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Vocal Jazz - Released February 2, 2014 | Jazz Village

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Vocal Jazz - Released February 14, 2012 | world village

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Vocalist Catherine Russell's fourth studio album, 2013's Strictly Romancin', is a swinging and bluesy collection of standards perfect for laid-back evening of romance or relaxation. Here, Russell frames her sultry, resonant voice with both small and large ensembles that dig into a variety of vintage-sounding arrangements. This is jazz and blues steeped in the kind of classic swing of artists like Bessie Smith, Dinah Washington, and others. Included are such songs as "I'm in the Mood for Love," "Ev'ntide," "Everbody Loves My Baby." ~ Matt Collar
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Miscellaneous - Released April 13, 2010 | world village

Catherine Russell's third album is definitely a throwback to vintage jazz, and honors her father Luis Russell, a premier big-band leader and music director for Louis Armstrong. It's a collection of old-time swing, slinky do-right blues, and reflective music that shows how much she's steeped in the tradition of classic African-American music. Considerable help is utilized from backup musicians like pianist Mark Shane, Matt Munisteri on guitar or banjo, and a horn section with trumpeter Jon-Erik Kellso, trombonist John Allred, and veteran tuba master Howard Johnson on select tracks. Russell's light yet strong voice is clear as a bell, her pleasant singing tinged with a bit of sly knowledge and a hint of bluesy regret. Vintage material suits her persona quite well as on the old-timey J.C. Johnson/Fats Waller-penned title track taking sweetness out of gloom, the downhearted "Troubled Waters," or the low-down "Spoonful"; Armstrong's cakewalkin' "Struttin' with Some Barbeque"; and the great jump blues tune "Quiet Whiskey" from Wynonie Harris. Then there's "We the People," a declaration of freedom that works well in the contemporary Obama era, and a wary cautionary tale, "Just Because You Can," telling those who flaunt their power or persona to be careful about what you wish for. Every track provides delight and surprise, as all great jazz should, while Russell's blues side keeps not only the swinging in check, but assures you the singer has led this life of ups and downs to the hilt. It's an extraordinary recording, and highly recommended for a wide audience. ~ Michael G. Nastos
$10.49
Cat

Miscellaneous - Released January 11, 2006 | world village

The world is never short of new jazz/blues singers, but with Cat, Catherine Russell stands out from the crowd. The child of very musical parents, she's inherited their genes, but added her individuality, which can move from the pop-blues of Sam Cooke's "You Were Made for Me" (one of two Cooke songs here, both with real identity) to the New Orleans style of "Juneteenth Jamboree." Interesting touches in the arrangements help the album, too, such as the mandolin on "Sad Lover Blues" (it features elsewhere, too) or the pedal steel that colors "The Late, Late Show." Russell isn't a belter. She prefers to shade her material and does it well. There are a few surprising choices, the most obvious being "New Speedway Boogie," the cover of a Grateful Dead song that more or less works (they were so idiosyncratic that anything written specifically for them seems a little misplaced done by anyone else), but it's a joy to hear someone singing outside the usual box of standards. Whether she'll become a major star remains in the lap of the gods. But she's definitely one of the more adventurous -- and friendly -- singers mining the seam of jazz-blues. ~ Chris Nickson
$10.49

Miscellaneous - Released February 8, 2008 | world village

Ignoring both the smooth school of jazz vocals and the soft croon of Norah Jones, Catherine Russell digs deep into jazz and blues traditions on Sentimental Streak. One might call her approach old-fashioned, and it is, but the mostly acoustic arrangements and her resonate lower range sound fresh on Sentimental Streak. One might be reminded of the recent Erin McKeown album, Sing You Sinners, another fresh take on classic jazz. One pitfall that Russell -- like McKeown -- avoids is treating both the old and new songs she covers as serious and sacred. In other words, she offers treatments of "Kitchen Man" and "My Old Daddy's Got a Brand New Way to Love" that are fun. These two songs, pulled from the repertoires of Bessie Smith and Alberta Hunter, also remind one how easily classic blues melds with classic jazz. Russell's vocals are underpinned by lively, mostly spare, arrangements that vary from song to song, keeping Sentimental Streak from ever settling into a predictable groove. Likewise, she mixes ballads like "South to a Warmer Place" with groovier fare like "Thrill Me." Acoustically speaking, the pianos, acoustic and electric guitars, basses, accordions, and violins have also been recorded well. With Sentimental Streak, Russell has delivered an album that is easy to like and easy to recommend. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.
$1.19

Vocal Jazz - Released February 15, 2019 | Dot Time Records

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Vocal Jazz - To be released March 1, 2019 | Dot Time Records