For almost 30 years Russ has worked as a professional musician and has made a name for himself playing many different styles of music including Rock, Country, Gospel, Blues, R&B, Dixieland, Big Band Swing, Bebop, pit work for Broadway style shows and Symphonic music.
Of all these Jazz remains his first true love.
He’s had the gracious opportunity to share the stage with quite a few famous musicians during that time.
Jimmy Thackery (The Nighthawks and The Drivers), Kim Wilson (Fabulous Thunderbirds),
Mookie Brill (world renown singer and musician), Hubert Sumlin (Howlin’ Wolf’s guitarist for 25 years),
Chicago Bob Nelson (The Heartfixers), Jerry “Boogie” McCain (She’s Tough!),
Charlie Musselwhite (world famous Harmonica player),
Calvin “Fuzz” Jones (Bass player for Muddy Waters & Howlin’ Wolf), David Johansen (New York Dolls),
Levon Helm (THE BAND), Carey Bell (world famous harmonica player), Skeeter Brandon (Hwy 61),
Chris Thomas King (Oh Brother Where Art Thou), Dave Maxwell (pianist with Freddie King)
and Bob Margolin (guitarist for Muddy Waters).
Just to name a few (wink~wink).
Since 1989 Russ has played drums and vocalized on 31 albums ~ 8 of those being his own projects.
Most recently he was in the studio laying down tracks for Bruce Lang’s new country album.
(You can see a clip of that in the VIDEO section)
After touring and traveling for many years playing with various blues bands Russ decided to start one of his own.
With the help of his good friend and guitarist Marc Brookshire they formed THE MIGHTY MIGHTY MEN in 2001.
In late 2003 he started his second musical organization called THE NOUVEAU-PASSE ORCHESTRA playing the music that he grew up listening to, vintage jazz and dance band music of the 20’s and 30’s. The orchestra ranges in size from 14 pieces to a 35 piece concert orchestra. Then, if that weren’t enough, he formed a smaller version of the NPO called THE RUSS WILSON SWINGTETTE. He is also co-leader of a quartet called THE SWINGTONES and, most recently, has started a new band playing Rockabilly and Honky Tonk Country called THE ASHEVEGAS PLAYBOYS and if THAT weren’t enough he is also percussionist/vocalist for the Hawaiian/Exotica group called KON TIKI, WENDY HAYES, HEATHER MASTERTON and the world renown FIRECRACKER JAZZ BAND. Somehow he still finds time to freelance for such luminaries as guitarists ARMAND LENCHEK and WILL McFARLAND and swing band leader GEORGE KNOTT and THE ATOMIC RHYTHM ALLSTARS.
In 2007 Russ made his premier as conductor with his orchestra performing George Gershwin’s RHAPSODY IN BLUE. Since then he has directed numerous concerts and shows. Of those most notably THE “POPS” CONCERT (the music of the King of Jazz, Paul Whiteman) and his annual ART DECO REVUE.
Russ is now making plans to do the Gershwin piece again in his upcoming King of Jazz Spectacular “RHAPSODY” onAugust 31,2013.
In September of 2008 he took a break from band leading to tour with JIMMY THACKERY AND THE DRIVERS.
With that tour of duty ending in December 2010 Russ went back to being a band leader and running his own businesses, THE WILSON MUSIC COMPANY and WONDERTONE RECORDS putting all of his musical aggregations under one roof and one label. You’ll find more info on those by clicking the highlighted W.M.C. link.
Russ Wilson plays PALMETTO DRUMS and STAGG CYMBALS and VADER STICKS exclusively.