Benny Russell: A virtuoso tenor saxophonist Benny
Russell moved to New York shortly after his college graduation, and quickly formed a jazz orchestra called the NEW YORK ASSOCIATION – a seventeen-piece ensemble that featured such
noted jazz artists as trumpeters Cecil Bridgewater and Tom Harrell, saxophonist John Purcell, trombonists Steve Turre and Robin Eubanks, pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs, and drummer
Mike Clark. Since then, he has built an impressive list of credits. Besides arranging and performing for off-Broadway shows like Beehive, he’s worked with Otis Rush, Harry
Belafonte, Mino Cinelu, Craig Harris, Jimmy Owens, Junior Cook, Mor Thium and a host of others. Benny has played on many TV shows such as ‘The Cosby Show’ and ‘A Different World’.
In 1995 he chaired the jazz division at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, also teaching jazz history. In February 2005, Russell was commissioned to write a Jazz score for Zora
Neale Hurson’s play Cold Keener which was well received at Baltimore’s Loyola College. In June 2004, Benny was hired to chair the Jazz department at the Maryland Conservatory of
Music. He has produced a successful Count Basie 100th Birthday Celebration that featured the legendary Frank Foster and Grammy award winners Antonio Hart and Mark Gross. In
Russell was commissioned to write a three- movement
orchestral work for the Bronx Arts Ensemble entitled The Darfur Chronicles. The work has been performed by the Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra as well. He is director and founder
of the Rock Spring Jazz Academy, and adjunct professor at the Harford Community College. He is a professional artist for RS Berkeley and endorses their instruments.