Primary Instrument: Vocal
Catherine Russell is that rarest of entities, a genuine jazz and blues singer who can sing virtually anything. Her voice is full blown femininity incarnate; a dusky, stalwart and soulful instrument that radiates interpretive power yet remains touchingly vulnerable. She launches fearlessly into each tune, getting inside the melody and capturing every emotion. Whether she's shimmying through a barrel-house stomper, channeling fifties R&B, dragging her weary heart through a torchy juke joint number, or kicking up her heels honky tonk style, Ms. Russell can stand comparison to her greatest fore bearers
Catherine Russell is a native New Yorker, born with an enviable musical pedigree. Her father, the late Luis Russell, was born in Panama and moved to New Orleans and then New York City, becoming a pioneering pianist/bandleader, and Louis Armstrong’s long-time musical director. Her mother, Carline Ray, is an outstanding bassist and vocalist and holder of advanced degrees from Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music, who has performed with Mary Lou Williams and Wynton Marsalis. Not surprisingly considering her roots, Catherine Russell is a one of a kind vocalist. She has toured the world, performing and recording with a wide array of trend setting artists, including Paul Simon, David Bowie, Steely Dan, Cyndi Lauper, Jackson Browne, and Rosanne Cash.
Since the 2006 release of her debut album, Cat, on Harmonia Mundi's World Village label, Catherine Russell has been making fans and friends and grabbing listeners by the ear. “She is a fresh and original voice. The most exciting debut album I’ve heard in a long time.” writes New York Sun critic and Sinatra biographer, Will Friedwald, who picked Cat among his top 10 cds of the year. “It’s a delight to hear the real thing in Catherine Russell.”, writes Nat Hentoff in The Wall Street Journal.
Ms. Russell has been a hit on major events like Chicago Blues Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Bern International Jazz Festival, JVC-New York Jazz Festival, Detroit International Jazz Festival, Tanglewood Jazz Festival, Lotus Festival, and at premier venues like The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Sculler's in Boston, The Dakota in Minneapolis, and The Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. She has appeared on the nationally syndicated shows Mountain Stage, JazzSet on NPR, Studio 360, and The Tavis Smiley Show on PBS-TV. Reviews and profiles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Living Blues, Blues Review, Downbeat, Goldmine, No Depression, Boston Herald, Newark Star Ledger, JazzTimes, Chicago Sun Times, and many more.
Cat spent weeks on JazzWeek magazine's chart for national airplay, while Back O Town Blues was a top 10 download on I-Tunes Jazz Chart. Catherine Russell's 2nd album on World Village, “Sentimental Streak,” hit the streets on February 12, 2008.
her phrasing is impeccable and her delivery relaxed and effortless...highly-recommended. (Karen Hogg/AllAboutJazz-New York)