Russell, (Charles) Arthur
- Tim Lawrence
(b Oskaloosa, IA, May 21, 1951; d New York, NY, April 4, 1992). American Composer, instrumentalist, and vocalist. His work was characterized by a determination to create music that encompassed and integrated a wide range of genres and scenes, including compositional music, folk, pop, new wave, disco, funk, and hip hop. He studied classical Indian music and Western compositional music in San Francisco before his friendship with the beatnik poet Allen Ginsberg led him to enroll at the Manhattan School in 1973. Russell soon gravitated to the emerging downtown music scene and worked as the music director of the Kitchen for the venue’s 1974–5 season, during which time he programmed the proto-punk band the Modern Lovers to appear alongside composers of minimalist and post-minimalist music. Russell went on to cofound a pop band called the Flying Hearts with Ernie Brooks, the bass player in the Modern Lovers, and later joined Brooks in the new-wave band the Necessaries. The Columbia A&R executive John Hammond identified Russell as a potential successor to earlier signings Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen only for Russell to present him with a more complex musical vision. Other record company executives were subsequently similarly frustrated by Russell’s refusal to be defined according to genre....