Our TAKE TWO Jazz series continues with two top regional jazz performers:
on Piano and
on Vocals and Percussion.
For almost 30 years Russ Wilson has worked as a professional musician and has made a name for himself playing many different styles of music including Rock, Country, Gospel, Blues, R&B, Dixieland, Big Band Swing, Bebop, pit work for Broadway style shows and Symphonic music.
Of all these Jazz remains his first true love.
Jimmy Thackery (The Nighthawks and The Drivers), Kim Wilson (Fabulous Thunderbirds),
Mookie Brill (world renown singer and musician), Hubert Sumlin (Howlin' Wolf's guitarist for 25 years),
Chicago Bob Nelson (The Heartfixers), Jerry "Boogie" McCain (She's Tough!),
Charlie Musselwhite (world famous Harmonica player),
Calvin "Fuzz" Jones (Bass player for Muddy Waters & Howlin' Wolf), David Johansen (New York Dolls),
Levon Helm (THE BAND), Carey Bell (world famous harmonica player), Skeeter Brandon (Hwy 61),
Chris Thomas King (Oh Brother Where Art Thou), Dave Maxwell (pianist with Freddie King)
and Bob Margolin (guitarist for Muddy Waters).
Just to name a few (wink~wink).
Since 1989 Russ has played drums and vocalized on 31 albums ~ 8 of those being his own projects.
Most recently he was in the studio laying down tracks for Bruce Lang's new country album.
(You can see a clip of that in the VIDEO section)
After touring and traveling for many years playing with various blues bands Russ decided to start one of his own. With the help of his good friend and guitarist Marc Brookshire they formed THE MIGHTY MIGHTY MEN in 2001.
In late 2003 he started his second musical organization called THE NOUVEAU-PASSE ORCHESTRA playing the music that he grew up listening to, vintage jazz and dance band music of the 20's and 30's. The orchestra ranges in size from 14 pieces to a 35 piece concert orchestra. Then, if that weren't enough, he formed a smaller version of the NPO called THE RUSS WILSON SWINGTETTE. He is also co-leader of a quartet called THE SWINGTONES and, most recently, has started a new band playing Rockabilly and Honky Tonk Country called THE ASHEVEGAS PLAYBOYS and if THAT weren't enough he is also percussionist/vocalist for the Hawaiian/Exotica group called KON TIKI, WENDY HAYES, HEATHER MASTERTON and the world renown FIRECRACKER JAZZ BAND. Somehow he still finds time to freelance for such luminaries as guitarists ARMAND LENCHEK and WILL McFARLAND and swing band leader GEORGE KNOTT and THE ATOMIC RHYTHM ALLSTARS.
In 2007 Russ made his premier as conductor with his orchestra performing George Gershwin's RHAPSODY IN BLUE. Since then he has directed numerous concerts and shows. Of those most notably THE "POPS" CONCERT (the music of the King of Jazz, Paul Whiteman) and his annual ART DECO REVUE.
He is also a bandleader and multi-instrumentalist (piano, trumpet, drums, guitar, ukulele) who has played professionally for many years. Much of his performing has taken place overseas, where he has shared stages with some of the biggest young stars of the European jazz scene. He continues to maintain strong musical connections to Berlin and Oslo, where he did extensive fieldwork; Omaha, his hometown; Miami, where pursued his Master’s degree from 1996-1999; Boston, where he also directed Harvard’s graduate school big band for several years; and New York, his current residence.
As a scholar, and in dialogue with the Harvard Group for New Music (HGNM), Bares continues to probe the boundaries between composition and improvisation. Inspired equally by jazz, minimalism, and African akadinda and balafon music, he has explored ways to integrate shifting improvised right and left-hand ostinatos into his solo and group playing. This technique can be heard in his live recording Evanescent, which was featured in an hour-long program entitled “New Music at Harvard” on German public radio (Deutschlandfunk).
Here's what Bill Bares says about RUSS WILSON and the upcoming show:
All right, ladies and gentlemen, step right up and grab yourself another dose of the one of the finest, most entertaining and... dare I say... vintage of all the musicians in town—none other than singer / bandleader / drummer / impresario Russ Wilson. People enjoy Russ's shows for their attention to detail, humor, pathos, and indelible swing. All of this will be in evidence Monday as we dust off old chestnuts like "Goodbye" and "Cheek to Cheek." Lots of people like playing with Russ and I am no exception, having been featured with his groups numerous times. I enjoy his musicianship, historical expertise and his banter, but my favorite part of Russ is his personal authenticity. The first time I met him I thought to myself, "you're putting me on...." Nope! He really is who he is... a total throwback, in the best possible way! Come out and celebrate this one-of-a-kind musicianthis Monday! Bonus: I've written a special song with lyrics to honor his recent marriage. I think you may really like it!