Turner, 22. "You just get a phone call, and you show up and play.
It's difficult [to have your own band] because you have to have a
job. Once you find a job, you have to keep it."
The Turner Trio, which features Turner on bass, Derek Yellen on
piano and either Art Sinanyan or Whit Clements on drums, has found a
home at Barru, Suarez's bar. The bar opened last month in Montrose on
In the bar's first month of business, the Turner Trio has already
turned customers into regulars, and it draws as many as 140 people on
Friday and Saturday nights.
"What they play here fits with this bar, completely and totally,"
said Tom Landers, Barru's chef. "It's absolutely perfect. We've got
pictures of John Coltrane and Frank Sinatra. The way the bar is set
up like a New York-style martini lounge, it fits the mood perfectly."
Turner picked up a bass at 15 after hearing bass player Charles
Mingus for the first time. He went to Pasadena Community College and
enrolled in the music program, and has moved around the L.A. music
scene for the past four years, playing as a sideman at places like
the World's Stage in Los Angeles.
He met Yellen, Sinanyan and Clements at various clubs and shows,
and put together the trio to play at Barru.
When the bar first opened, the Turner Trio played on weekends.
Their bebop jazz was such a hit that Suarez hired them to play six
nights a week, Tuesday through Sunday. The bar is closed on Mondays.
At Barru, Turner is making enough money that he was able to quit
his day job doing labor and landscaping.
"They're kids, that's what's weird," said John Drayman, a board
member for the Montrose Shopping Park Assn. "I follow jazz all over
the county, and I tell you, I've never heard anything like that.
Russ' reputation within Los Angeles is that he's one of best
bassists in the county."
Drayman first saw the trio as a jazz fan, but he quickly saw the
band's potential to spice up business on Honolulu Avenue. Drayman
hired the trio to play on Honolulu on Friday nights, when merchants
have extended hours until 8 p.m.
"My joke with Chris is, enjoy them while you've got them," Drayman
said. "As soon as a few people hear them, they're going to have