NRG Ensemble – This Is My House
Delmark DE 485
Compact Disc (1996)
As even a casual listen to the enclosed album should suggest, NRG Ensemble is a band with a history, a group with the drive, cohesion, and devastating power evident on This Is My House doesn’t develop overnight. NRG’s long, frustrating years of obscurity and sudden rise to prominence in the 1990’s constitute the final chapter of The Hal Russel Story (ECM), a wacky musical autobiography, with spoken narrative, of the group’s founder and guiding light recorded weeks before his death in 1992: Russell’s end could have been NRG’s as well, but good fortune intervened. Reedist Ken Vandermark was invited to fill out the quintet for a Halloween 1992 celebration of Russell’s music and life at Southend Musicworks in Chicago; Vandermark and the band clicked immediately, cementing the lineup in place for this album.