Russ Hewitt Artist of the Month
Alma Vieja’ is the latest album from guitar virtuoso Russ Hewitt. Replete with the rumba flamenco rhythms and lightning guitar runs that have become trademarks of his distinctive style, Alma Vieja also includes a stellar line up of backing musicians. Former Miami Sound Machine percussionist Raphael Padilla and drummer Walfredo Reyes Jr (who in his time has played with both Santana and Ricky Martin) are both around to lend a hand. Joining them is bass player Bob Parr and exciting flamenco guitar prodigy Alfredo Caceres. Other significant contributions come from the Grammy Award-winning violinist Charlie Bisharat (who has graced the stage with heavyweights such as The Rolling Stones, Yanni and Aerosmith) and, perhaps most notably, contemporary jazz saxophonist Michael Lington who features on the first single released to radio, the easy grooving ‘Pacific Sunrise’. He’s made the Top 40 on the Smooth Jazz charts along with the second single ‘Samba Samba’. Hewitt’s first CD, ‘Bajo el Sol’, also gained favorable opinion rapidly, translating into prolifc air play and a ten week stay at #1 on Music Choice, the satellite-cable television smooth jazz playlist, and maintained a constant presence on the Smooth Jazz indie charts for over 16 weeks.
The first track to be released to radio (the dazzlingly Latin flavored title cut) climbed into the Top 20 with the two that followed enjoying similar success. ‘Lydia’ peaked at #15 and stormed onto the Billboard’s Top 40, while ‘El Beso’ made it onto that same Top 40 listing. In addition, ‘Bajo el Sol’ made the ballot for the 52nd Grammy Awards in the categories Best Pop Instrumental Performance, Best Pop Instrumental Album, Best Instrumental Composition, Best
Instrumental Arrangement and Best Engineered Album (in the non-classical section). ‘El Beso’ was included in the www.smoothjazznow.com Top 100 Smooth Jazz Songs of 2009 and, most significantly, from a field of 15,000 applicants. Hewitt gained an ‘Honorable Mention’ for the title song ‘Bajo el Sol’ in the Instrumental Music category at the 2009 International Songwriting Competition. Hewitt has endorsements from Godin guitars, Radial Engineering, Analysis Plus Cables, Morley Pedals, V-Picks, Voodoo Lab, BBF pedal boards and DSL effects plus a monthly column in the guitar magazine ‘The Sound’, and continues to extend his boundaries into soundtracks and commercial work.