For those who can't make it to the Jazz Baroness Room, Monkfish now streams live all of its performances on their Facebook page. Dinner reservations are recommended. Please specify that you want a table in the Jazz Baroness Room.
1st Show: 7:00-8:15pm and 2nd Show: 8:45-10:00pm
George Russell Jr., piano
Winston McCow, bass
Sean Skeete, drums
A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Inspirational Jazz Pianist George W. Russell, Jr. is a performer, a composer, and an educator. George began taking piano lessons when he was 7 years old. Along with studying formally, he had the fortune of growing up playing at his local church. There was no written music at church, so he was given the opportunity to develop his ear. As George continued studying music in college, he discovered jazz and the harmonies that were used in jazz. It was then that he began to understand, from a theoretical viewpoint, what exactly he was playing, both in church and from his classical repertoire. In that period of time, George’s unique fusion of Gospel and Jazz was beginning to form. His performances range from a solo piano, to a groove- oriented jazz trio, to a soulful, fresh-sounding larger ensemble that arouses the listener’s intellect and, most importantly, touches their soul. His playing is filled with passion, fire, soul and, most of all, spirit. George will often refer to himself as “a drummer who happens to plays the piano.” This is made clear when you hear the strong sense of rhythm that envelops each and every performance.
George began teaching private piano lessons at the age of 16. This love for teaching encouraged George to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education at Duquesne University and a Masters degree in Jazz Studies at the New England Conservatory.
While in grad school, George taught at local community music schools and eventually acquired a job as a piano instructor at Tufts University. He then went on to Chair the Jazz department at the New England Conservatory Extension Division. He also served as the Chair of the Jazz Department at the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts for over 20 years.
Currently George is the Chair of the Harmony Department at the Berklee College of Music. Prior to becoming Chair, He served as a Professor of Harmony and Piano at Berklee. George has been awarded the Ted Pease Award for Excellence in Teaching, along with the Curriculum Development Award for the Writing Division. George has also been recognized with the highest award that Berklee gives to faculty, the Most Distinguished Faculty Award.