Rina Kleege wrote this profile of one of the great PLG-based performers. Russ Spiegel, a two-time performer at PLG Arts Jazz at the Ink Well (408 Rogers Ave between Lefferts and Sterling streets), is a resident of the neighborhood. Like many musicians, he finds Prospect Lefferts Gardens attractive and convenient, with lots of like-minded neighbors in the arts. The Ink Well Café hosts PLG Arts Jazz at the Ink Well the second Thursday of every month (see schedule at http://www.plgarts.org)
Russ, a guitarist, grew up in southern California, moved to Germany at the age of 17, and attended college at the University of Maryland’s Munich Campus on an army base. He also studied at Oxford in England, University of Michigan, and Berkelee College of Music in Boston. Living in Paris for a while, he formed a quartet there called Guitar Hell.
Since 2001, Russ has been back in the USA, but his international interests remain strong. His latest project, Sundar Shor, means “beautiful noise” in Hindi. The group played the Ink Well in November 2007 and April 2008, and has performed in India, in Poona, Hyderabad, and at the Mumbai Festival in 2007 and 2008. Russ also has a big band project with a just-completed CD of all-original arrangements of 9 self-penned and 3 standard tunes, including 3 with vocals. He is the music instructor for the Nickelodeon children’s TV show “The Naked Brothers Band,” a mockumentary/rockumentary for the younger set. Careful watchers will also see him acting in an upcoming film with Cameron Diaz (”What Happens in Vegas”)-as well as leaving the Q train station on his way home after gigs.
Russ has regular gigs at Chez Le Chef on Lexington Ave and 28th St for Saturday brunch, Sunday brunch at Jesse’s Place in Washington Heights , and Sundays from 6-8 p.m. in Dumbo at Bar 68.
Photo: Russ Spiegel.