John started playing guitar at the age of thirteen. After exploring many different musical styles he immersed himself in the study of Jazz guitar.
John has performed with some of South Africa's finest jazz musicians such as Basil Moses, Willie van Zyl, Errol Dyers, Alvin Dyers, Abigail Peterson, Lionel Beukes, Nick le Roux, Kevin Gibson, Charles Lazar, Darryl Andrews, Bram Potgieter, Dan Shout, Haydn Gardner, Kyle Shepherd, Benjamin Jephta, Wouter Loots, Darren English and the Cape Town Jazz Orchestra.
John’s influences include guitarists Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Alvin Dyers, Johnny Fourie, Errol Dyers, Grant Green, Charlie Christian, Emily Remler, Tal Farlow, Pat Martino and George Benson.
He is also influenced by Charlie Parker, Clifford Brown, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Dexter Gordon, Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Winston Mankunku, Frank Sinatra, among others.
Venues that John has performed at include The Crypt, Moyo, The Green Dolphin, The Lanzerac, Table Bay Hotel, Cape Grace Hotel, The Cullinan, The Rotunda, Allee Bleue, Erinvale Estate, Diemersfontein Estate, The Radisson, The Mount Nelson, Atlantic Beach Golf Estate, Die Meul, Strandkombuis, D’Aria, Val de Vie, Morgenhof Estate, Nooitgedacht Estate, Blaauwklippen Vineyard, Langverwacht, Catherina’s, Grand Dedale, Meerendal, Brenaisance, The Roundhouse, Glencarlou, Pure Restaurant, Monchique, Grand Provence, Warwick Estate, Blauwklippen, Jordan Wine Estate, Stonewall and others.
THE JAZZ DUO
One of the Western Cape’s most popular ensembles for wedding music in Cape Town, the duo features well known musicians Willie van Zyl on saxophones and clarinet and John Russell on acoustic guitar. If the usual members are unavailable, John performs with well-known alternative saxophonists such as Len Richey and Dan Shout.
The duo performs entertaining background music suitable for corporate functions, wedding ceremonies, pre-dinner drinks and dining.
From light classic jazz to popular favourites, the duo has the appropriate repertoire for any occasion and are happy to perform requests.
Should you be after a fuller sound for your event, the duo can expand by adding musicians.
Jazz Trio- Saxophone with guitar and bass
Jazz Quartet- Saxophone or vocals with guitar, bass and drums.
Jazz Quintet- Vocals, saxophone, guitar, bass and drums.
Jazz Sextet – Trumpet, 2x saxophones, guitar, bass, drums
The duo is happy to perform special requests given prior notice.
"Thank you again for the wonderful atmosphere you created at the wedding. Your music was fantastic, and our guests were blown away." - Carmen Kemp
“Firstly, I want to say a BIG thank you to you for playing at my wedding, you really really played such a big part in making my big day a success. Thank you so much John. My guests were so impressed with you duo, have had many requests for you details for future events and I will recommend you any day.” - Kelly Fortune
"They played an integral part in putting Signal Restaurant on the map in terms of providing appropriate live entertainment of a high calibre. They are a versatile and disciplined group who created a wonderful atmosphere in the restaurant, which was hugely appreciated by both guests and staff alike." - Ainsley Williams, Food and Beverage Manager at Cape Grace Hotel