Born: June 22, 1963 Primary Instrument: Percussion
Craig Russo has performed as a Latin percussionist and drumset artist for twenty years in the Midwest and Northeast. In addition to his strong jazz background, Craig has a special interest in Afro-Cuban music styles. He has traveled several times to Cuba in recent years, to study at the National School of Arts with such renowned Cuban percussionists as Roberto Vizcaino, Adel Gonzalez, Jose Lario and Sergio Luis Cardoza.
Craig has been featured on both drumset and congas with several regional Salsa and Latin jazz groups, over the last several years. These include Adelante (Champaign, IL); Miavana (Champaign, IL); The Tim Green Latin Jazz Ensemble (Champaign, IL); Urbano (Syracuse, NY); The Walter Bell Latin Jazz Unit (Richmond, VA); and Clavesol (St. Louis, MO).
In 2002, Craig formed The Craig Russo Latin Jazz Project. This unique group, based in Central Illinois, features some of the finest area musicians between St. Louis and Chicago. The group's focus is to blend jazz repertoire with Afro-Caribbean rhythms. The group most commonly performs as a quintet or sextet, using one or two horn players, two percussionists, piano, and bass.
The group's most recent CD release, Soul Eyes, was recorded at Pogo Studio in Champaign IL. Featured musicians include Chip McNeill, Jeff Helgesen, Douglas Little, Jeff Magby, Toby Curtright, Sean Parsons, Chris Mahieu, and Simon Rowe.