|RK Big Band - NEXT CONCERT
@ BAHAI CENTER - NYC TUES SEPTEMBER 17, 2013 @ 8PM - 2 SETS!
THE RKBB @ THE DIZZY GILLESPIE AUDITORIUM - BAHAI CENTER - NYC - Photo on 2/15/11
THE RUSS KASSOFF BIG BAND
featuring Jazz Vocalist Catherine Dupuis
Tuesday - September 17, 2013 — sets 8:00pm & 9:30pm
John Birks Gillespie Theatre
New York City Baha'i Center - Tickets $15
53 E. 11th St. (btwn B'way & University), NYC
Information: (212) 222-5159 — www.russkassoff.com
NEW YORK 04/1/2013 The Russ Kassoff Big Band, led by renowned jazz pianist, composer and arranger Russ Kassoff, will be at the John Birks Gillespie Auditorium, NYC Baha'i Center
in New York City, located at 53 East 11th Street (between Broadway and
University), on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - sets at 8:00pm and 9:30pm. The
band will once again feature guest vocalist Catherine Dupuis.
Information: (212) 222-5159 http://www.bahainyc.org/jazz.html or www.russkassoff.com - Tickets are $15 at the door; $10 for students (w/ID) and WBGO members. Copies of Mr. Kassoff's critically acclaimed CD Bird Fly By AND most recent CD Somewhere will be available at the concert. Both are also available at www.cdbaby.com/artist/russkassoff
The Russ Kassoff Big Band was formed in 2003 after a successful run of concerts featuring Russ as
featured composer, arranger, orchestrator, and piano soloist. The
virtuosity of the magnificent musicians in the band contributes to the
new fresh sound of these hard-swinging original charts. Russ's repertoire
is eclectic and diverse, including many new and innovative arrangements
of his original compositions in addition to such classics as Ellington's Perdido, Horace Silver's The Preacher, Fats Waller's The Joint Is Jumpin', and Tori Amos' Winter.
The roster of players who have regularly performed in the band over the years includes: Ted Nash, Lawrence Feldman, Kurt Bacher, Caleb Curtis, Andy Fusco, Matt Hong, Rick Kriska, Kristy Norter, Dan Block, Gary Keller,
Ken Hitchcock, Gerry Niewood, Dave Noland, Carl Maraghi, Ed Xiques, Tony Lustig, Bob Millikan,
Tony Kadleck, Mike Ponella, Glenn Drewes, Brian Pareschi, Shawn Edmonds, Kenny Rampton,
Colin Brigstocke, Bud Burridge, John Chudoba, Greg Gisbert, Dave Trigg,
Clint Sharman, Charley Gordon, Bruce Bonvissutto (contractor), George
Flynn, Nathan Mayland, Pete McGuinness, Dale Kirkland, Bob Suttman, Dave Bargeron, Johannes Pfannkuch, Jennifer Wharton, Tim Sessions, Jack Schatz, Jay Anderson, Jay Leonhart, Gary Mazzaroppi, Ray Kilday, Dick Sarpola, Mike Hall, Maryanne McSweeney, John Arbo, Chip Jackson, John Miller, Joe Cohn, Gene Bertoncini, James Cirillo, Dennis Mackrel, Ray Marchica, Warren Odze, Ronnie Zito, Rich Derosa and vocalists Catherine Dupuis, Martha Lorin and Tony winner Debbie Gravitte (Big Band Broadway!) just to name a few. Most likely the band performing will be from this tremendous roster!
Russ toured extensively with legends Frank Sinatra by request ('80-'91) and Liza Minnelli ('82-'01). As a writer, Russ counts among his major influences Rob McConnell, Thad Jones, Nelson Riddle, Don Costa and Don Sebesky naming just a few.
As a pianist his influences include Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett. All members of the Russ Kassoff Big Band are
among a small group of the best free lance musicians in the world.
Together they form a vast bio of many worlds of performing
experience. Russ - with Sinatra, Minnelli, Rita Moreno, Mimi Hines, Susannah McCorkle, Carol Sloan, Rod Stewart, Carly Simon, Chris Connor, Bucky Pizzarelli, and countless others - is joined by his band members who also bring their experience - with Count Basie, Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Lionel Hampton, Gerry Mulligan, Sting, Natalie Cole -
just about everyone in the traditions of American jazz and show
business - not to mention the Broadway shows currently being played by
these marvelous players.
The 17 piece band has performed regularly at the Bahai Center in NYC as part of the wonderful Tuesday night jazz series in the Dizzy Gillespie auditorium produced by jazz great Mike Longo, and has backed Tony Award Winner Debbie Gravitte in a show/concert created by Russ and Debbie called "BIG BAND BROADWAY" at the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ct., and at BIRDLAND in NYC, has been the featured performer at the 2nd annual Milford, PA Music Festival under the coordination of Martha Lorin, and has been heard on the 1010 WINS Radio Jingle promoting LIVE MUSIC in the NY Metropolitan area sponsored by LOCAL 802 AFM, NY's musicians union! The RKBB also has appeared annually in the sanctuary at St. Peter's Lutheran Church at the Citicorp Center
most recently honoring in tribute to Gerry Niewood, a founding member
and world class saxophonist who perished in the Buffalo plane crash of
February 12, 2009.
Kassoff was a guest (May '07) on NPR with Marion McPartland's Piano Jazz celebrating his critically acclaimed solo/trio CD, Somewhere. Russ also appears regularly on Lise Avery's Anything Goes Radio - www.anythinggoesradio.com as they can be heard exchanging many stories, fun and banter as well as promoting many of Russ's local gigs in the NY area.
Vocalist Catherine Dupuis has been the featured vocalist with the RKBB since its inception. Her style is soulful, innovative, and fresh and she is a consummate artist. With the RKBB she performs a repertoire of original RK arrangements that she and Russ have worked on as musical partners for several years. Dupuis' three CDs recorded for Bearheart Records have received rave reviews. About Rules of the Road (2005) arranged and conducted by Russ Kassoff, featuring the Russ Kassoff Trio, Bucky Pizzarelli, Ted Nash, Marvin Stamm and Joe Cohn, Scott Yanow (All Music Guide) writes: "Although not overly famous, Catherine Dupuis shows
on this CD that she is one of the most interesting jazz singers of the
early 21st century. Her song selection is particularly strong, with a
few standards performed in fresh ways and joined by vintage obscurities
and newer material. "I've Never Been in Love Before" and "Lonesome Road" are reinvented. The Rules of the Road is highly recommended and a perfect introduction to the singing of Catherine Dupuis." Catherine is also the chairman of the JazzPA board - an annual jazz festival she produces that this year will feature Russ, Jay Anderson, Dennis Mackrel and special guest Ted Nash.
A Cavalcade of Stars
The Russ Kassoff Big Band
Midtown Jazz at Midday
30th Anniversary Gala
New York, NY
May 9, 2012
Whyte topped himself again with an amazing assemblage of talent in a
venue famous for hosting stars from the world of jazz. In fact,
the weekly midday program has become one of St. Peter’s longest-running
performing arts collaborations. Framed by the extraordinary
sixteen-piece Russ Kassoff Big Band and singer Catherine Dupuis singing
“In the Still of the Night,” some of the brightest names in the music
business entertained a delighted audience of loyal fans who filled
With so many stellar performances, it’s difficult to
select only a few to praise. That said, Dupuis deserves special
recognition for a voice evoking the strength and substance of Judy
Garland and her ability to project the feeling of a song over the
band’s volume. Eric Comstock, as relaxed and charming as ever, imbued
“Old Devil Moon” (Finian’s Rainbow) with an appropriately mysterious
and tropical sensibility. Ed Laub and Bucky Pizzarelli had the
audience drifting along under a quiet, snow-lit sky (“Snowfall”), while
Jay Leonhart’s wacky sense of humor on “The Dodgers” (“…the woman who I
married saw the Dodgers play at Ebbet’s Field”) proved to be
contagious, as always. Junior Mance performed a fast-paced piano sprint
(“On Broadway”), and Chris Gillespie’s combo (“Take Five” and Bach
variations) provided a veritable conversation, which ranged from jazz
to classical. Marion Cowings, a rare crooner of the old school, has
impeccable phrasing and a melodious voice, which embraced every line of
“I Had the Craziest Dream.” Carol Fredette’s rendition of one of the
best known songs from Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun, “They Say
It’s Wonderful,” imparted an entirely new meaning to the iconic lyric,
suggesting that the words “..falling in love is wonderful...” might
lack a certain amount of credibility and consistency with her own
Among the other veteran performers were: Art Baron;
Mauricio DeSouza; Patti Dunham (“A Foggy Day”); Ed Laub and Bucky
Pizzarelli; Alex Leonard (“Blues in the Night” and “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate
the Positive”) both backed by Leonhart and DeSouza; Keith Loftis and
Boots Maleson, working with Gillespie; Lenore Raphael (“If I Were a
Bell”); Daryl Sherman (“Flamingo”); Marlene VerPlanck (“The Party
Upstairs”); and Ronny Whyte (“The Hamptons Blues”).
was sponsored by the Midtown Arts Common and dedicated to the memory of
Edmund Anderson, the creator of Midtown Jazz, Joan Uttal Anderson, the
co-producer, and Barbara Lea, the late host of the long-running series.
May 9, 2012
Russ Kassoff Band
with Catherine Dupuis
New York, NY
September 13, 2011
the usual suspects, low-profile, high-quality places in NYC serve up
good music, booming and blooming. The Baha’i Center in Greenwich
Village regularly hosts concerts in a cozy auditorium. With two sets in
this close-up set-up, up stepped veteran conductor/pianist/
composer/recording artist Russ Kassoff. Tight ensemble players took
turns soloing, duly credited, spotlighted and applauded; audiences can
see the respectful, appreciative way they listened to each other.
Down-to-earth bonhomie of our host/maestro made the atmosphere
relaxed—with high-energy, brassy blasts and serene soaring. Frequent
colleague, sparkling and so-smart singer Catherine Dupuis, was aboard.
“I’ll be over here if you need me,” joked conductor Kassoff casually,
moving just a few feet to allow her to take the stage. She warmed up
“Indian Summer” with emotive, mature phrasing. In her comfort zone with
“Too Close for Comfort,” close to the instrumentalists, they exchanged
feisty, festive fits of joy. Catherine positively glowed with
ebullience on “On the Street Where You Live,” clearly not the only one
in the room to feel “several stories high.” It’s contagious.
alternating fluid piano-playing with in-command conducting thusly
hands-off/hands-on, Kassoff likewise alternated between his originals
(a moving “As Life Disappears”) and other choices, like “It Only Takes
a Moment” (Hello, Dolly!) and “Oleo.” And among rock-solid players was
that terrific trumpeter Glenn Drewes (“Drewes’ Blues” drew much
applause). A standout for me was versatile, very attentive,
super-sensational Kurt Bacher, young lion among graying heads. A hand
for the band! Bring back Catherine Dupuis! Maestro, take a bow!
September 13, 2011
| REVIEW |
The Russ Kassoff Big Band
Saint' Peter's Church
New York, NY
February 9, 2011
paraphrase the Bernstein/Comden/Green song from On the Town, Russ
Kassoff can really cook! He blew into town with a seventeen-piece band
and rocked the place! Kassoff, a pianist, conductor and composer,
arranged every song, including “I Can Cook Too,” performed nicely by
Catherine Dupuis, the band’s vocalist since 2003.
Ronny Whyte, a
highly regarded singer, jazz pianist, award-winning songwriter,
recording artist, actor and champion of other music artists, is the
producer of the Midtown Jazz at Midday series and the host for Russ
Kassoff’s Big Band. Whyte continues a tradition begun by the late
Edmund Anderson in 1982. Anderson, a long-time friend of Duke
Ellington, wrote the lyrics to “Flamingo,” an early hit for both
Ellington and Herb Jeffries. Kassoff’s well received appearance was a
welcome addition to the canon of the popular program.
was “The Preacher,” a Horace Silver composition recorded by Silver,
Gerry Mulligan, Quincy Jones and Woody Herman, among many others.
Exceptional solos were played by Dan Block (alto sax), Glenn Drewes
(trumpet), Clint Sharman (trombone) and on the Dixieland passage,
Kristy Norter (alto sax), Brian Pareschi (trumpet) and Charley Gordon
One of the best numbers was “Joy,” written by the
late Gerry Niewood, a co-founder of the band, with a strong solo turn
by Dan Block on soprano sax. Of the two songs written by Kassoff, the
more striking is “As Life Disappears,” inspired by the brevity of life
and the sudden loss of friends. Kassoff has long experience touring
with Sinatra, Bennett and Minnelli, and several Band members toured
with Basie, Rich, Hampton and other big names.
Among other of
the band’s seasoned musicians were Ken Hitchcock, Dave Noland, Ed
Xiques, Nathan Mayland, Max Siegel, Jay Anderson, Ray Marchica, Shawn
Edmonds and Bud Burridge. Every member of the group was first rate and
Kassoff’s charts provided many solo opportunities to showcase their
Kassoff ‘s new CD is Bird Fly By. It’s an
inspired collection of songs by Kassoff and Deirdre Broderick, his
writing partner of many years, and standards by Richard Rodgers, Oscar
Hammerstein II, Walter Donaldson, Gus Kahn, Arthur Schwartz and Howard
Dietz to name a few. “As Life Disappears” has words by Broderick,
although a vocal version has yet to be recorded. Those wanting to hear
more of Catherine Dupuis’ fine voice should check out her own CDs.
who mourns the absence of the big bands should take heart that one of
the very best of the current incarnations is Russ Kassoff’s Big
Band. Russ is at Feinstein’s on March 16 and the Knickerbocker in
March and April.
February 9, 2011