RSD exclusive, Clear with Black Swirl
US  Original release on BLACK JAZZ RECORDS as BJ/1 in 1971

Well, it has been nearly two months since my last post here. I had planned to share this record at the beginning of the year, hoping that 2021 would symbolize a “new direction” for the world.  But those hopes got dashed just a few days in.

I haven’t been sitting around in the bad kind of funk and stewing in my own juices, however.  The Doctor has just been busy putting food on the table.  And watching more films than last year, so far. That was one of my New Year’s Resolutions.

A1 Black Orchid
A2 Hitting the Jug
A3 Willow Weep for Me
A4 Listen Here
B1 On Green Dolphin Street
B2 Silver’s Serenade
B3 My Cherie Amour
B4 Making Bread
Companies, etc.

Pressed By – Gotta Groove Records

Transparent clear with heavy black swirl vinyl limited to 1500 copies worldwide.
Pressed at Gotta Groove Records for Record Store Day 2020

Original LP credits

Artwork [Cover], Photography By – Dorothy Tanous
Bass – Henry Franklin, Larry Gates (tracks: A1, B4)
Congas – Tony William
Design [Cover] – Ray Lawrence Ltd.
Drums – Steve Clover
Piano, Producer, Engineer [Recording], Arranged By – Gene Russell

This album is most notable for its historic importance as the first entry in the amazing Black Jazz Records catalog. Gene Russell, who founded the label, delivers a nice soul-jazz set that will tickle your pleasure centers if you dig Ramsey Lewis Trio.  It is fun stuff, but it is by far the least interesting album on that short-lived but prolific label. Russell was a competent piano player, but he was no Ramsey Lewis; bassist Henry Franklin is who propels this whole set forward.  The version of Eddie Harris tune “Listen Here!” is very very good; his version of My Cherie Amour, sweet but forgettable.    Hopefully, though, this release heralds a “new direction” in the legacy of the Black Jazz label and there will be more quality reissues to come.  There is a cool essay by Pat Thomas (author of Listen Whitey! The Sounds of Black Power) contextualizing that legacy of Black Jazz as a black-owned label engaged with the social and political concerns of the black community.  I noticed there are legit 24-bit direct downloads now available of the iconic, pioneering Doug Carn albums on Black Jazz, and they sound good; does this mean we can expect some quality vinyl reissues of those titles too?  Dare I hold my breath for quality repressings of The Awakening and other adventurous music from their back catalog?  We can always dream.

*Update:  There are indeed more titles being reissued!  I just picked up a few more.  So glad to see this stuff back in print.


LINEAGE: Real Gone Music RGM1018, RSD 2020 vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE with Audio Tecnica Signet TK7E cartridge; Speedbox power supply; Creek Audio OBH-15; Audioquest Black Mamba and Pangea Premier interconnect cables; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; clicks and pops removed manually with Adobe Audition 3.0; dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Converted to FLAC in either Trader’s Little Helper or dBPoweramp. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.

16-bit 44.1 khz

p/w: vibes

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  1. A wonderful album, thank you doctor!

  2. Thanks 24/192 it’s good

  3. Thanks, will try to get via the source

  4. Hi good day.
    Please could you tell me what is George Russell’s PW?
    Thank you, greetings from Patagonia Argentina.

  5. I found this to be very enjoyable. I went for the high bit rate and was glad I did. Good Stuff! Thank you Dr. V.

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