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Sonny Russo

Santo J. "Sonny" Russo (March 20, 1929 – February 23, 2013) was an American jazz trombonist.

Russo grew up in a musical family; both his father and grandfather were professional horn players. He first played piano and violin, and played with his father's group at age 15. He had a long list of associations with noted jazz musicians; he started out with Buddy Morrow in 1947, and then played with Lee Castle (1948), Sam Donahue (1949), Artie Shaw (1949–50), Art Mooney (1950), Tito Puente, Jerry Wald, Tommy Tucker, Buddy Rich, Ralph Flanagan (1951–52), the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra (1953–55), Neal Hefti (1954–55), John LaPorta (1954-1957) where Russo played Trombone Jimmy Dorsey and Tommy Dorsey (1955–56), and Maynard Ferguson (1956). Starting in the mid-1950s Russo found work in the bands of various Broadway shows. In the late 1950s and 1960s he worked with Louie Bellson (1957), Celia Cruz-Tito Puente (1966) , Machito, Bobby Hackett, Benny Goodman, and Doc Severinsen (1967). From 1969 to 1972 he was a member of The Tonight Show orchestra, and he worked with Frank Sinatra from 1967 to 1988. He also played on Urbie Green's 21 Trombones and solos on many others including Maynard Ferguson, Sauter Finnegan, Artie Shaw, Neil Hefti, and the World's Greatest Jazz Band in the 1970s. While touring with The World's Greatest Jazz Band Russo was invited to the White House to play for President Gerald Ford and First Lady Betty Ford.

He played again on an RCA Victor 1970-1979 various artists set.

Russo recorded extensively with singers; in addition to Frank Sinatra he played behind Jimmy Rushing, Tony Bennett, Lena Horne, Perry Como, Dinah Washington, Liza Minnelli, Elvis Presley, Paul Anka, Ray Charles, Steve Lawrence, and Eydie Gorme. Sonny also performs on the soundtracks to the films The Godfather, The Godfather II, Goodfellas, and Sophie's Choice. In 1971 during a performance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson with Louis Armstrong as one of the guests, Russo shared the stage with Louis in which he played the solo on the tune "Someday You'll Be Sorry". Sonny was a fixture in the recording studios for radio and television. while Jerry Lewis was doing the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon in New York City, Russo was a regular in the Orchestra always in demand he later worked with Lewis while Lewis performed his one-man show in Upstate New York. While touring around the world with Frank Sinatra during their performance and filming of Concert of the Americas, Sonny played the trombone solo on the tune "I've Got You Under My Skin and Cocorvado and was announced by Sinatra during the performance. He has also done many Jazz gigs with the likes of Al Cohn, Zoot Simms, Mousey Alexander, and Milt Hinton. Sonny was a graduate from the Manhattan School of Music , where he earned his Master’s Degree .

Birth and Death Data: Born March 20, 1929 (New York City), Died February 23, 2013

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1949 - 1958

Roles Represented in DAHR: trombone

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 36 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor F2TB-8074 10-in. 11/28/1955 Everlasting love Tito Puente Orchestra Instrumental ensemble instrumentalist, trombone  
Victor F2TB-8075 10-in. 11/28/1955 Vibe cha-cha Tito Puente Orchestra Instrumental ensemble instrumentalist, trombone  
Victor F2TB-8076 10-in. 11/28/1955 Cuban nightmare Tito Puente Orchestra Instrumental ensemble instrumentalist, trombone  
Victor F2TB-8077 10-in. 11/28/1955 Mambo buda Tito Puente Orchestra Instrumental ensemble instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 75639 12/30/1949 Orinoco Artie Shaw Orchestra instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 75640 12/30/1949 Mucha de nada Artie Shaw Orchestra instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 75641 1/3/1950 Love is the sweetest thing-1 Artie Shaw Orchestra instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 75642 1/3/1950 I get a kick out of you-2 Artie Shaw Orchestra instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 75679 1/6/1950 Love walked in-1 Artie Shaw Orchestra instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 75680 1/6/1950 So easy-2 Artie Shaw Orchestra instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 76079 4/4/1950 He's gone away Artie Shaw Orchestra instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 76080 4/4/1950 Foggy foggy dew Artie Shaw Orchestra instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 76081 4/4/1950 The Continental Artie Shaw Orchestra instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 76082 4/4/1950 I'll remember April Artie Shaw Orchestra instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 82694 4/17/1952 You're the cream in my coffee Jerry Wald Orchestra instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 82695 4/17/1952 The thrill is gone Jerry Wald Orchestra instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 82696 4/17/1952 Cherokee (Indian love song) Jerry Wald Orchestra instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 82697 4/17/1952 Pennies from heaven Jerry Wald Orchestra instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 82698 4/17/1952 Raisins and almonds Jerry Wald Orchestra instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 82699 4/17/1952 Terremoto Jerry Wald Orchestra instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 100871 10/3/1956 S' posin' Larry Sonn Orchestra instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 100872 10/3/1956 Why don't you do right-1 Larry Sonn Orchestra instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 100873 10/3/1956 King Porter stomp-1 Larry Sonn Orchestra instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 100874 10/3/1956 After you've gone-1 Larry Sonn Orchestra instrumentalist, trombone  
Decca 100875 10/3/1956 I'll buy that dream-1 Larry Sonn Orchestra instrumentalist, trombone  
(Results 1-25 of 36 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Russo, Sonny," accessed April 22, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/341634.

Russo, Sonny. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved April 22, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/341634.

"Russo, Sonny." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 22 April 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/341634

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