Russell Gunn – Ethnomusicology Vol 3

Russell GunnRussell Gunn
Ethnomusicology Vol 3
(Telarc – 2003)
by John Thompson

Let’s get two things out of the way: First, this release is definitely a combination of Soul-Hip-Hop and Acid Jazz, which, unfortunately, will get little or no radio airplay. Second, Russell Gunn(t) can definitely play. The songs “No Separation” and “The Critic’s Song” contain the most urban funk flavor, with Gunn playing a tasteful electric trumpet on Separation (also equipped with turntable scratches), and rap lyrics (three words that constitute the “Parental Advisory” label attached). There is a nice variation of the tune, “Variations” that feature a warm solo by vibraphonist Stefon Harris. “East St. Louis” carries an up-tempo, semi disco, tasteful, Roy Ayers feel, with some nice percussion that works.

“John Wicks,” “…dedicated to the memory of my true homeboy, John “Fred” Wicks,” is a “Quiet Storm-like” mellow piece to which Carl Burnett supplements with a fitting acoustic guitar. “Strange Fruit, made famous by Billie Holiday, demands one attention throughout, as it is performed with some abstraction and East India feel, going directly into Gunn’s own spoken word-style, “Stranger Fruit,” for a combined 11:03.

If you are ok with Soul, Hip-Hop, R&B, and Acid Jazz, as well as creativity, this would decorate the collection handsomely. 4 stars