Virtuoso Tenor Saxophone and MSU alumnus, Benny moved to New York shortly after his college graduation, and quickly formed a jazz orchestra called the NEW YORK ASSOCIATION--a seventeen-piece ensemble that featured such noted jazz artists as trumpeters Cecil Bridgewater and Tom Harrell, saxophonist John Purcell, trombonists Steve Turre and Robin Eubanks, pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs, and drummer Mike Clark. Since then, Russell has been steadily building an impressive list of credits. Besides arranging and performing for off-Broadway shows like Beehive, he's worked with Otis Rush, Harry Belafonte, Mino Cinelu, Craig Harris, Jimmy Owens, Junior Cook, Mor Thium and a host of others. Russell can also be heard on The Cosby Show and A Different World. In 1995 Russell chaired the jazz division at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, where he also taught jazz history. In February 2005, Russell was commissioned to write a Jazz score for Zora Neale Hurston's play Cold Keener performed at Baltimore's Loyola College.
In June 2004, Russell was hired to chair the Jazz department at the Maryland Conservatory of Music. Already he has produced a successful Count Basie 100th Birthday Celebration that featured the legendary Frank Foster and Grammy award winners Antonio Hart and Mark Gross. Presently, he is signed to Arabesque Records and is working on his second release entitled Miracles which features James Spaulding, Cecil Bridgewater and many other luminaries. On April 4, 2008, Benny Russell along with a committee of concerned community activists as well as others from the clergy are having a march in Northwest Baltimore to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The march serves as a moratorium on inner city violence.