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MUSIC - Russ Hewitt - Guitarist, songwriter

REVIEWS  -   INTERVIEWS  -   PRESS  -   VIDEOS


Russ has been playing guitar since he was eleven. He said he used to do whatever his older brother would do, so when his brother began playing guitar, he picked it up as well. When he was 14, his brother gave up playing and sold him his equipment, and it was at that point he seriously pursued his love of music.

Russ said he spent his "formative years learning rock and heavy metal through guitar tabs, videos" and anything he could "get his hands on." A lot of his favorite rock players from that time were also into classical guitar, which introduced him to the style. This eventually lead him to pursue and receive a degree in Classical Performance from the University of North Texas.

Russ played, toured and recorded with various bands over the years performing original music and "trying to get labels interested enough to sign us." He said he parted with his last Rock band and in a meeting with his Producer Bob Parr, decided to record a CD which highlighted his "Nuevo Flamenco" guitar style. This eventually gave birth to Russ' debut CD "Bajo el Sol" (Under the Sun).

Russ explains his style of play is "not true flamenco, jazz, Latin jazz, Cuban or Brazilian, but a fusion of styles, sometimes combined together simultaneously, and I do that without worrying about what particular rules go with each style." Russ says there is a "Latin/rumba base" to all his songs but each is unique in its own way. He said he wanted to "take what Ottmar Liebert started and expand on it." He saw an opportunity to get play-time for his music with Smooth Jazz Radio embracing "several artists in my style, such as Jesse Cook, Acoustic Alchemy, Lawson Rollins and, of course, Ottmar."

REVIEWS:

Cielo Nocturno (2016)

"Local Texan rumba flamenco guitarist Russ Hewitt impressed us with his recording debut Bajo El Sol eight years ago and has been patience and particular with his steps since. Waiting three years to record his equally strong follow up Alma Vieja Hewitt avoided the sophomore slump and now it has been over 5 years for him to finally release his latest recording Cielo Nocturno. Keeping a creative streak is a difficult task for even the best of musicians and streaks are made to be broken. Clearly this is the case with Cielo Nocturno which is not of equal strength of his prior recordings but frankly exceeds all expectations from this artist that grows in his compositional capabilities."

Alma Vieja (2012)

"‘Alma Vieja’ is the latest CD from guitar virtuoso Russ Hewitt and is replete with the rumba flamenco rhythms and lightning guitar runs that have become trademarks of his distinctive style. The project also includes a stellar line up of backing musicians including former Miami Sound Machine percussionist Raphael Padilla and drummer Walfredo Reyes Jr who in his time has played with both Santana and Ricky Martin. They are joined by bass player Bob Parr and exciting flamenco guitar prodigy Alfredo Caceres while other significant contributions come from contemporary jazz saxophonist Michael Lington and Grammy award-winning violinist Charlie Bisharat who has graced the stage with heavyweights such as The Rolling Stones Yanni and Aerosmith."

Bajo El Sol (2008)

"In many ways, I’m starting over," Hewitt explains. “New band, new music, a different way to approach music and a different target audience." His decision to go by his middle name is a reflection of this shift. "I’m ‘shedding old skin,’ if you will," he affirms.His latest release, Bajo El Sol, is a bright, fluid soft jazz with heavy overtones of the traditional Spanish style of flamenco. “Ironically enough, I’m not a flamenco player at all,” explains Hewitt, “not in the traditional sense like Paco De Lucia or Sabicus.” This style is called ‘nuevo flamenco,’ which Hewitt explains, “takes the ‘rumba’ style of flamenco, puts it into song form (intro/verse/chorus/solo, etc) and then adds melody over it."

INTERVIEWS:

Zzag Productions, Issue #118

"One of the things I enjoy most about doing this magazine is the opportunities I have to “get acquainted" with the artists I review .... when I first started this effort, it was mostly through promoters, but once the INIERNET started kickin' up it’s heels, I often was able to get in touch with the artist direct... in Russ’s case, I think I first encountered his music on REVERBNAIION {'or another OMD)". I reviewed a CD from him several issues back, & it just kind of went from there. Anyway, here’s a really nice/insightful INTERVIEW with him... YOUR chance to get to know this vibrant young artist better — ENJOY!”  ~ Zzag Productions (pdf)


The Sound Interview

~ The Sound Interview (pdf)


MUSIC WEB EXPRESS 3000

"'Based in Dallas Texas, fretboard master Russ Hewitt continues refining his unique blend of acoustic—based Nuevo Flamenco and Gypsy Jazz guitar instrumentals. Sounding equally inspired by vintage flamenco, classical guitar and rhumba flamenco with a touch of glowing Santana inspired guitar moves, Hewitt clearly has the chops and, while his sound is impeccable, it's also worth noting that on the 2011 CD release of Alma Vieja (Old Soul), Hewitt is also about emotion and feel. The notes just fiow off of Hewitt's nylon string guitars and the melodies are memorable too. On the Alma Vieja album, Russ reunites once again with producer Bob Parr, and several of the key players who were also featured on the 2009 CD release of Bajo el SoI — inc|uding Steve Winwood dmmmer Walfredn Reyes Jr. and percussionist Rafael Padilla. Where Hewitt dazzles with his usual deft fiamenco jazz sound, on track 8 here, "Las Cruces”, Hewitt also displays a rare compositional knack for composing songs that could very well tum out to be instrumental standards—for fusion, flamenco, jazz and beyond. Texas has turned out some of the great American rock and blues guitar pioneers of all time, and the American Nuevo Flamenco Jazz sound gets a solid boost with the timeless fiamenco guitar groove of Alma Vieja.”  ~ MUSIC WEB EXPRESS 3000 (pdf)

PRESS QUOTES:

SMOOTHMIX.COM:

"Russ Hewitt mixes it up with a unique blend of neuvo flamenco, Latin and jazz styles that is flowing with passion and grace. The result is fresh, fluid, and captivating. Truly a master of the guitar, Russ Hewitt's music is not to be missed."
(Gerry Regensburg, smoothmix.com radio)

KYTE-FM

"Russ Hewitts blend of Nuevo Flamenco and funky Latin beats is enough to make even the most conservative of people 'run' to the dance floor, yet at the same time perfect for smooth, easy listening. It's the best of both worlds, and I am waiting impatiently for the next offering from Russ Hewitt."
(Tyler Romero, Music Director KYTE-FM)

WFSS 91.9FM NPR:

"Russ Hewitt stirs listeners musically with his strong Latin and jazz sensibilities with every track from Bajo el Sol. He's got some serious hooks. Wow! Russ Hewitt's is a wonderful entry where he brings the world's music together. Muchimos Gracias!"
(Dionne Maldonado, the Jazz Lady WFSS, 91.9FM NPR News)

VIDEOS:

Russ Hewitt 'Gabriela mi Corazon' live at Wynn Chapel


Russ Hewitt "Palma De Mallorca" from DVD concert


Russ Hewitt "Lydia" ***LIVE***