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The Beethoven at NEC

The first time I met George was fall, 1987 when I started my Master's degree at the New England Conservatory of Music.  Coming from Classical music background, even though I was playing blues guitar as a hobby, I knew nothing about jazz.  Obviously I didn't know who George Russell was.

As soon as I was enrolled, I looked up faculty names, and realized how big George's name was.  As a Classical Composition Major in my Bachelor study, I was immediately interested in his career: still no clue about his music when I entered my first class with him, the Lydian Chromatic Concept.

The class was hard to understand, not to mention my English wasn't good enough to understand such a complicated subject (besides I am not one of those good-with-language type).  After the class, I wanted to express him how lucky I am studying with him without knowing what I was getting into.  We walked down the stairs together.  By the time we reached to the Beethoven Statue at the bottom of the stairs, he abruptly asked me how many his records do I have.  My heart started to beat fast.  I only could say "I will go get them right away, sir."

When he was teaching at the Conservatory, he often asked his students how may his records he/she have, as if he didn't care those who doesn't pay for his music: he was a very proud man.