In 1983 Simon moved from the rural apple orchards of Sebastopol, California to the Bay area, where he learned the great art of performance and musicality from a number of local musicians who were gracious enough to bring him under their wings. One of the most influential musical figures in Simon's career was the multi-instrumentalist Rafael Grinage (bass player for Earl Fatha Hines and Odetta). He taught Simon that "no note should be wasted! Make every note count or be silent!” Those words have stayed with Simon his entire career.
As a musician Simon has had the great honor of performing with The James Brown Band, Pete Escovedo, Elvin Bishop, Kim Waters, David Grissom, Kenny Neal, Tommy Castro, Zakiya Hooker, Curtis Lawson, Beverly Stoval and many more that are truly remarkable musical phenoms yet to be discovered on a grand scale commercially. In 2012 Russell had the honor of playing for the legendary Quincy Jones for black history month.
Simon has been teaching for eight years, focusing on jazz theory and performance as well as chord costruction and sight reading.