From a very early age, 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 shifted to the saxophone, being
influenced by recording greats
such as Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Paul Desmond, Lee Allen, Stanley Turrentine,
King Curtis and Cannonball Adderley.
In the early 1960s Russ played popular music of the day on Toronto's "Yonge Street Strip".
He headed a group called "The Ramblers" at Toronto's Zanzibar Tavern
and was seen by
who offered him a full time position in his band,
But during that time Russ was studying Electronics at Ryerson
and he made the Key Decision to turn down that offer because he wanted to stay in college
and not become a full-time musician.
At the end of a 6-month Zanzibar contract he went on to play R&B with the houseband at
the original Club Bluenote on Yonge Street
as a member of the "Silhouettes"
and Doug Riley,
backing great artists of that time like
Eric Murcury, etc.
Russ played with some of the finest Toronto groups of that era such as
"The Regents" with Dunc & Judi; and
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 played with many other notable artists:
"Robbie Laine and the Disciples",
"Ritchie Knight and the MidKnights",
George Oliver and Gangbuster,
Chuck Jackson, and
Peter Boynton (formerly with Red Rider).
Relocating in the early 1980s from Toronto to Barrie, Ontario, Russ continued to perform with
the Martels Rock and Roll Show,
the Figleaf Jazz Band.
Wayne Buttery's band, The Groove Project,
"Little Caesar and The Consuls",
plus many others.
Some of his ability to compose music is reflected in his 2003 recording of the album
As a recording session artist since the late 1950s, Russ has over 60 credits in the industry.
One special project in 2010 was working extensively with the late, great pianist, Mark Rutherford, and producing their album,
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 has taught privately the saxophone to a select number of serious students.