Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gigs, Gigs, Gigs, Gigs

This time I have four gigs in a row so I hope you can make it out to one or the other, or maybe two, or even three! Whoever makes all four will get a special prize!

___________________________________________________

-A brand new gig at a brand new restaurant. Yes, Greenpoint, Brooklyn has its own steakhouse! On Thursday, Dec. 2, from 7:30-10:30pm I'll be bringing in a jazz quartet to help you digest the generous portions of high-grade beef at Amber Steak House.

The Russ Spiegel Quartet:
Justin Wood: alto sax & flute
Russ Spiegel: guitar
Fumi Tomita: bass
Brian Fishler: drums


Amber Steak House
119 Nassau Ave.
Greenpoint, Brooklyn, 11222
(718) 389-3757
www.ambersteak.com

-This and every Friday evening 7:30-10:30pm I am playing dinner jazz with bassist Kevin Thomas at:
Il Porto Pizzeria Restaurant
37 Washington Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205
(718) 624-2965
ilportobrooklyn.com/

-Saturday, Dec. 4th, I'll be playing a jazz brunch from 12-3pm at the wonderful Cornerstone Restaurant in Ft. Greene Brooklyn with the Justin Wood trio. Great American food with an African American touch.
271 Adelphi Street
Brooklyn, NY 11205
(718) 643-4216
www.thebrooklyncornerstone.com

And finally -

-On Sunday, Dec. 5th, 7-9pm I will be presenting the music of my new quintet at the wonderful Cafe Orwell in Bushwick. New Compositions played by some of New York's finest musicians and all you have to do is show up and hopefully stick some nice green bills in the tip bucket.

The Russ Spiegel Group:
Russ Spiegel - guitar & compositions
Tim Armacost - tenor sax
Mike Eckroth - keys
Gary Wang - bass
Scott Neuman - drums


Cafe Orwell
247 Varet St
(between White St & Bogart St)
Brooklyn, NY 11206
(347) 294-4759
http://www.yelp.com/biz/cafe-orwell-brooklyn
Nearest Transit: Morgan Ave (L)

Hope to see you all there!
Russ

Friday, November 19, 2010

New Gigs!

Hello All,

First and foremost, I am very happy to report that Das Boots did exceptionally well at the Big Apple Film Festival. Lots of laughs and a great response at the end put my mind at ease as to whether this venture was worth it. My thanks again to all involved.

------------------------------------------

Latest Gigs:
-This and every Friday evening 7-10pm I am playing dinner jazz with bassist Kevin Thomas at:
Il Porto Pizzeria Restaurant
37 Washington Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205
(718) 624-2965
ilportobrooklyn.com/

-Saturday, Nov. 20th, I'll be playing a jazz brunch from 12-3pm at the wonderful Cornerstone Restaurant in Ft. Greene Brooklyn with Fumi Tomita on bass and Chris Benham on drums. Great American food with an African American touch.
271 Adelphi Street
Brooklyn, NY 11205
(718) 643-4216
www.thebrooklyncornerstone.com

-Sunday, Nov. 28th, from 10pm-1am I'll be working off some of those pounds of turkey and stuffing along with bassist Fumi Tomita at drummer Brian Woodruff's Sunday night jam session at Blackbirds in Astoria, Queens. All you jazzbo's bring yer axes to this relaxed session.
Blackbirds
41-19 30th Ave
Astoria, NY 11103
(718) 943-6899
www.blackbirdsbar.com

-And finally, a brand new gig at a brand new restaurant. Yes, Greenpoint, Brooklyn has its own steakhouse! On Thursday, Dec. 2, from 7:30-10:30pm I'll be bringing in a jazz quartet to help you digest the generous portions of high-grade beef at Amber Steak House.

The Russ Spiegel Quartet:
Justin Wood: alto sax & flute
Russ Spiegel: guitar
Fumi Tomita: bass
Brian Fishler: drums


Amber Steak House
119 Nassau Ave.
Greenpoint, Brooklyn, 11222
(718) 389-3757
www.ambersteak.com

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Keep swinging,
Russ

Friday, October 8, 2010

Latest Gigs

The next performance of the RSJO will be at the Tea Lounge in Park Slope, Brooklyn, on Monday, October 11th. Show time is 9pm and we will be playing two sets, finishing around 11:30pm or so. I have to give a shout-out to JC Sanford, who curates the "Size Matters" Monday night big band hit at the Tea Lounge. Thanks to him, you can hear some of the top young big bands in the city for the price of a cup of coffee. Oh yeah, bring some cash to tip the band - $5 is suggested, but no one will complain if that tenner jumps out of your pocket.

The Russ Spiegel Jazz Orchestra
Russ Spiegel - comp, arr, guit
Reeds - Alejandro Aviles, Justin Wood, Dan Pratt, Dave Noland, Terry Goss
Trumpets - Colin Brigstocke, James Smith, Duane Eubanks, Jason Colby
Trombones - Scott Reeves, Sara Jacovino, Alex Asher, Barry Cooper
Rhythm - Art Hirahara (p), Yoshi Waki (b), Chris Benham (dr)


Tea Lounge
837 Union Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215-1308
(718) 789-2762
www.tealoungeny.com/

I will be making a rare small band appearance this coming Sunday, Oct. 17th at the Brooklyn Lyceum. Featuring some of the top musicians around, there will be plenty of musical fireworks as we play through originals and arrangements from yours truly.

The Russ Spiegel Group
Dan Pratt - reeds
Russ Spiegel - guit, comp
Mike Eckroth - keys
Gary Wang - bass
Scott Neuman - drums


Tix are $10, sets at 9pm & 10:30pm

Brooklyn Lyceum
227 4th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 857-4816
www.brooklynlyceum.com/

Also up: This and every Friday evening 7-10pm I am playing dinner jazz at
Il Porto Pizzeria Restaurant
37 Washington Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205
(718) 624-2965
ilportobrooklyn.com/

_____________

Also of note - my short film, "Das Boots" was accepted into the Big Apple Film Festival and will be showing at the Tribeca Cinemas Thursday evening, Nov. 4th as part of the program starting at 8:30pm. Come out & show your support (& wish us luck, too!).

Hope to see you!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Upcoming Performances

Hello Music Lovers,

First of all, I would like to report that the concert of the Russ Spiegel Jazz Orchestra at the Iridium jazz club here in NYC was one of the smokingest shows I have ever played. The band was ridiculously tight and everyone played with energy and verve. I received a lot of compliments on our performance. Which brings me to:

The next performance of the RSJO will be at the Tea Lounge in Park Slope, Brooklyn, on Monday, October 11th. Show time is 9pm and we will be playing two sets, finishing around 11:30pm or so. I have to give a shout-out to JC Sanford, who curates the "Size Matters" Monday night big band hit at the Tea Lounge. Thanks to him, you can hear some of the top young big bands in the city for the price of a cup of coffee. Oh yeah, bring some cash to tip the band.

Tea Lounge
837 Union Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215-1308
(718) 789-2762
www.tealoungeny.com/

I will also be doing a rare trio hit at the lovely LIC Bar in Long Island City this coming Wednesday, September 15th. It's only one set from 8pm-8:45 so get there early if you want to catch us. I'll be playing with the inimitable Sam Minaya on bass (we first played together when I was doing a show out in Pasadena, CA, a while back) and Brian Fishler on drums.

LIC Bar
45-58 Vernon Blvd
Queens, New York 11101
(718) 786-5400
www.licbar.com/

Also up: This and every Friday evening 7-10pm I am playing dinner jazz at
Il Porto Pizzeria Restaurant
37 Washington Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205
(718) 624-2965
ilportobrooklyn.com/

Don't forget to keep up with my latest column over at Earbits.com:
Notes of a Jazz Survivor

Be well, everyone.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

RSJO Concert, Movie Completed, Other News

Hello Music Fans,

I am very pleased to announce that the
Russ Spiegel Jazz Orchestra will be performing at one of New York's finest Jazz Venues. We will play at the Iridium Jazz Club on Tuesday, September 7th, with sets at 8 and 10pm. Make your reservations early.

The RSJO is:

Russ Spiegel: Composer, Arranger, Guitar
Reeds: Rob Wilkerson, Alejandro Aviles, Tim Armacost, Dan Pratt, Frank Basile
Trumpets: Colin Brigstocke, James Smith, Andy Gravish, David Smith
Trombones: Alex Jeun, Andy Hunter, Jack Davis, Brandon Moodie
Rhythm: Art Hirahara (p), Yoshi Waki (b), Chris Benham (dr)
Special Guest - Vocalist Dennis Jeter

Iridium Jazz Club
1650 Broadway
New York, 10020
(212) 582-2121
www.iridiumjazzclub.com/

------------------

On another front, I am pleased to announce that my short movie, "Das Boots" is finished and is already submitted to a number of festivals here in the US and around the globe. I have no idea how it will do but I am very pleased with how it came out and I am sending a huge "THANK YOU" to all those involved in the project. I am trying to arrange a screening now for cast, crew & supporters. DVDs will go out to all involved after the film's premiere, hopefully at one of the bigger festivals. In the meantime, you can find out a little bit about it at IMDb: Das Boots

---------------

For those of you who have been following this site, you are probably aware that I recently began writing a weekly column entitled, "Notes of a Jazz Survivor" for the website earbits.com. Well, I guess there's nothing like putting it out there to see what the world thinks of what you are doing. This past week I received an email from Dan Thompson, who is a professor of ethnomusicology over at Columbia University. Dan is also a writer and he is putting together an anthology of musicians writing about music and asked me to contribute an article to this work. Imagine my surprise and satisfaction of being asked to include my musings along with those of Grammy, Pulitzer and National Book Award winning writers and musicians! More on this later, but do check out earbits.com for all my writings.

Keep Groovin'
Russ

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Latest Blogs at Earbits.com

Ever since Yotam & Joey over at Earbits.com asked me to contribute a column to their online site, I've been regularly posting every Tuesday. Here are the links to my latest offerings:

The Mentor

The Gig

Bizarreville

And my first foray into product reviews:
Russ Spiegel's For Gearheads Only

Keep Swinging!
Russ

Friday, July 2, 2010

New Blog at earbits.com

I've started a new blog over earbits.com. It's entitled, "Notes from a Jazz Survivor." Here's the link and my first blog!

http://earbits.com/online_radio/notes-of-a-jazz-survivor-i-welcome-to-jazz-reality/

Notes of a Jazz Survivor I – Welcome to Jazz Reality

Hi there and welcome to my new series, “Notes of a Jazz Survivor.” As someone who has been surviving as a jazz musician for over 20 years now, I was delighted to be asked by Yotam and Joey over at earbits.com to share some of my thoughts, experiences and insights into what it takes to “survive” as a performing musician in an environment of rising costs, low wages and diminishing performance and recording opportunities.

Welcome to Jazz Reality

Sorry to start with a downer, but probably the first thing I wanted to touch base on with all of you is that, to be in this for the long haul, it is necessary to understand the situation you find yourself in. Our present situation puts us in a place that was probably hard, if not impossible, to conceive those 20 years ago when the musicians of my generation decided to make a go of it in the music world. At that time, there were still record stores and successful jazz record labels, travel was relatively inexpensive (especially overseas), and few people had heard of sampling (though synthesizers and drum machines had already started putting “real” musicians out of business, or conversely, were challenging them to get a handle on the new technology).

And, actually, things weren’t that much better back then. I remember when I was at The Berklee College of Music in Boston back around 1987-88. Pat Metheny was spending part of the year in the city and someone had the great idea to invite him over to their house and talk about music and his experiences, and on whatever else he felt like speaking. Pat actually agreed and with a bunch of mostly guitar players each pitching in ten bucks, there we were with Pat Metheny giving us a very personal interview.

I remember Pat discussing how he got started, how he was turned on to jazz at a very young age and how obsessed he became with playing the guitar. I was impressed how open and friendly he was, but what I took away from that day was when he compared the state of jazz from when he started to the present situation (the late ‘80s). He mentioned that when he began touring, there were jazz clubs pretty much all over the country and it was possible to “barnstorm” (his word) from place to place and fairly traverse the country playing his music. Now, he said, many clubs had closed, gas and hotels were more expensive, and the only thing that hadn’t changed was the pay for musicians.

Well, I took that information to heart and decided then and there to make a move and head over to Europe and try to make it there. I ended up staying for 13 years and never regretted my decision. And since I came back and settled into New York City, I found that all those things he mentioned were more true than ever, and that things, as I intimated above, have gotten even more complicated in terms of trying to survive as a jazz musician in this country. I plan to touch on many aspects of this in the weeks and months to come. Stay tuned and keep playing.

I welcome all comments and critiques and if anyone would like to share their experiences and ideas on this subject, feel free to contact me at russ@russguitar.com. I can’t promise a response to every email, but I will at least try.

Russ Spiegel
www.russguitar.com
russ@russguitar.com

Russ Spiegel was born in Los Angeles, and raised in Santa Monica, California. He studied Composition, Arranging and Guitar Performance at the Berklee College of Music in Boston on a scholarship, and went on to get his Masters degree in Jazz Performance at the City College of New York. Russ is a commissioned composer who has released several CDs, written music for film, TV, and musicals, toured Europe and Asia, and much more.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New Gigs

-Friday, June 11th, 7-10pm: My longstanding restaurant gig is now a duo with a great roster of New York's finest double bassists. This week - bassist Carlo DeRosa:
Il Porto Brick Oven Pizzeria & Restaurant, 37 Washington Avenue at Flushing Ave., Brooklyn, NY. http://www.ilportobrooklyn.com/

-Saturday, June 12th, 7-10pm: ...and they have added Saturdays as well! This week - bassist Chris Higgins:
Il Porto Brick Oven Pizzeria & Restaurant, 37 Washington Avenue at Flushing Ave., Brooklyn, NY. http://www.ilportobrooklyn.com/


And don't forget to add to your calendar:
-Tuesday, September 7th, 8-12pm: The Russ Spiegel Jazz Orchestra - Live at Iridium!
That's right! This 17-man strong big band which plays my arrangements and compositions will be performing at one of New York's premier jazz clubs. Hope you can make this historic occasion.

Russ Spiegel: Leader, Composer, Arranger, Guitar
Reeds: Rob Wilkerson, Alejandro Aviles, Tim Armacost, Dan Pratt, Frank Basile
Trumpets: Colin Brigstocke, James Smith, David Smith, Andy Gravish
Trombones: Michael Boscarino, Jack Davis, Andy Hunter, Brandon Moodie
Rhythm: Art Hirahara (p), Yoshi Waki (b), Chris Benham (dr)
And Special Guest: Dennis Jeter on vocals
Iridium Jazz Club, 1650 Broadway at 51st St., New York, NY 10020
www.iridiumjazzclub.com

Friday, June 4, 2010

New Interview

Check out this great interview with the guys at earbits.com

http://earbits.com/online_radio/russ-spiegels-band-is-bigger-than-yours/

Russ Spiegel’s Band Is Bigger Than Yours

Russ Spiegel - Composer and GuitaristBy far one of the biggest channels shaping up here at earbits is our jazz station. We’ve got close to 100 great artists already on board and we’re adding more every day. One of the exciting artists we’ll be featuring is The Russ Spiegel Jazz Orchestra. Led by Russ Spiegel, a killer composer, arranger, and guitar player, this 17-piece Jazz Big Band knocks out famous tunes by Duke Ellington, Paul Weston and more, using Russ’s original arrangements, as well as some high-energy originals composed by Spiegel himself. You can check it out on their latest album, Transplants, available on CDBaby.

I’ve had the pleasure of playing with Russ in my band, The Capitalist Hippie Complex, a 9-piece group playing funky jazz hip hop. If that doesn’t speak to the diversity of Russ’s guitar playing, and his ability to jump into any musical situation, I don’t know what does. Since composing and arranging for and producing a big band is such a different animal than other types of jazz (or just about any other group in general), I thought we’d focus our interview on that.

***

earbits: Hey Russ, thanks for chatting with us today. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it looks like Transplants is your first studio album producing a Big Band. What led to focusing on Big Band Jazz and do you think you’ll keep your focus on big bands for awhile?

Russ Spiegel: Hi Joey, it’s great to have the opportunity to speak with you. Yeah, that was a nice time with CHC – I really enjoyed playing with you guys. Really cool, fun music and musicians!

Many years ago (too many, I’m afraid to say) I was living in Germany and touring with one of that country’s top jazz artists, the organist Barbara Dennerlein. I was living in Frankfurt and was very much a part of the jazz scene there. I had relocated there in 1988 after studying at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. It was funny to call Germany home, but that is where my parents had moved after my father was offered a job with the Department of Defense. I had gone there while still in high school and had even done some college there. After my time at Berklee I was pretty broke so I went “home” to see how I would do in Europe – Berklee had a real name there and there was still the bonus of being an American in Germany.

Frankfurt is a communication center for the region in Germany called Hesse and they have TV and radio studios based in the city. They even have their own radio big band and I often went to their concerts. At one concert I attended there was a guest artist – a guitarist – and neither the arrangements nor the playing really knocked me out. I said to myself, “I can do that” and took my knowledge of arranging techniques I had learned at Berklee and wrote my first big band chart, appropriately titled “Number One.” When it was finished, I offered it to the Hessische Rundfunk Bigband (as the radio big band is called). They bought the chart, I made a nice chunk of change, and went straight on to my second chart, “Kangaroo,” which they also bought.

A couple of months went by and then I didn’t hear anything else from the radio station and went on the road with Barbara. I spoke with the saxophone player in the band as I was a little frustrated because I had never gotten to actually hear my charts performed (I had just given them the parts and the score). He suggested I form my own group if I want to hear my music. When I got back I made some phone calls, got some help from some of the local musicians, found a gig at the local jazz club and suddenly I was leading a big band. Now I didn’t have enough charts for an evening and realized I had better get writing.

After a couple of years I got a lot of notoriety as this crazy American running a big band in Frankfurt. I had a good number of charts written and a steady once-a-month gig with an established core group of local musicians. Later on the city gave me a cash award for my efforts in jazz, and my band was a featured performer at the German Jazz Festival in Frankfurt in 1999.

As to the question as to whether I will keep my focus on big band writing in the future, I would have to say that composing and arranging for big band is something I have found that I can do well. I believe I have an individual voice in this genre and it helps making my way in the world of jazz. I have begun giving workshops and seminars as well as getting requests for my charts and have been invited to be a guest artist at various high schools and colleges around the country. It’s all very rewarding professionally, but it’s not usually enough to keep putting bread on the table. Running a working big band is very labor-intensive and usually doesn’t pay off financially, and besides, I’m not the kind of guy who just likes to do one thing. I freelance doing gigs in various formations – from solo to big band – plus teaching, and the occasional commission to write or arrange. I also have developed an interest in film and have written and produced my first short film, which I will be doing the score to, as well as finding myself acting in the movies and TV, generally as a musician or an extra. Nevertheless, I would say big band writing and arranging is the thing I excel at. I’ve been very fortunate to have a great group of musicians here in New York who are willing to perform for ridiculously low pay just because they believe in this project and have fun playing my music.

earbits: Tell us a little about composing and arranging pieces for a big band. I imagine its easy to muddy the sound with so many instruments, but your music is punchy, clean and very well arranged. How do you make sure to leave space and keep things dynamic in your big band compositions?

Russ Spiegel: Thanks for the compliment. When I got into writing for big band one of the first things I did was get some books on orchestration. I made it a point to ask brass and reed players what was too high, or too low, what required too much breath, etc. I discovered musicians really appreciated good horizontal, melodic lines in their parts. I already had a strong grounding in harmony and at Berklee I had taken a class called “Chord Scales for Arranging” which was extremely helpful. I was also interested in Indian music so I had been looking into rhythmical concepts. Also, being a guitar player with absolutely no keyboard chops forced me to imagine a lot of the music in my mind’s eye. I discovered I could actually “hear” voicings and the sound of instruments in my head and found that this and my imagination all gave me insights into the music making process. It probably didn’t hurt that I come from a musical family and had been hearing all kinds of music since I was very young. Now this may sound funny to you, but I am actually a lazy guy. I would sit around and let the music run around in my head until I would know where to go next, then (and especially as I was writing music by hand) I would write just enough to get through the passage I had been working on. I definitely work using the concept, “Less is more”.

earbits: Is this an evolution of sorts, I mean, do you like composing and producing big band music more so than the smaller jazz ensembles you’ve had in the past?

Russ Spiegel: It is obviously a more involved process. Both require a strong compositional ability. I have found that, over the years, I do prefer music that is more “organized.” I think I have written and/or played so many “head charts” that I begin to miss things such as thematic development, and the harmonic richness of the larger group. Of course, there is more room for interplay in a smaller group but I do try to encourage that in my big band. That being said, in comparison to a small band, producing a big band is a bit of a nightmare as it requires a lot more time, patience and money to get a good sounding recording.

Russ Spiegel Recording Transplantsearbits: What was it like recording a 17-piece band? Where did you do it and how long did it take?

Russ Spiegel: It was a phenomenal experience! We recorded at Systems Two in Brooklyn. I can’t imagine a better place to record a big band. They have a huge main room, lots of isolation booths, great backline and all the microphones you could wish for. The place is state-of-the-art and they really managed to get the sound of the band down quickly. I had already done a number of projects with my engineer Jon Rosenberg – I recorded my first CD Monky with him way back in 1997 and I actually recorded my Steeplechase album Chimera with him a week or two later – and managed to record the entire nine tracks, plus some outtakes, in about 6 hours! I was as amazed as everyone else. Of course I only had so much money, so time was an issue, but the band was well-rehearsed and we had just done a couple of gigs. Everything really came together that day. I am extremely proud of the results and feel blessed to have had such amazing, experienced musicians working with me.

Once I had the basic tracks, it became an issue of editing, adding some overdubs – mostly me, as I couldn’t conduct the band and also fully concentrate on my parts – then mixing everything down. That was a long, and expensive process. I did it piece-by-piece whenever I had any money. The whole process ended up taking about three years and well over $10,000. I really didn’t want to compromise on the sound and felt this recording was going to be my calling card. I am truly proud of the results and I feel this was money well-spent.

earbits: Agreed. The album sounds terrific. Is there anything else about the Big Band experience that you want to share with our audience or aspiring composers out there?

Russ Spiegel: If that’s what you want to do, stick with your dream. Just keep in mind that it is a very time- and cost-intensive venture. Trying to find a gig for your group, especially a paying one, is a real challenge. Coordinating musicians, rehearsals, etc. will certainly also test one’s organizational skills. I think most young composers start off writing for their high school or college big bands. The challenge is to keep this up once one is forced to make a living. Financially, I’m probably pretty deep in the red, at least in the short term, in following this direction. On the other hand, it has given me an incredible amount of satisfaction standing in front of and leading 17 burning musicians playing their asses off on music that I have written and composed. I wouldn’t trade that feeling for anything.

earbits: Okay, last question, and it’s a random one. I just noticed on your blog that you were on the TV show 30 Rock, probably my all-time favorite show. Did I miss you? What part did you play, or are you talking about having music featured? I have to check it out!

Russ Spiegel: Joey, you know life sometimes throws you some interesting curves. A few years ago while I was in grad school I was asked by a friend to help out teaching some kids to play guitar for a movie these people were making. It was a fun little summer thing that ended up becoming the pilot for the hit Nickelodeon TV show, “The Naked Brothers Band.” Before I knew it, I had become one of the music instructors for that show. It ran for three years and during that time I got interested in acting. I ended up doing a role in one of the show’s epdisodes (“Been There, Rocked That”) and then got cast as a band member in the movie, “What Happens in Vegas…” That led to various background roles in a bunch of TV shows and movies, and that has turned into an income source allowing me to keep surviving as a musician in New York.

I have so far been on two episodes of 30 Rock, by the way: on “Black Light Attack” I am watching a basketball game sitting directly behind Alec Baldwin, so I’m very visible. On this season’s finale, “I Do Do” I’m part of the band in the wedding scene. I’m the blur playing guitar.

earbits: Haha! I will have to re-watch those episodes. To think, from leading an amazing Big Band to being the backing band for Tina Fey – now that is diversity. Thanks, Russ!

Russ Spiegel: Always a pleasure, Joey.

Joey Flores
CEO, earbits.com
joey@earbits.com
LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/joeyjflores
Twitter: @earbits

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Latest News, Gigs, etc.

Hello All,

It's been a busy time with lots of projects keeping your blogger occupied:

-I was in Amherst last weekend interviewing for the position of Lecturer of Jazz at UMass. It's a tough call, but I am one of four finalists. Keep your fingers crossed.

-My short movie "Das Boots" (formerly "The Misunderstanding") is now in a rough cut version. I will be going to view it with my director this Wednesday (tomorrow as of this writing). Very exciting stuff. Hopefully, Karlyn (our editor) will also be able to make us a short trailer so I can put the movie up to try to raise the funds to finish the project, which I wrote, produced and will be doing the music for. Stand by for more on this.

-The Russ Spiegel Jazz Orchestra has a real New York gig coming up - the RSJO will be appearing Tuesday, Sept. 7th at the Iridium jazz club in midtown Manhattan. Make sure to put the date in your books.

-On the acting side, it's been all TV shows so far this year: 30 Rock, The Good Wife, Mildred Pierce (an HBO mini-series starring Kate Winslet) and next week I'll be doing 5 days on Rescue Me.

And lots of gigs this week:

-Tonight, Tuesday, May 11th, 8-11pm: I'll be performing in duo with bassist Mark Wade:
Claret Wine Bar
4602 Skillman Avenue . Sunnyside . Queens . 718-937-7411

-Thursday, May 13th, 6-9pm: I'll be playing solo jazz guitar at:
Cranky*s Cafe

48-19 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, NY 11109, Tel. 347.738.4921

http://www.crankyscafe.com/


-Friday, May 14th, 7-10pm: my longstanding restaurant gig is now a duo with bassist Kevin Thomas:

Il Porto Brick Oven Pizzeria & Restaurant, 37 Washington Avenue at Flushing Ave., Brooklyn, NY.

http://www.ilportobrooklyn.com/

-Saturday, May 15th, 8-12pm: I'll be at the lovely upscale Proven├žal restaurant L'Escale playing in duo with pianist Deanna Witlowski:
L'Escale
500 Steamboat Road, Greenwich, CT‎ - (203) 661-4600
http://www.lescalerestaurant.com/

As always, feel free to contact me. It's great to get feedback.

Yours truly,
Russ

Monday, January 11, 2010

Latest Gigs, Other News

Greetings Music & Arts Lovers,

Lots going on as we get into the New Year. I will be heading out to California for some gigs in the LA area and will be in Sacramento doing a workshop and concert with the Rio Tinto High School Jazz Band, under the leadership of Josh Murray. I'll also be joining recently repatriated trombonist John Knight's quartet for an evening of original music at the Gershwin Hotel.

More exciting yet, I had written a screenplay for a movie short a couple of years ago. Through my good friend and major supporter Stu Deutsch, I made friends with director David Capurso. David and I have been developing the script and will be shooting my movie on the 23rd and 24th of this month, starring, among others, Gene Farber, who has worked on 24, Lie to Me, Virtuality, and many other productions. I am truly awed and amazed this is happening! If anyone wants more information on this project, or would like to contribute to its completion, please contact me at russ@russguitar.com

Here the latest gigs:
-Thursday, Jan. 14, 8pm: The John Knight/Russ Spiegel Quartet, feat. Aidan Carroll and Ross Pederson
@ Gershwin Hotel, 27th & 5th Aves., NYC.
-Friday, Jan. 15, 7pm: solo guitar @ Il Porto, 37 Washington Avenue at Flushing Ave., Brooklyn, NY.
-Wednesday, Jan. 20, 8pm: The Russ Spiegel Jazz Orchestra feat. Hilary Gardner @ Gershwin Hotel, 27th & 5th Aves., NYC.
-Friday, Jan. 22, 7pm: Solo guitar @ Il Porto, 37 Washington Avenue at Flushing Ave., Brooklyn, NY.
-Friday, Jan. 29, 8pm: The Russ Spiegel Trio @ The Foundry on Melrose, 7465 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90046
-Saturday, Jan. 30, 8pm: The Russ Spiegel/Nick Mancini Quintet feat. John Tegmeyer @ Rosalie & Alvas, 1417 W 8th St., San Pedro, CA 90732.
-Thursday, Feb. 4: Workshop and concert with The Rio Tinto High School Big Band, Sacramento, CA.
-Sunday, Feb. 7: The Russ Spiegel/Nick Mancini Quintet feat. John Tegmeyer @ The Lighthouse, 30 Pier Avenue
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254-3760

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Yes, indeedy, the Russ Spiegel Jazz Orchestra is starting the New Year this Wednesday, Jan. 20th at the Gershwin Hotel in Manhattan. Great music, great venue - the Gershwin is not only one of the up and coming music venues in New York, but is also a very cool room, with modern art and a plush interior. There is also a cafe inside now with wine & beer.

Sets are at 8 & 9:30pm. Entrance is $10. Come for the first set and stay for the second free. Take off your shoes & shake your thing!

Russ Spiegel: Composer, Arranger, Guitar
Reeds: Rob Wilkerson, Alejandro Aviles, Tim Armacost, Dan Pratt, Frank Basile
Trumpets: Albert Leusink, Tatum Greenblatt, Miki Hirose, tba
Trombones: Scott Reeves, John Knight, Kevin Cerovich, Brandon Moodie
Rhythm: Art Hirahara (p), Yoshi Waki (b), Chris Benham (dr)
Special Guest - Vocalist Hilary Gardner

Personally one of my favorite singers, Hilary Gardner, with her sparkling tone, crisp rhythmic assurance and interpretive finesse, is fast becoming known as one of New York's most compelling young vocalists.
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Recently voted as one of the Top 10 Jazz Albums of the Year by Michael Valentine, Music Director for WDNA 88.9 FM, "Transplants" comprises nine energetic and magnificently performed Big Band Jazz pieces, all arranged and produced by Russ Spiegel. In addition to six original compositions written by Russ, Transplants includes songs by legendary composers Duke Ellington, Ray Noble and Paul Weston.

“There is a little something for everyone to like on Transplants, and it is clear that
Spiegel is a composer we will be hearing more great things from in the future.”
Brad Walseth, JazzChicago.Net

The 17-man strong Russ Spiegel Jazz Orchestra consists of some of New York's most talented musicians, and between the scintillating arrangements, stellar compositions and amazing musicianship there is something for everyone.

"If you are truly wise, you will transplant this disc from your favorite online CD store, directly into your music collection."
Dan McIntosh, indie-music.com

The Gershwin Hotel is located at:
7 East 27th Street in New York City
212-545-8000
www.gershwinhotel.com


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I'll be at my usual Friday gig: "O solo mio" - solo jazz guitar, that is -Friday evenings 7-10pm at Il Porto Restaurant(known for its wood burning brick oven pizza!). Located directly across from the entrance to Steiner Studios.
37 Washington Avenue at Flushing Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11205
(718) 624-2965
www.ilportobrooklyn.com