Dear Russ,
I just wanted to say thanks for the great work you did during your visit to Southern Miss. It is very rare to find an artist level performer who is so accomplished, and who can teach in an accessible manner. Your workshop was excellent and gave my students a vision for what is involved in composing and arranging in jazz. In addition, I very much appreciate the one on one time you gave to some of my students.
I’ve had nothing but rave reviews from people who attended the Friday and Saturday events. Several who’ve attended our annual outing at the Bay Springs jazz in the Grove Festival said that’s the best the band ever sounded. You and Jeff were both inspirations for my students to step up to the plate. Thanks again for a terrific job. I look forward to doing it again!

Larry Pannella
Univ. of Southern Mississippi
School of Music
Director of Jazz Studies


Dear Russ,
I just wanted to thank you again. Your master class at the Jazz Station was very informative. It gave me a completely different look at improv and composition. Your solos were beautiful! It was as though you were having an intelligent conversation with those who listened. You’ve become an inspiration to me as well as the rest of the sax section! Anyway, I don’t want to bore you with this so….I’ll just end it with thank you…AGAIN!

Hope to see you in the future,
Charae Corey Hosey
Tenor Sax-Univ. of Southern Mississippi


Dear Russ,
It was such a pleasure working with you as a guest artist this year! The students in our top jazz combo had a great time playing with you on our Thursday night gig and we were particularly please that you were willing to share some of your charts with us. Working on your original material allowed my students a glimpse into your approach to composition and challended them to explore new styles and ideas. In performance, your interaction with the performers certainly pushed them to perform at their highest level. Your talent as a performer, your encouragement of the student performers and your enthusiasm for performance and education made the evening an incredible event for the Knox College student performers and our audience alike. Any jazz program would be lucky to work with you and I look forward to working with you in the future!

Yours in Jazz,
Nikki Whittaker, Director of Jazz Studies
Knox College
2 E. South St., Box K-44, Galesburg, IL 61401 


Dear Russ,
Thank you for a wonderful clinic with our students this past January. Your comments, suggestions, and handout were very helpful and informative. Our students (especially the saxophonists) enjoyed it tremendously. Thanks again…

Kevin Carroll, Band Director
Saint Patrick High School

Russ was in town, so we asked him to perform with us at our 38th annual jazz show held at the Royalty West. Russ was great to work with. He was both very friendly and very talented. Russ played with an awesome tone and outstanding improvisation skills, providing a great listening experience for the audience, and a terrific learning experience for the students. It was an unforgettable experience for all of us. We’d be more than happy to have him back at any time for either a clinic or performance.

Bob Good, Director
Argo High School Jazz Band
Summit, IL


Dear Russ,
Thanks so much for your outstanding clinic with my band. Both your comments and playing examples were very helpful to my students. Your manner of presentation put the students at ease so they were able to try your playing suggestions for improved jazz performance. Your comments about the dedication and practice needed to become a good overall player and jazz soloist were right on the mark. As a director with 30 years teaching experience, I can tell you it really impresses students to hear a working, professional musician echo what I am constantly telling them. To get good you have to practice on a consistent basis and practice the right way.Keep up the great work and I look forward to seeing you soon. Keep in touch…

Thomas L. Beckwith, Director of Bands
Warren Township High School
34090 Almond Rd., Gurnee, Illinois 60031

Greater St. Louis/UMSL Jazz Festival
Sam Houston State University/Bill Watrous Jazz Festival
Black Hawk College Jazz Festival
University of Toronto
Benedictine University
Bradley University

Illinois State University
Knox College

Monmouth College
Northeasten Illinois University
North Park College
Northwestern University
St. Xaivier University
University of Southern Mississippi
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Youngstown State University
Andrew High School
Argo High School
Barrington High School
Bremen High School
Clear Creek Amana High School

Conant High School
Downers Grove South HS
Evanston Twp High School
Highland Park High School
HSPVA – Houston
Hudson High School
JH Reagan High School
Klein Forest High School

Lake Zurich High School
Libertyville High School
Maine West High School
Marmion Academy
Naperville Junior High Jazz Festival
Naperville N.H.S.
Niles North High School
Niles West High School
North Shore Jazz Festival/Glenbrook South High School
Oak Forest High School
Oak Park & River Forest High School
Richards High School
Jazz in the Meadows Festival /Rolling Meadows High School
Savannah Arts Academy
Savannah Country Day School

Schurz High School
St. Patrick High School
Sun Praire High School
University of Chicago Lab School
Warren Township High School