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Sam’s Jams: Eddie Russ and Deep Jazz Cuts from Michigan

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Image credit: WDET

Celebrating 70 years of music on WDET, Sam’s Jams is highlighting cuts from the Motor City itself. Today: Jazz in Detroit.

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This weeks pick is "Take A Look At Yourself" by Eddie Russ. All picks are featured on the Sam's Jam's Spotify playlist (updated weekly).WDET

This weeks pick is “Take A Look At Yourself” by Eddie Russ. All picks are featured on the Sam’s Jam’s Spotify playlist (updated weekly).

This week at 101.9 WDET, we’re celebrating 70 years of music here in Detroit. Each day, Sam’s Jams will focus on a different genre of music from the city that birthed so many. Today, we’re listening to Jazz in Detroit.  

Artist: Eddie Russ

Track: The title track from the 1978 album “Take A Look At Yourself“ 

Eddie Russ is a keyboardist and composer who was born in Pittsburgh, Penn., in 1934. After studying and teaching music for many years he moved to Albion, Michigan where he began playing with jazz musicians from Detroit and Ann Arbor.

Russ took a three-year residency at the Park Place Hotel in Traverse City, Mich. where he connected with many of the areas top jazz musicians and built a large library of original compositions. After the Park Place Hotel gig ended, Russ formed the very successful group Mixed Bag which created opportunities to record five albums with legendary alto sax great Sonny Stitt, including the album “Portrait of a Legend”, and additionally two solo albums for the Monument label (“Take A Look At Yourself,” “See The Light”).

His seminal 1974 album, “Fresh Out” (Soul Jazz Records) with the hit single in Europe, “The Lope Song.” Many of these albums were recorded in Detroit, including the famous United Sound located on Wayne State University campus as well as The Sound Suite Detroit

Throughout the 70’s and early 80’s , Russ spent a lot of time teaching and mentoring with youth organizations that fostered the talent of young musicians. In 1986, he helped found the now famous Bird of Paradise jazz club in Ann Arbor.

In the 1990’s Russ went on a European tour and found a huge fan base thanks to the British dance-jazz scene that collected and coveted his rare recordings like “Fresh Out” and the “See The Light.” Russ’s last solo recordings were live dates at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Academy, Live Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.

From 70 years ago to contemporary releases today, Sam’s Jams is the musical equivalent of digging for hours in dusty record store bins to find forgotten-but-should-be-remembered deep cuts pulled from the genres of funk, jazz and soul genres.

Sam Beaubien, Creative Producer

Sam Beaubien is a musician, composer, producer, and educator in Detroit. He is also the founder and leader of the acclaimed ensemble, Will Sessions.


Sam's Jams

This post is a part of Sam's Jams.

Each week, WDET creative producer and longtime Detroit musician, Sam Beaubien, digs through the archives to bring you a song you might not have heard before, but are sure to love! Catch it live Monday and Thursday on CultureShift.

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