[Dixielandjazz] Jonathan Russell

Stephen G Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sun Aug 23 20:41:25 PDT 2009

Just back from a gig with Jonathan Russell. He's probably still on his  
way home to NYC. All I can say is WOW!!!!

We hadn't played with him since last September. To say he is AWESOME  
is a gross understatement. He was absolutely; incredible, scary,  
masterful, etc., etc., etc. He has learned so much over the past year.  
Much more grown up now with better stage presence too. He has morphed  
into a young man.

He is playing a violin made by Jonathan Cooper, a highly regarded  
violin maker and the sound is wonderful. The violin was made to honor  
Wall Street Journal reporter and fiddler Daniel Pearl who was killed  
by terrorists in Pakistan 8 years ago. The Daniel Pearl Memorial  
violin was presented to Marc O'Connor whose fiddle camp is legendary.  
Each summer, Marc awards it for one year to an exceptional student.  
Jonathan just got it a few weeks ago.

That violin plus Jonathan's progress in school and privately with top  
jazz musicians (Barry Harris, Andy Stein,. Bucky Pizzarelli, Ed  
Polcer, the Late Les Paul, Wynton Marsalis, et al made for an  
incredible jazz concert before about 500 people tonight who could not  
get enough of him.

He cracked me up trading fours and it was a humbling experience. We  
surprised him with a tune called L. O. V. E. which he had never played  
before and pointed to him to solo after one in chorus and a vocal by  
our female trombonist. He didn't skip a beat. Made all the changes as  
if he'd been playing the tune all his life. The little Rat, as Les  
Paul used to call him, played an improv on it that knocked our socks  

All I can say is, hire this 14 year old. Hire him along with Bucky  
Pizzarelli, or Dick Hyman, or Ed Polcer, or whomever, but hire him, he  
is the future of jazz if . . . . .

And if you are within driving distance of West Grove PA (near Chadds  
Ford, or Philly) come hear him with us on Sept 12 or 13 at he Laurels  
Combined Driving Event,(CDE). It is a horse and carriage competition  
and if the horses bore you, Jonathan won't. We play both days from  
Noon to 3 PM.

Steve Barbone

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