Russ Kassoff is an accomplished jazz pianist, conductor, composer, orchestrator, and arranger, whose varied talents are much valued and on display in the music world. Russ toured as pianist to Frank Sinatra by request from ’80-’91 including “The Ultimate Event Tour” (’88-’89) featuring Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, and Liza Minnelli with whom he toured for 18 years (’82-’01). On Broadway he was MD/Conductor for Twyla Tharp’s “Come Fly Away” (2010) and was conductor/pianist for Charles Aznavour in concert (’98). Currently he serves as music director to Rita Moreno. In 2012 Russ was music director for a touching gala event for the Pasadena Symphony & Pops in tribute to and in memory of Marvin Hamlisch. For all of its 12 years Russ has served as music coordinator featuring his trio for the JazzPA summer fun JazzFest featuring a guest luminary of the jazz world each year. In 2007 Russ appeared as a featured guest on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz on NPR as a result of the release of his critically acclaimed CD “SOMEWHERE”. In addition to being music director of numerous projects, he has accompanied Frank Sinatra, Liza Minnelli, Rita Moreno, Charles Aznavour, Perry Como, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Vic Damone, Carly Simon, Debbie Gravitte and Luciano Pavarotti in a lifetime career of spectacular concerts, to name a few. In the jazz world he has enjoyed a 30+ year association with Bucky Pizzarelli and has recorded with the likes of Red Norvo, Chris Connor, Mimi Hines, Carly Simon, Rod Stewart and Sylvia Syms. He currently can be heard several times a year at the Knickerbocker in NYC with various personnel and leads his own Big Band – The RKBB – in concert annually at the John Birks Gillespie auditorium in the Bahai Center, and at Midday Jazz at Saint Peters in the Citicorp Center – all in NYC. His CD “BIRD FLY BY” was in the top 10 for 52 weeks and achieved #1 status in 2010 on the Jazz channel of Music Choice.
Russ hosts “The Jazz Deli” – streaming on WFDU.FM click “listen to HD2” live each Saturday morning from 10AM-noon featuring recordings associated with his illustrious career!
In the words of the Chairman of the Board, “You are the best.” – Frank Sinatra, ’87.
Catherine Dupuis brings an expressive warmth to her singing, as well as a skilled ability to communicate the emotional content of a lyric. While at Indiana University (BS ’79), Catherine performed with the Singing Hoosiers under the direction of Robert Stoll and studied the Great American Songbook with Miss Eileen Farrell. Catherine worked her way through an M.F.A. in Acting and Movement from Penn State University (’85) by doing local voice-overs, jingles and backup recording work in central Pennsylvania studios and teaching acting and private voice in addition to year-round roles with Penn State’s professional acting company.
She has appeared to critical acclaim at many popular New York City venues including the Kitano, Iridium and Smoke. From Cole Porter to Sting, Catherine possesses an eclectic taste in musical material and sings regularly with the Russ Kassoff Big Band. Her latest CD, Rules of the Road, conducted and arranged by Mr. Kassoff; features Bucky Pizzarelli, Ted Nash, Martin Wind, Marvin Stamm and Roger Squitero among others. She proudly claims Mark Murphy and Sheila Jordan as her mentors. Scott Yanow (All Music Guide) writes: “One of the most interesting jazz singers of the early 21st century.” Locally, her recordings can be heard on WBGO’s Singer’s Unlimited with Michael Bourne.
Catherine founded and runs JazzPA together with its annual Summer Jazz Celebration in central Pennsylvania as a way to thank her hometown community, now in its 12th year. Past guest artists include Phil Woods, Sheila Jordan, Wycliffe Gordon and Warren Vaché.