Ray Smith [+]
Musician and writer
Born in 1905, Bill Russell demonstrated diverse musical interests from an early age. A contemporary of John Cage, Henry Cowell and Lou Harrison, his significance as a percussion composer is well known among aficionados and his work as a musicologist of New Orleans jazz music is equally acclaimed. He was a major figure in the revival of interest in the music of that city, notably from his recordings of trumpet player Bunk Johnson in the 1940s. He became the first curator of the Tulane Jazz Archives when they were established in 1958. This is the first full-length book about Bill Russell´s life that is largely ´in his own words´. It is based on personal interviews conducted with Russell about the diversity of his life´s work, interspersed with views and anecdotes from his friends and associates written especially for the book, together with archive material and a wealth of photos. These sources are woven together to give a portrait of an extremely talented, modest man who forsook an academic career to become a champion of the music and musicians of New Orleans.