A Note on Russ Kassoff
Russ Kassoff is currently playing trio and solo jazz concerts, clubs, festivals, master classes, private parties, and continues to perform in concert as conductor/pianist to Rita Moreno. In addition, Russ recently appeared as pianist/conductor for Tony Award winner Debbie Gravitte and members of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra.
Past achievements include: In 2015 Russ was the Leader of the “House Band” for The Sinatra 100 Concert - 100 songs selected and hosted by The Jonathan Channel’s legendary Jonathan Schwartz, at Symphony Space, featuring countless terrific performers - including Tierney Sutton, Marilyn Maye, Tony Danza, Rebecca Luker, Kate Davis, Angel Reda, Karen Wyman, Julian Fleisher and Storm Large; In 2012 he was music director for the Pasadena Symphony & Pops concert in memory of Marvin Hamlisch; In 2010 he was conductor/pianist on Broadway in Twyla Tharp's critically acclaimed Come Fly Away, featuring 15 magnificent dancers accompanied by a 19 piece big-band playing live to the voice of Frank Sinatra; Broadway also saw Russ as music director/conductor/ pianist for Charles Aznavour in '98; Russ toured as pianist to Frank Sinatra by request from '80-'91 - including the Ultimate Event tour with Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin and Liza Minnelli; He served as pianist/accompanist for Liza Minnelli from ’82 -'01 and was Minnelli's music director and conductor for the highly acclaimed Minnelli on Minnelli National Tour ('00); In '07, Russ appeared as a featured guest on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz on NPR.
Since 2003 Russ has been music director/pianist to Rita Moreno and is a featured performer at The Knickerbocker in NYC where he holds a 30-year association with Jazz legend Bucky Pizzarelli. (Next appearance there is November 18 & 19 with jazz bassist extraordinaire Jay Anderson. Jay appears on the 2015 Grammy Award winning Best Large Jazz Ensemble with The Maria Schneider Orchestra, as well as her collaboration with David Bowie on the Grammy winning song Sue.) His current CD Bird Fly By achieved #1 status on Music Choice, was in the top-10 for over a year, and has received much critical acclaim.
Coming up, Russ will conduct and play for Robert Davi (Infamous James Bond Villain) as he does Davi Sings Sinatra, 3 nights at Feinstein’s 54 Below on August 18, 19, 20. And there’s Rita Moreno in Concert on Sunday, September 25 at 3pm at the Queensborough Performing Arts Center. Later this year Russ plans to release his 3rd CD as leader - I Can Dream Solo & Trio with featured players Jay Anderson on bass and Dennis Mackrel on drums.
Russ has a new radio show, The Jazz Deli with Russ Kassoff broadcasts and streams live every Saturday from 10am to Noon. Just go to WFDU.FM and click on “Listen to HD2”. You will be given a player to hear the program instantly. The show features recordings, with no more than 2 degrees of separation, involving Russ’s eclectic and grateful career in many facets of music and show business. Stories abound! “Our tongue sandwiches speak for themselves!”
“You are the best.” - Frank Sinatra, '87
Hear Russ Play!
Bryant Park Corporation
Sam Ash Music Stores
Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians
Jazz Center of New York
Music Performance Trust Fund