Russell was born in Liverpool in 1964. He was educated at Merchant Taylors school and Trinity College, Cambridge. He spent seven years as MD/pianist for Julian Clary, touring extensively in Britain and overseas, and appearing in two series of ‘Sticky Moments’ for Channel 4. He then worked as MD/co-deviser with Barb Jungr on the music theatre shows ‘Songs From the Heart’ and ‘Killing Me Softly’ among others, and co-wrote with her the songs for a new musical, ‘The Ballad of Norah’s Ark’. He composed original scores for various films including ‘Return Trip’ and the Bafta-nominated ‘The Alcohol Years’ (both Channel 4), and most recently for ‘One Minute Past Midnight’, released in 2004. His later work as MD/performer included ‘Portraits in Song’ with Elizabeth Mansfield (Drill Hall and tour), ‘Darkness and Disgrace’ with Des de Moor (Pentameters Theatre), ‘Barb, Bob and Brel’ with Barb Jungr (Jermyn Street Theatre and tour), ‘The Lonely Fate of the Femme Fatale’ with Sandra Lawrence (Soho Theatre and Rosemary Branch Theatre), ‘Big Night Out, at the little palace theatre’ (Palace Theatre Watford), ‘Chanson: the Space in Between’ with Barb Jungr (Pleasance Edinburgh, tour and album), ‘Cabaret Whores’ with Howard Samuels (Edinburgh Fringe and Pleasance London), and ‘Straker Sings Brel’ with Peter Straker (Pleasance Edinburgh).
Russell worked on and off with Dillie Keane from 1995, came to Berlin with her solo show Back With You and was an essential part of that work all along. His involvement in Fascinating Aïda itself grew and grew. He features in the albums ‘Back With You’ and ‘One Last Flutter’.
Tragically, Russell was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the end of 2005, and died on 27th February 2007. He is still deeply and dreadfully missed by everyone who ever worked with him. His contribution to Fascinating Aïda’s work was both subtle and brilliant, and he had just started writing songs with Dillie. Funny, deadpan, clever, modest, moral, well-read, loyal, honest to a fault: he was that rare creature - a supremely talented artiste and an outstandingly nice man.