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James Bond, Mission: Impossible and The Best of the Rest - covering spy movies from 1935 to the present - uncovering unique elements, interconnections and how real world events impact what goes into spy movies and lots more.

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May 14, 2024

John Morris Russell Talks Shaken Not Stirred

Dan and Tom interview Maestro John Morris Russell (JMR) about his Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert, “Shaken Not Stirred,” musical scores, and James Bond music.  As you might have guessed, the concert’s focus is the music of James Bond.   You may know JMR from his work as the conductor of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra for the past 13 years. 

Joining JMR in the concert is the amazing vocalist Capathia Jenkins. She possesses the wide vocal range needed to cover the various styles of singers from the James Bond catalog.

We will be attending the concert and we’re sure James Bond fans will enjoy this one.  

In this episode, JMR talks about what to expect in this concert and how they put it together.  He also talks about his career, why he decided to conduct instead of play an instrument, some influential composers, and film scoring in general.  If you’ve ever wanted to know what a composer has to deal with in scoring a movie, JMR gives you a good idea.  It is really amazing how they do it.

One other area we discuss is how technology has made composition more efficient.  Much is the same as it's been for hundreds of years.  But, some of it is streamlined today.

Raymond Benson with an assist

Dan and Tom wanted some expertise for this interview, so they asked Raymond Benson for an assist.  Of course, Raymond graciously agreed. Raymond helped us delve into other composers' works and JMR’s experiences with them.  Plus, Raymond tells of a very scary experience he had with composer John Barry.

What do you think?

So, we’re excited to be going to this concert and see John Morris Russell put what he told us into action.  We think this will be a good one.  Do you have plans to go to this concert?   If so, let us know your thoughts, ideas for future episodes, and what you thought of this episode by dropping us a note at  The more we hear from you, the better the show will be!  We’ll give you a shout-out in a future episode!

You can check out all of our CRACKING THE CODE OF SPY MOVIES podcast episodes on your favorite podcast app or our website. Check out our YouTube channel as well.


Credit: John Morris Russell pictures courtesy of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.