As a youngster, Russ could get a tune out of just about anything he got his
hands on. * After some formal training in piano through the
Royal Conservatory of Music, his interests were lured to the saxophone, being
inspired and influenced by early recording greats
such as Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Paul Desmond, Lee Allen, Stanley Turrentine,
King Curtis and Cannonball Adderley.
In the early 60's Russ played R&B on Toronto's Yonge Street as a member of the original
Club Blue Note house band, the "Silhouettes",
along with Steve Kennedy and Doug Riley, and backing great singers of that time
like Dianne Brooks, Shirley Mathews, etc.
He went on to head a group called "The Ramblers" at Toronto's Zanzibar Tavern,
during which time he elected to turn down an offer by Ronnie Hawkins to join the Hawks;
instead he wanted to stay in college (Ryerson) and not
become a full-time musician at that time.
Russ has played with some of
the finest Toronto groups of that era such as "The Regents, with Dunc & Judy" and "The Majestics"
featuring Shawn and Jay Jackson. He worked with the Majestics on a regular
television series of CBC called "Where It's At".
Russ has also backed many other notable
artists: "Robbie Laine and the Disciples", "Ritchie Knight and the Midnights",
"Little Caesar and The Consuls",
Jackie Wilson, Jack DeKeyzer,
George Oliver and Gangbuster, John Findlay, Chuck Jackson, Peter Boynton
and Brian Gauci to name but a few..
Now living in Barrie just north of Toronto, Russ regularly performs with
the Martels Rock and Roll Show),
the Figleaf Jazz Band.
Wayne Buttery & The Groove Project),
plus others in the Huronia area.
With over 60 credits in the recording industry, and gifted with a quick ear,
Russ feels quite comfortable improvising on the tenor,
alto, soprano and bari sax in many genres, including blues, jazz, R&B, rock and country.
Having studied music at Humber College, he teaches saxophone to a select number of serious students.
Russ is currently working with the great pianist Mark Rutherford, and they have recently recorded their
new CD, Steppin' Back.