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Terese Genecco Live!: Blog

My friend and music legend Russ Garcia dies at 95 and a 1/2

Posted on November 22, 2011 with 0 comments

Terese onstage w/ Russ Garcia in New Zealand

Me (Terese Genecco) on stage in Kerikeri, New Zealand with Russell Garcia and his four trombone band, April 2011.  Russell was explaining to the audience that my hair style is created by sticking my finger in an electrical outlet!

This doesn't need to be a long blog entry.  Everyone who knows me knows my love for Russ Garcia and all of the reasons why.  I just want everyone to know how much I learned from this gentle man and how much I loved him from the minute we met for blueberry pie and coffee at Dupars Diner in Studio City, CA in 2006.  I was so fortunate to have been able to work with him, travel with him, live with him, have coffee with him, and make music with him.  Our 95th birthday tribute concerts in New Zealand with Russ on stage conducting the band and telling stories were amazing.  Unfortunately, he was too sick to travel to the USA to meet us for our scheduled birthday shows in LA, Oakland, and NYC but Shaynee Rainbolt, the mastermind of the whole year, put together a computer, a big screen, the internet, and a projector and beamed Russ and Gina into the two shows we were able to continue with in Oakland and NYC.  Thanks to Yoshi's Jazz Club in Oakland and The Iridium in NYC for helping to make both of those shows a reality.

Russell got in the best line of the night at The Iridium after Billy Stritch and I debuted the Russ Garcia-inspired arrangement (done by the amazing Tom Hubbard) of "Bess, You Is My Woman Now" from Russell's Bethlehem Records sessions of Porgy & Bess with Mel Torme (Billy's musical idol) and Frances Faye (my musical idol.)  After the killer arrangement and performance, Russ leaned into his computer and said, "Bethlehem Records came to me and said that they wanted to do a recording of Porgy And Bess using Mel Torme and Frances Faye.  Now, Frances was built like a truck driver and Mel was, shall we say, vertically handicapped?  So I said to them, 'Which one is Porgy?'"  The place cracked up.  I've got the video and I'm going to edit that story and pop it up onto YouTube.  It's one of my all time favorite memories of the performer part of Russ.

Here's my favorite memory of the friend part of Russ... Just hanging at his dining room table having coffee and talking about music, politics, love, life, religion, and whatever else came up.  He was a deeply thoughtful, spiritual man and a musical genius.  I am not the only person on this planet who is going to miss him but I am one of people on this planet who will miss him the most.

Terese, Russ, and Shaynee in Russ' home in Kerikeri, NZ

Me (Terese Genecco) with Russ Garcia and Shaynee Rainbolt having coffee and shooting the shit.