Russ majored in music at the University of Maine, and served in the United States Navy Band. He has performed with notable musicians including drummer Ed Shaughnessy, trombonist Bill Watrous, singer Herb Jeffries, and local jazz artist Dave Scott. Russ has played under the direction of Sammy Nestico, Tad Calcara, Jimmy Cheatham, and Anthony Mostardo.
His theater credits include Lamb’s Players Theater, San Diego Youth Theater, Christian Community Theater, Moonlight Amphitheater, Mira Costa College, Carlsbad Community Theater, and Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center. Russ has performed with a number of local bands, including RJ Big Band, The Big Band & Jazz Hall of Fame, Crown Island Dixieland Jazz Band, High Flyers Bid Band, Notables Big Band, Millennium Big Band, Coronado Big Band, Rancho Santa Fe Big Band, North Coast Symphony, Tim Gill Orchestra, and San Diego Concert Band. He has made studio recordings with High Flyers Big Band, Millennium Big Band, and Old Globe Theater.