Archives for Bill Russell

Audio Recordings

1943 Wagner Family Recordings

Ben Wagner recently found some 78-RPM 8-inch records in his late father Arnold’s collection. On them are the voices of our ancestors - my great grandparents William C. Wagner and wife Lilly Giegerich, along with their son William F and Lilly's aunt Tillie Eckert Henry. The recordings were made on Saturday, June 5, 1943, during a trip home by William and Arnold to visit their parents in Canton, Missouri. Other recordings are of the brothers…
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Bill Russell

Bill Russell, Cosimo Matassa, and the Musical Culture of the French Quarter

February 03, 2016 Robert Ticknor, reference assistant, The Historic New Orleans Collection ... Russell, born in 1905 in Canton, Missouri, became an indefatigable jazz-record collector after he found a Jelly Roll Morton record that one of his students had left in the classroom at the school on Staten Island where he was a teacher. His work for the Jazzmen book brought him into contact with Bunk Johnson, an old trumpet player who had fallen on…
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Bill Russell and the Discovery of Jazz

Leading A Revival  12/28/2018   Jason Berry photograph courtesy of Preservation Hall An eccentric man of many talents, William Russell was a catalytic presence in the rise of early jazz. Born in 1905 in Canton, Ohio, the classically trained violinist got hip to the groove in 1928 while teaching in New York. Like most seminal jazz producers, he began as an addictive record-collector scouring stores for rare discs, even going house to house in a black…
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Bill Russell’s Explorations Of The Origins Of Jazz

Published in Offbeat Magazine MARCH 1, 1996by: JASON BERRY1 COMMENT 1 When The Outspoken Jazz Documentarian Died, Much History Died With Him. But He Left Behind Enough To Keep Historian Arguing For A Very Long Time. Editor’s Note: This is the second installment of Jason Berry’s continuing series on the history of traditional jazz, to mark what is roughly the hundred-year anniversary of the emergence of jazz as an idiom. Berry’s work has appeared in many…
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Bill Russell

Bill Russell and Noel Rockmore

Bill Russell was one of Rockmore's favorite subjects from the early 60s until Bill's death in 1992. He was also a friend, mentor, musical companion and fellow documenter of the French Quarter. Bill Russell was always game for an adventure and this time it is with his friend Noel Rockmore to The Melrose Plantation. Rockmore, who was not always up for an adventure outside the French Quarter, would do several sketches at Melrose Plantation. He puts…
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Bill Russell

Bill Russell

Born Russell William Wagner in 1905, William (Bill) Russell was a violinist; an avant-garde composer deeply interested in percussion; accompanist to a touring puppet troupe; a meticulous musical-instrument repairman; a jazz-record producer; an archivist; a writer; and, above all, a New Orleans jazz collector of extraordinary breadth. More than anything else, he simply loved classic New Orleans-style jazz, which he called the “best music I’d ever heard.” He sought out obscure, old-time jazz players and…
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Noel Rockmore Interviewed by Bill Russell about his art

Following is an interview between “R - Bill Russell” and “N - Noel Rockmore”, from 1973 R - Bill Russell) One thing here Larry wanted you to discuss pop art.  You’ve probably covered that as much as you want to, the contrast with your own work and all. N - Noel Rockmore) I think it’s a complete bore and to be forced to take it seriously as an art movement because of the accreditation given…
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