Sunday, February 24th: Double Bill!
Walker Talks! at 2:30 pm on
“Whitman & the Poetics of Democracy”
and the Russo/Alberts Trio at 4:30 pm

Sunday, Feb. 24 – 2:30 pm:
Walker Talks! a monthly series.
Walker Brents III on “Walt Whitman & the Poetics of Democracy”

walker brentsfollowed by:

Sunday, Feb. 24 – 4:30-6:30 pm.
The Russo/Alberts Trio with Art Lewis.

which way west? Sunday concert series.
All ages welcome!
No cover charge, but your generous donations
make it possible for us to pay the musicians.

 “swing fiercely, listen closely, and invest each note with soul”
— j
azz critic Andrew Gilbert on the Russo Alberts “modus operandi”

Bop CityIn the late 1950s, pianist Don Alberts, bassist Don Russo and drummer Art Lewis all converged on the San Francisco jazz scene from various spots around the Bay Area.  They quickly made names for themselves in a vibrant milieu boasting scores of great players and centered in the “Harlem of the West” — the Fillmore District — home of Jimbo’s Bop City, the Club Flamingo, the Club Alabam, the Can-Do…

Alberts and Russo both did stints in the house bands at Bop City, and soon they joined forces with Lewis as a trio and rhythm-section-for-hire, shortly becoming the core of bari sax player Virgil Gonsalves’ quartet (a recording of that group should be available soon).

ArkIn the 1960s, keeping the jazz flame burning during the ascent of rock ‘n roll, they played frequently around town at spots like Deno & Carlo’s in North Beach and also on the “Ark”, a decomissioned ferryboat named the Charles Van Damme moored among the Sausalito houseboats at Waldo Point, where Carlos Santana, Janis Joplin, Steve Miller, David Crosby, Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix all played or passed through.

In the late 1960s, as the San Francisco jazz scene suffered the full impact of rock ‘n roll, the three scattered.  Lewis went on the road with vocalist Jon Hendricks, then settled in New York, where he played with the likes of Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Lee Konitz, Sam Rivers, and Andrew Hill and was featured on recordings by Rivers, Hill, Sonny Murray, the New York Jazz Composers Orchestra and more.  Alberts headed for two decades of jazz work in Portland, working often with singer Nancy King, bassist Leroy Vinnegar and others, while Russo went to Detroit for some serious study on his instrument, playing all the while on the deep jazz scene there, with Marcus Belgrave and other major talents.

Eventually, all three returned to the Bay Area, and for the past five years, they’ve been playing and recording again here as a unit — The Russo/Alberts Trio — with several CDs to their credit, gigs at Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz, Pier 23 on the San Francisco Embarcadero and other major venues, a long-running residency at the Hedley Jazz Club in San Jose’s Hotel De Anza, and a solid critical reception.  Don’t miss this chance to hear them on the Bird & Beckett stage.

Russo Alberts Trio