Bucky Pizzarelli - guitars
Ed Polcer - cornet
Mark Shane - piano
Nicki Parrott - bass
Joel Forbes - bass &
Joe Ascione - drums and djembe
About "Puttin' On The Ritz":
Jonathan Russell has been performing jazz since the age of six. Now at the age of twelve he is a seasoned jazz musician with performance experiences in more than nine states, three coasts and a dozen jazz festivals, jazz parties or clubs. In his second CD he shows the growth and maturity that he has gained. He has gathered half a dozen of the musicians that he has been working with to create new interpretations of jazz classics grounded in the styles and sound he has absorbed from the finest jazz musicians from around the world.
Jonathan On Why He Chose These Tunes...
Ritz: The first time that I heard it was in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein. It took a long time before I could play it without laughing.
Caravan: My favorite Duke Ellington tune.
Darn That Dream: I heard it on one of Ed’s CDs and thought it was beautiful.
The Way You Look Tonight: I first heard legendary Nashville swing violinist Buddy Spicher playing a version of this with violinist Billy Contreras.
Body and Soul: One of my favorite ballads and probably the most recorded jazz standard.
Limehouse Blues: The arrangement was developed from a suggestion by jazz pianist/arranger Ron Drotos. I thought it was a cool idea.
Don’t Get Around Much Anymore: My favorite version is “Stuff” Smith’s. This is my homage to him. (“Homage” is a vocabulary word for me this year and my English teacher might give me extra credit for using it in these notes...)
Someday My Prince Will Come: Mom wanted me to learn it.
Runnin’ Wild: From one of my favorite comedies “Some Like It Hot”- though I play it differently than Marilyn Monroe sang it!
Besame Mucho: Nicki asked me to play it with her in North Carolina last year. I loved it and decided to record it with her.
Nuages: Bucky taught me this after I played with him for the first time at the North Carolina Jazz Festival in Wilmington.
Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho: Ron Drotos asked me to play this arrangement for a church service. I wrote the cadenza myself.
About Jonathan Russell:
Romantics would say it was love at first sight. Or in this case, maybe first listen. Jonathan Russell saw a picture of a violin at the age of 18 months and repeated the word every time he saw one. Soon after that he began picking out the sound of the violin on recordings. And when he held one on his shoulder for the first time, it was definitely a done deal. Jonathan and the violin were a dynamic duo called to destiny. But his beginnings in jazz are a bit hazier in his parents' recollections. It started with Bei Mir Bist du Shein for sure, and his early spontaneous improvisations on the rhythm. Shortly after, he began to pick out the notes to Ain't Misbehavin’ and everything seemed to take off from there like wildfire.
As a Suzuki-trained musician, Jonathan learns easily by ear but also reads and writes music. While he is skillful at adapting any of the jazz standards he plays for other styles, his heart is in the Traditional, Dixieland and Swing genres -- the true roots of jazz. In addition to attending Professional Children’s School in Manhattan, he is studying Suzuki violin at the School for Strings with Allen Lieb, while his jazz studies are with Grammy Award winner Andy Stein of Prairie Home Companion's Shoe Band. In 2005, at the age of nine, Jonathan was awarded the Alternative Styles Award in the under 13 category for Best Improvisation by the American String Teachers Association at their annual conference in Reno, Nevada. In 2006, Jonathan had the honor of being the youngest jazz musician ever invited to play in a master class at Jazz at Lincoln Center taught by Regina Carter. And every gig is a learning experience as well as a blast as he puts out the music and also soaks it in, learning from great band leaders such as Les Paul, Bucky Pizzarelli and Ed Polcer.
Jonathan has been a feature performer at major jazz festivals including the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, the Suncoast Dixieland Jazz Festival, the New Jersey, North Carolina and Great Connecticut Traditional jazz festivals. He has been featured at The Blue Note in New York City and has performed at smaller venues such as Iridium and Birdland. In the past he has played with Bucky Pizzarelli, Les Paul, John Lamb, Titan Hot 7, Blue Street Jazz Band, Fryer/Barnhart International All-Stars, Igor’s Jazz Cowboys and High Sierra Jazz Band. Jonathan regularly performs with the Grove Street Stompers and Ed Polcer in New York and Barbone Street in Pennsylvania. In the spring of 2008 he is scheduled to make his European debut at the Bohém Ragtime & Jazz Festival in Hungary. He has released his first CD entitled The Sheik of Araby featuring eleven standards from the jazz age. This is his second CD featuring many of the performers he has been working with including Bucky Pizzarelli, Joel Forbes, Joe Ascione, NIcki Parrott, Mark Shane and Ed Polcer.