George Allen Russell (June 23, 1923 – July 27, 2009) was an American jazz pianist, composer, arranger and theorist. He is considered one of the first jazz musicians to contribute to general music theory with a theory of harmony based on jazz rather than European music, in his book Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization (1953).
Russell was born in Cincinnati, Ohio to a white father and a black mother, later the adopted only child of a nurse and a chef on the B & O Railroad, Bessie and Joseph Russell. Young Russell sang in the choir of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and listened to the Kentucky Riverboat music of Fate Marable. He made his stage debut at age seven, singing “Moon Over Miami” with Fats Waller.