Russell could be an important figure in modern jazz for his theories alone -- one example is his ideas on modal music which influenced the late 1950s work of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. But he produced plenty of interesting and rewarding music of his own. His catalogue includes experiments with electronics, Fusion, ethnic influences, and extended forms, though his early '60s releases -- Ezz-thetics, Stratusphunk, and Jazz in the Space Age -- are considered his classics. These efforts feature challenging, cerebral, sometimes quirky originals and cover arrangements in large-group settings, with occasional solos by Eric Dolphy and Bill Evans. Based in Bop but pointing somewhere else, these recordings remain fresh and free of cliché nearly forty years later.