RUSSELL B JACKSON

RUSSELL B. JACKSON

THE GROOVE GURU

Find the pocket, play the groove, and you get the calls.”

Russell Jackson has more than five decades under his belt as a master of both acoustic and electric bass. He’s fluent in many styles and was the first to employ the slap bass in a blues context, over time earning the moniker, “the Groove Guru”.  A disciple of the legendary Willie Dixon, Russell continues to champion the tradition of the stand-up bass.

Memphis born, as a young man Russell Jackson moved to Chicago to hone his craft.  He was soon hired by one of the blues city’s greats, vocalist Otis Clay. During this time, he was spotted by none other than Mr. B.B. King, who invited him to join the B.B. King Orchestra. He spent the next seven years travelling the world with the legendary ‘Ambassador of the Blues’. Memorable moment include performing with the B.B. King Band for a New Year’s Eve (2016) television production of Austin City Limits, and the induction of B.B. into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame.

With dual citizenship, Russell works regularly on both sides of the border. His Austin roots go back to the 80’s, when he established himself as an in-demand session player and busy band member for Katie Webster, Lucky Peterson, Kenny Neal, Matt Guitar Murphy and Luther Tucker. It was then the original Silent Partners were formed, with Russell on bass, guitarist Mel Brown (Bobby Blue Bland Band), and drummer Tony Coleman (B.B. King Band). The trio recorded an album If It’s All Night, It’s All Right (1989), on the famed Antone’s record label.  Silent Partners also toured with Charlie Musselwhite for six months in (1987).  From 1989-90, Russell toured with Youngbloods Of the Blues, (Kenny Neal, Lucky Peterson, Tony Coleman and Boney Fields), opening for Buddy Guy. In Canada, Russell has been a fixture on the scene since the early 90’s, spending 1993-94 with the Powder Blues Band. He tours Canada regularly with his Russell Jackson Band, and can also be found touring globally with Canadian based blues & boogie giant, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne.

Russell’s solo releases feature all originals, including The Alley Man (1994), Becoming Blue (1999) and Have Mercy (2007). He’s also heard on numerous notable artist’s albums, including Otis Clay, B.B. King, Albert Collins, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Kenny Neal, Luther Tucker, Long John Baldry, Frankie Lee, and Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne, among them.

In 2021, Russell Jackson and Tony Coleman, two founding members of Silent Partners, reunited to create a sound that that has become a foundation for many artists’ recordings and tours.  The  reinvigorated Silent Partners hit the studio to create Changing Times (2022). The album hit the top of the charts and was nominated for Blues Blast’s Contemporary Blues Album of the Year and the Sean Costello Rising Star Award, while Russell was nominated Bass Player of the Year and Tony Coleman for Drummer of the Year.

An in demand session player, Russell is equally at home in the studio or providing bass tracks remotely.  His long and lengthy discography is a testimony to the the huge library of music (and still growing) featuring Russell on bass.

Russell is a highly sought after educator who teaches in workshop settings and privately.  His master classes are available locally or online.  Teaching credits include the Hornby Island Blues Camp (2012, 2013, 2024), the Tom Lee School of Music (1997-99), Master Classes for the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge (2017-20), among the many.

Russell’s been sought out to be a Music Director in a number of settings, including his work with Touring Chicago Bluesfest from 2005-10 that featured Willie Hayes, Shakura S’Aida, Tasha Taylor, Wayne Baker Brooks, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne, Eddie Taylor Jr. Wilbert Crosby, James Armstrong, Sandra Hall, D.C. Bellamey and more. 

Russell has endorsed GHS Bass Strings since 1979, and endorses Singleton Guitars.

 

As a young man, Russell Jackson went to Chicago to pursue a musical career as a bass player. He developed his craft in a very competitive Chicago blues scene, and was finally rewarded when he was hired by one of Chicago’s great blues artists, vocalist Otis Clay. While playing in one of Chicago’s clubs, he was then spotted by none other than Mr. B.B. King and as a result of this encounter; Russell was invited to join the B.B.King Orchestra as the full time bass player. This opportunity lead to a very fruitful and productive seven-year relationship, and the opportunity to travel around the world with the Ambassador of the Blues as B.B. King was known. During this time, Russell consciously studied the manner in which B.B. King conducted himself as a band leader, which Russell would later apply to great effect in his own distinguished career.

Russell improvised on a number of approaches to playing bass – most notable was his use of his thumb on the bass strings. This technique is commonly used by present day funk bands but Russell was the first to employ the technique in a blues context. While Russell became extremely proficient with the electric bass, he is known more notably for his talents on the stand-up bass. Russell is a disciple of the legendary Willie Dixon and continues to champion the tradition of the stand-up bass.

After his time with B.B. King, Russell went to Los Angeles to study at the prestigious Dick Grove School of Music. In the late 1980s, Russell relocated to Austin, Texas where he worked as a recording session and band member behind Katie Webster, Lucky Peterson, Kenny Neal, Matt Guitar Murphy and Luther Tucker. It is at this point that this gifted nucleus of first-call session players would form the Silent Partners, which over a short time-frame included Russell, along with Mel Brown (Bobby Blue Bland Band), and Tony Coleman (B.B. King Band). They recorded an album in 1989 titled If It’s All Night, It’s All Right on the famed Antone’s record label. The band was later joined by Andrew Jr. Boy Jones (Freddy King Band). This configuration of players became the principal backup band and the top studio musicians in Austin, Texas.

Russell released two solo albums, Becoming  Blue (1999) and Have Mercy (2007), and can be heard on many distinguished artists’ albums, among them Kenny Blues Boss Wayne, BB King, Luther Tucker, Frankie Lee, Long John Baldry, Kenny Neal, Matt Murphy, Katie Webster and in 2022, the reunion of Silent Partners.

Russell splits his time between Houston and Vernon B.C., where he tours and performs with Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne on a regular basis.

Performances

Sunday August 1st, 2021

7:00PM ~ Mainstage

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