Personnel: George Russel (piano); Eric Dolphy (alto saxophone, flute, bass clarinet); Don Ellis (trumpet); Dave Baker (trombone); Steve Swallow (acoustic bass); Joe Hunt (drums).
George Russell is one of those jazz composers whose influence is felt far more than his music has been heard. Russell developed the concept of playing jazz based on scales and modes rather than chord changes--which, roughly, means his music, though firmly based in jazz, sounds like almost no other, maintaining a fresh, immediate quality. EZZ-THETICS is a 1961 recording featuring some players who would go on to make jazz history in their own ways: Eric Dolphy, Steve Swallow and Don Ellis.
Russell's compositions are thoughtful, full of the unexpected, yet are melodious and swing like mad. The title track features some cheerfully twisted and twisting unison playing from the horns, and percussive, Monk-tinged piano from Russell. "Thoughts" mixes cubist bebop with the late-night after-hours blues. One of the two covers here is the rare Mile Davis tune "Nardis" (which Miles wrote but never recorded), given a pensive yet heart-swelling and thoroughly gorgeous ballad treatment.