Russell Zimmer is a musician and educator based in Silicon Valley, California. Due to his music versatility, he has become a successful and in demand trumpet player in the SF Bay Area. He teaching style combines the varies approaches he's studied including Claude Gordon, Bill Adams, and Greg Spence.
Born and raised in San Jose, CA, Russell began playing the trumpet at age 12 and has since performed in numerous venues around the country. His middle school band director instilled the passion and dedication needed to become a proficient musician. He was a part of the Live Oak Emerald regime marching band for three years where he did a two-week tour in Europe. Upon graduating high school, Russell attended West Valley Community College where he first discovered jazz music . He could go on to study classical performance and jazz studies at San Jose State University. While there, he studied trumpet with baroque specialist Dr. Kathryn Adduci and jazz educators Frank Sumares, Joe Hodge, John Shifilet, Dr. Aaron Lington, Jeff Lewis, and Doug Ellington. It was at SJSU that Russell won the 2008 concerto competition and performed the Arutunian Trumpet Concerto with the SJSU Symphony Orchestra.
After completing his BM, he attended the Jamey Aebersold school of music on a full scholarship as a graduate teaching assistant. While studying at the University of Louisville, he studied with Dr. Ansyn Banks, Mike Tracy, Dr. Michael Tunnell, and Jamey Aebersold. He also studied jazz arranging, composition and film scoring with John La Barbera. Russell was a member of the Kentucky Intercollegiate Jazz Ensemble where he shared the stage with Wycliffe Gordon at the 2010 KMEA conference.
He then moved to Long Beach, California where he was an active performer and educator. Notable performances include the John Stephen's All Star big band with Barbara Morrison at the Catalina Bar & Grill. He also recorded for short films and upcoming RnB and Hip-hop artists The Black Noise and Swish. While working in the Los Angeles area, Russell regularly studied with Matt Fronke (who's credits span from Celine Dion's Vegas show to Justin Timberlake's "20/20" album) and Dan Fornero from the Gordon Goodwin Big Phat band.
After freelancing for two years in the Los Angeles area, Russell was accepted into the doctoral program at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln as a graduate teaching assistant. At Nebraska, he studied with Dr. Darryl White, Dr. Hans Sturm, Dr. Paul Haar, and Dr. Eric Richards. He was the lead trumpet player of the UNL Jazz Orchestra for his three years in the program. As a graduate assistant, Russell taught applied jazz trumpet, directed UNL jazz combos and brass quintets, assistant-directed the UNL big band, and regularly guest lectured Rock History and Jazz History classes. His dissertation, A Study of the Improvisational Style of Theodore “Fats” Navarro, 1949-1950 analyzed newly released live recordings of Fats Navarro and will be the basis for a forthcoming book on the bebop language based on his playing style. He presented a lecture entitled “Lessons from Fats” in the Research Room at the 2016 International Trumpet Guild in Anaheim, CA discussing research from his dissertation. He finished his Doctorate of Music Arts (DMA) in Jazz Performance and Jazz Pedagogy from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in May 2016.
Russell currently resides in San Jose, California and is a credentialed music teacher in Morgan Hill Unified School District. He can be heard playing throughout the South Bay Area in small Jazz Combos, Musical Theater productions, Salsa groups, Big Bands, and Rock/ Pop groups that perform at small intimate venues to large festival stages.
When not teaching or performing, Russell enjoys to travel the country and spend time with his wife and daughter.
Russell currently plays on:
1957 Bach Mt. Vernon Stradivarius 43 trumpet
1960 Bach Mt. Vernon Stradivarius 37 trumpet
1939 NY Bach Stradivarius 6 trumpet
1973 Bach Stradivarius C 239 trumpet
Conn Vintage One Flugelhorn
Monette, Bach, and Pickett Brass mouthpieces