About Mr R
As a native of San Francisco MrR, keyboardist and composer Russ Smith, had the opportunity of growing up in a city of storied musical cultural that offered almost every genre possible and a place where music reigns.
Beginning his musical career as a woodwind player, Russ then studied piano under classical pianist and Music Lecturer Loraine Meredith, followed by some time studying with jazz keyboardist Tom Coster, and learning music theory; composition and "everything jazz" from trumpeter and now Stanford Lecturer Fred Berry, the foundation for Russ' musical journey had begun.
That journey has traversed many musical styles with many Bay Area bands. From hard rockin’ with Miles Long ("Fasten Your Seat Belts") to the Rock/Latin/Jazz fusion of Bristlecone ("Babylon") to laying down the funk with Joey T and the boys from Papa Groove ("Dance Your Ass Off") and early on playing "Suavecito" every night for a year with the Bean brothers of Sapo and Malo notoriety, "…it’s been an adventure to say the least." - MrR
More at home in his studio in Tucson these days with an unlimited palette to create what only the imagination can limit, MrR has put his experiences and creativity to work recording the tracks on his two CD releases, "Sonoran Sunset" and "Always Blue". As Russ said, "…this is just the beginning; in fact with Sonoran Sunset I was just auditioning the band! There is plenty more to come and I hope you join me along the way."
As an extension of the first album concept, MrR’s second release in 2013 Always Blue adds vocals as a new dimension on five of the nine tracks and with a slight departure, he adds a new young talent as a bonus. Jordon Annika Smith is singing backing vocals on three tunes along with MrR singing lead. As one critic stated by using an old adage "…her voice is as pure as the driven snow, after listening to "Better Than That", I wanted more, I wanted to hear more of her, write her a song..." And that he will do!
The songs on Always Blue delve into a more contemporary "adult album alternative" genre, combining; blues ("Always Blue"), R&B/Rock ("Better than That" & "I Wanna Thank You"), Latin ("Pura Vida" & "Por Paco"), with the Jazz/Acid Jazz jams that were present on the first release Sonoran Sunset.
Some interesting original artwork by a long-time artist friend, Joan E. Lewis, wraps it all up into a nice package and makes Always Blue something to add to everyone’s CD or Digital collection.