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A collection of YouTube videos about Bill Russell. It’s actually quite tricky to find them amongst the Bill Russell basketball player and Bill Russell artist videos.

Here is silent motion footage of Bill Russell with the legendary Bunk Johnson in 1946 at Washington Square in New York City. Presumably this is when he was playing with George Lewis at the Stuyvesant Casino, New York, N.Y., in June 1946. Also pictured is Bunk’s wife Maude.

Bill Russell’s composition: Three Dance Movements, 1933

Three Cuban pieces (1939).
1. Havannera
2. Rhumba
3. Tiempo de Son
Edward Cornelius, cencerro, maracas, guiro
Paul Price, claves, cuijada
George Boberg, marimbula
Ray DesRoches, bongo drums, cencerro.


Bill Russell was the man who probably knew more about New Orleans Jazz than anyone else. He made a lot of recordings for his American Music Label (among them were the first records with Bunk Johnson in 1942). He was Curator of the Tulane Jazz Archive. He wrote interesting books about jazz …. and so on ……….:

Legendary New Orleans jazz collector and scholar William (Bill) Russell plays a violin improvisation over shots of his archive. Shot by Alan Lomax and crew at Russell’s home in New Orleans, May 1982. For more information about the American Patchwork filmwork, Alan Lomax, and his collections, visit [01.12.02]

Bill Russell talking about the first recording of this tune in 27. July 1944 – It’s in German, but you can see Russell in his apartment. Not sure when this was filmed, but it looks pretty late in his life.


Recordings made by Bill Russell

A Bill Russell / Mike Slatter session recorded in New Orleans in 1959 – Kid Thomas Valentine tpt, Emanuel Paul ten, Louis Nelson tbn, Joe James pno, George Guesnon bjo, Alcide Pavageau, Sammy Penn dms,

Recorded at WDSO Radio Station in NO in 1959 by Bill Russell and Mike Slatter – Kid Thomas tpt, Manny Paul ten, Louis Nelson tbn, Joe James pno/voc, George Guesnon bjo, Slow Drag Pavageau sbs, Sammy Penn dms

Recorded in NO in 1944 by Bill Russell with Kid Shots tpt, George Lewis clt, Jim Robinson tbn, Lawrence Marrero bjo, Alcide “Slow Drag Pavageau sbs, Warren “Baby” Dodds dms


The American Music Records label was founded in 1944 by William Russell and featured music by New Orleans jazz musicians. I’ve never seen this label before. Just found a small group (5) of them in an antique store in Grants Pass, Oregon last weekend. Never know what you’re going to find.

from the Jazz Crusade LP JC-2005: Slow Drag’s Bunch.
Personnel: Albert Burbank [clarinet] Big Jim Robinson [trombone]
Don Ewell [piano] Creole George Guesnon [banjo] Fred Vigorito [cornet]
Slow Drag Pavageau [string bass] Big Bill Bissonnette [drums]
Recorded at Preservation Hall, New Orleans by Jazz Crusade Records.
Recording Engineer: Bill Russell. April 21, 1965


Panama. Dia-Show about the first recording session of the New Orleans Revival in 1942. Recorded by Bill Russell. Bunk Johnson tp, Big Jim Robinson tb, George Lewis cl, Walter Decou p, Lawrence Marrero bj, Austin Young b, Ernest Rogers d

A Doc Souchon / Bill Russell production recorded in N.O. in 1956 a composition by Wiggs – Johnny Wiggs cnt, Emile Christian tbn, Ray Burke clt, Armand Hug pno, Edmond Souchon g,bjo, Sherwood Mangiapane bs, Santo Pecoraro dms.

This 1945 recording was made by Bill Russell a week before the version recorded a week later at George Lewis’ home (also posted). This could be the first ever recording of Eh La Bas. Wooden Joe tpt, Albert Burbank clt and vocal, Jim Robinson tbn, Lawrence Marrero bjo, Austin Young sbs, Josiah (Cie) Frazier dms.


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