Rarely has a term more aptly described a group than "fusion" describes NovelIo/Rusch, which was born when keyboardist/ composer/ producer John Novello and singer/lyricst Gloria Rusch teamed up to head a new project. Not only are they husband and wife, keyboardist and vocalist, white and black - but through the fusion of the unique musical talents of each, they have created in "Tightrope" a sound and identity unique in the jazz/rhythm & blues world.
JOHN NOVELLO has been a successful composer/arranger, musical director, producer, synthesizer programmer and session player/multi-keyboardist. He has played and worked with Mark Isham, Manhattan Transfer, Chick Corea, Donna Summer, Ramsey Lewis, Edgar Winter, A Taste of Honey, The Commodores, Eloise Laws, Richie Cole and Howard Roberts. His first solo album, Too Cool, was released to excellent reviews through ITV/SpindIetop. Novello has also composed the score for the feature film, Au Pair, released in Europe, and served as technical musical consultant and coach on the feature film, Red Hot, starring Donald SutherLand. Filmed in Riga, Latvia, Red Hot is a story about the birth of rock and roll in the `50s in the Soviet Union. Currently, Novello is the cofounder and Hammond B3 player in the critically acclaimed instrumental fusion project called Niacin featuring the legendary rock bassist Billy Sheehan and drummer extraordinaire Dennis Chambers. Their newest CD "Time Crunch" has just been released to rave reviews.
GLORIA RUSCH is a uniquely talented concert performer, recording artist, and session singer. In addition to her concert and recording work with Novello, she has appeared with greats Duke Ellington, B.B. King, Stevie Wonder, Al Jarreau, Chick Corea, and J.D. Nichols (of The Commodores).
Rusch's performances have garnered raves like the following: "when Ms. Rusch made her appearance, it was truly electrifying ... She has a range that will knock your socks off and she's got looks to spare. Most importantly, she knows what she's doing and can blend beautifully with her surroundings or take center stage and wail." - Frankie Nemko, Music Connection. "Sizzles with potential for commercial success." - Don Heckman,
Novello says that the Novello/Rusch partnership represents a natural evolution from the music of his previous band. In addition to strengthening Rusch and Novello's traditional roles - Novello as composer and keyboardist, Rusch as lyricist and lead vocalist - the new direction of the music resulted from a new fusion: Novello dropped the electric guitar and muiti-keyboard/synthesizers, which gave the band more space musically, and went back to his roots - a primarily acoustic sound (piano, sax, drums, electric bass, and vocals). At the same time, they began adding Rusch's traditional Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan-styled scat singing as melody and counterpoint to Novello's jazz/funk/blues-styled fusion, resulting in a very different and exciting sound. Rusch's range, vocal quality and expertise make her stand out, not only as lead vocalist, but in Novello's words, as a dynamic new instrument in the band.
Don Heckman (L.A. Times) said of their performance, "The group's genuinely unique identity became evident when Rusch joined the ensemble. Rusch displayed all the characteristics of a superb solo singer, and her startling, octave-leaping scat singing was vital to the special character of the Novello ensemble." Frankie Nemko (Music Connection) said of another concert, "It was a joy to hear Novello exclusively at the grand piano. He chose to dig back to his roots which are very jazz-oriented... it was apparent that he hadn't neglected that aspect of his prodigious talent."
It appears there's a new power couple on the horizon - Novello/Rusch have joined in a fusion reaction to create a new and fresh sound and an energy that is forever! We hope you enjoy the inspiring performances on their latest venture Tightrope!