Con "Aztec Jazz", il suo nuovo album registrato dal vivo in Norvegia con un'intera orchestra (la Norwegian Wind Ensemble), possiamo dire che TOM RUSSELL ha raggiunto lo status di "classico".
Di chi in canzone ha raggiunto vette altissime, tanto da poterle proporre in una versione orchestrale senza tempo che trascende gli ambiti puramente folk, rock o country che hanno accompagnato la carriera di questo straordinario songwriter.
25 album, centinaia di canzoni interpretate anche da alcuni pesi massimi della musica americana come Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Joe, Ely, Emmylou Harris, Jerry Jeff Walker; e ancora opere letterarie e pittoriche, oltre a migliaia di concerti in tutto il mondo che lo hanno reso molto conosciuto anche nel nostro paese.
Non c'è molto altro da aggiungere rispetto a TOM RUSSELL, californiano di nascita, ma che nel corso degli anni ha attraversato e vissuto a Vancouver, New York City, Oslo, in Nigeria per trovare poi l'approdo finale nella città di frontiera per eccellenza, quella El Paso che è teatro di tutte le storie che hanno riempito i suoi ultimi, fantastici album.
Dal 2009 Russell ha impresso la svolta decisiva alla propria carriera, registrando in Arizona "Blood and candle smoke" assieme ai Calexico e al loro team produttivo: disco che gli è valso l'attenzione anche delle nuove generazioni di amanti della musica roots e le lodi incondizionate della critica musicale mondiale.
"Mesabi" (2011) è stato il naturale sequel, chiudendo ad oggi il cerchio su un autore capace come pochi altri di cantare l'epopea della frontiera, la vita della gente comune, i personaggi storici e letterari utilizzando di volta in volta il rock e il folk, il country e le ballate, il jazz e gli spoken word e più in generale tutto l'alfabeto musicale della grande musica americana.
Aztec Jazz Quotes
Tom Russell’s new BRILLIANT album. His songs are the most connected as he works with the Norwegian Wind Ensemble. Tom's songs - expecially over the past few albums have pushed the boundries of his songwriting and like (a) Picasso has turned another page. His songs are now taken to a new level. I can only imagine that he was inspired, challenged, exhausted, and totally exhilarated at this amazing artistic feat. This is another milestone in his career. Tom Coxsworth, CKUA, Calgary
The new Aztec Jazz may be the most wonderful to date. Tom Russell has never been afraid to try something new and different, but he really outdoes himself on this album, a live 2012 performance with guitarist Thad Beckman and the 31-member Norwegian Wind Ensemble. What to call the result, which incorporates elements of jazz, folk, Tex-Mex and classical music? Who knows? Who cares?... As for the 11-track program, all written by Russell, it makes a strong case for him as one of the great songwriters of our time... Somebody should nominate Aztec Jazz for a 2013 Grammy. And it should win. But first the nominator will have to figure out what category it belongs in. Jeff Berger, No Depression
"If Aaron Copland were alive today he would find much in common with Tom Russell. Tom captures so much of the American West in his songs, and the brilliant woodwind arrangements on his new album, "Aztec Jazz" owe much to Mr Copland. Close your eyes while you listen and you'll be swept away by this meeting of folk lyricism and Copland-esque Americana soundscapes. Barry Walsh – Composer
“The arrangements are wonderful, the recording is great and Tom has never sounded better. This one is going to be on repeat for a long time.” Gretchen Peters
“Leave it to Tom Russell – who has given us such groundbreaking albums as The Man from God Knows Where, a brilliant folk opera about immigration and the American dream – to raise the art of the live album to a whole new level. The results are absolutely stunning. Tom’s singing and Thad’s lead guitar playing are magnificent and the orchestral arrangements, while uniquely faithful to Tom’s songs, variously recall some of the works of George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, and David Amram, or Gil Evans’ Spanish-tinged chamber jazz arrangements for Miles Davis’ Sketches of Spain, or orchestrated New Orleans second lines or Mexican mariachis. An essential record… Mike Regenstreif – Folk Roots/Folk Branches/Montreal Gazette/Sing Out!
"If there was any semblance of natural justice left in this benighted world Tom Russell would have become a star of major proportions long long ago, but this almost criminally gifted singer-songwriter sadly remains a relatively obscure figure despite possessing the sort of richly rewarding back catalogue which would put many of his better known contemporaries to shame. Splendid stuff." U.K. Dispatch
"Russell revisits old and new songs in a jaw-dropping fresh musical setting...an infinitely large musical canvas...Aztec Jazz succeeds in spades!" Maverick
Tom Russell is a true maverick who along with Dave Alvin is credited with creating the sound that became known as Americana... it’s the late flourish in a career that spans more than 35 years and almost 30 albums that marks him as one of America’s greatest songwriters. His trio of studio albums starting with Love And Fear through Blood And Candle Smoke to Mesabi contains some of the most vivid story telling you can hear in song. Aztec Jazz! The orchestration is wonderful and the new arrangements by Mats Hålling seem to bring the best out of Tom with his emotive tremor of a voice running the full range from gritty to sweet as the subjects demand. Nothing seems out of place and perhaps therein is the surprise as the songs make their transition to these new settings with seamless ease. Again it’s tempting to say it all sounds so simple, but you know that the orchestration is meticulous and the playing it absolutely top-notch. Perhaps the one place where the word really does work is to say, “Simply sublime.” Simon Holland, FOLK RADIO UK
The godfather of Americana has never been shy of re-invention....It’s a gorgeous set opening with Love Abides, a prayer for those who need reassurance, and taking in tear-stained Goodnight Juarez, a song of the Mexico lost to the drug cartels.Thad Beckman provides sublime guitar thoroughout, on what will surely end up one of the albums of the year. Paul Cole: Still Got the Fever - Birmingham Mail