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8.7.08

Catherine Russell




Catherine Russell - Sentimental Streak - 2008 - World Village

Vocalist Catherine Russell has what it takes -- and then some -- to draw the right kind of attention: worthy pipes, plenty of sass and class, and tasteful song selection alongside the ability to pen good original numbers. Her sophomore release, Sentimental Streak, blends jazz, blues and R&B into a knockout concoction that is sure to prick up the ears of those who listen. The songs featured here draw on the influence and catalog of sultry torch singers, blues divas, and Old Blue Eyes himself, all dished up like treasures unearthed from the deep. But it’s Russell’s spot-on delivery and confident grasp of the songs that packs the true punch. Closer study reveals that Ms. Russell’s talents should come as no surprise. Her father, Luis Russell, played piano in the 1920s alongside legends such as Hoagy Carmichael and Louis Armstrong (and songs from all three men are included on Sentimental Streak); her mother, Carline Ray, was a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and Julliard graduate. From her take on "Kitchen Man" to "My Old Daddy’s Got a Brand New Way to Love," many of the songs on Sentimental Streak are playful, flirtatious and bawdy -- so much so that the disc should really be subtitled "With a Hint of Humor." Take the hint and take a listen to this fabulously funny, jazzy disc. © Shannon Holliday, http://www.soundstage.com/


Brilliant jazz blues album, sung in the old time swing style. Catherine Russell has backed some of rocks greats, including Paul Simon, David Bowie, Al Green, and Isaac Hayes. She sang in the NY Rock ’N’ Soul Revue with Donald Fagen and was a backup singer with Steely Dan. She also contributed background vocals on Donald Fagen's classic "Kamakiriad" album, and as every Dan fan knows, the ultra perfectionist, Donald Fagen only uses the creme da la creme of musicians. Buy her superb 2006 debut album, "Cat." You should check out the great "Love Wants To Dance" album by Maria Muldaur @ MMULDAUR/LWTD for jazz blues music in the same vein.

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

1. So Little Time (So Much To Do), (William J. Hill, Peter De Rose), Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra, arranged by Luis Russell
2. I’m Lazy, That’s All (Mackle), Pearl Bailey
3. Kitchen Man (Edna B. Pinkard, Andy Razaf), Bessie Smith
4. Oh Yes, Take Another Guess (Mencher, Sherman, Newman), Ella Fitzgerald with Chick Webb Orchestra
5. New Orleans (Hoagy Carmichael)
6. My Old Daddy’s Got A Brand New Way To Love (Mike Jackson), Alberta Hunter
7. South To A Warmer Place (Alec Wilder, L.R. McGlohon), Frank Sinatra
8. Thrill Me (E.Y. Harburg, Lewis Gensler), Lena Horne
9. You Better Watch Yourself, Bub (Nellie Lutcher)
10. I’ve Got That Thing (Luis Russell, Paul Barbarin, Walter Pichon), Luis Russell
11. I Don’t Care Who Knows (Willie Dixon), Harold Burrage
12. Broken Nose (Rachelle Garniez)
13. Luci (Catherine Russell)
14. You For Me, Me For You (Cecil Mack, James P. Johnson) Alberta Hunter

MUSICIANS

Catherine Russell - Vocals
Howard Johnson - Tuba
Larry Campbell - Guitar, Mandolin, Pedal Steel Guitar, Violin, Guitar (Resonator)
Rachelle Garniez - Accordion
Larry Ham - Piano
James Wormworth - Drums
Lee Hudson - Acoustic Bass
Steven Bernstein - Trumpet, Cornet, Slide Trumpet
Matt Munisteri - Banjo, Guitar
Brian John Mitchell - Piano
Byron Isaacs - Acoustic Bass
Steven Bernstein Horn Arrangements


REVIEWS

"Sentimental Steak," Catherine Russell’s follow up to her 2006 debut, “Cat,” is set to grab the attention of jazz fans everywhere. Coming from a musical family -- Russell’s father, Luis, was the long time musical director of jazz legend Louis Armstrong, and her mother Carline Ray, bassist and vocalist with an advanced degree from Juliard -- Catherine was always surrounded by music. It comes as no surprise, then, that "Sentimental Streak" is a very impressive collection of songs that showcase Russell’s vocal range. The fourteen track album is comprised of jazz, blues and torch songs that Russell handles with class, spunk and originality -– setting her apart from other vocalists in the same genre. A particularly impressive song, "I’m Lazy – That’s all" is a great example of her ability to bring her personal style to her singing, a quality that falls somewhere between the notes and is completely attributed to her graceful delivery. Listen to this album while you’re running errands on Sunday afternoon and you’ll get it. Stand out tracks: "I’m Lazy – That’s All" and "My Old Daddy’s Got a Brand New Way To Love." © Mindy Munizaga , © 1995-2008 by TheCelebrityCafe.com


Catherine Russell is blessed with a powerful voice, and unlike many rising stars, she knows how to use it. She doesn’t try to cram an onslaught of notes into a space that is too small, and she sings from her heart and soul rather than from her mind. It helps, of course, that she has been floating around the industry for years, supporting the likes of David Bowie, Paul Simon, and Jackson Browne. Throughout her sophomore set Sentimental Streak, she retreats from some of the more contemporary tunes — such as Sam Cooke’s You Were Made for Me and the Grateful Dead’s New Speedway Boogie — that had dotted the landscape of her debut Cat. In the process, she freed herself to focus upon the old-time jazz and blues songs that she undoubtedly has heard since her youth. To her credit, the resulting affair is decidedly more focused. If Sentimental Streak sounds, at times, as if it is steeped in the eclecticism of New Orleans tradition, it’s because Russell’s father Luis, for a few years at least, led the band that backed Louis Armstrong, one of the Crescent City’s greatest legends. Using an arrangement that was conceived by her dad, the album appropriately opens with the brassy swing of So Little Time (So Much to Do). Elsewhere, Russell delivers a wonderful rendition of Hoagy Carmichael’s New Orleans, and although it long ago became a timeless standard, she wastes no time in claiming it as her own. Even so, there’s more to Sentimental Streak than initially meets the eye. Curiously, Russell tapped Larry Campbell, an alumnus of Bob Dylan’s band, to produce the affair, and he, in turn, assembled a stellar cast of characters — Ollabelle’s Byron Isaacs and trumpeter Steven Bernstein, among them — to support her vocals. At times, though, they subtly steal some of her thunder. The biggest problem with Sentimental Streak, however, is that the sounds of a distant era are executed with such extraordinary precision that it begins to feel as if the endeavor’s sole purpose is simply to pay tribute to the past through replication rather than reinterpretation. As impeccable as the music happens to be, there is, to put it bluntly, too much reverence contained in the approach that Russell and Campbell took, so much so that even the pair of new tunes that she tackles — her own Luci and accordion player Rachelle Garniez’s Broken Nose — blend in a little too neatly with the rest of the set. For all of the subtle twists and turns that are given to the material, no true risks are taken anywhere on Sentimental Streak. Its arrangements are lovely, and Russell’s vocals effortlessly conjure moods that exhibit crushing heartache (South to a Warmer Place), feisty determination (Oh Yes, Take Another Guess), and playful sexuality (My Daddy’s Got a Brand New Way to Love). Yet, it also doesn’t add anything to or distinguish itself from the long line of recordings and performances by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Bessie Smith, and Pearl Bailey from which it was constructed. © John Metzger [ First Appeared in The Music Box, February 2008, Volume 15, #2] www.musicbox-online.com/reviews-2008/russell-sentimental-02052008.html


A swinging success in the style of lusty, big-hearted blues and jazz women such as Bessie Smith, Pearl Bailey and Ella. In her second big-time CD, vocalist Russell scores a swinging success in the style of lusty, big-hearted blues and jazz women such as Bessie Smith, Pearl Bailey and Ella. Her dozen-piece backing band should be credited for half of the success - it includes Steve Bernstein on cornet and trumpet and two pianists: Mark Shane and Larry Ham. Among the unexpected instruments that give the arrangements some great personality are pedal steel guitar, accordion, banjo and tuba. Catherine’s father played in some of the top New Orleans bands, and the note booklet has stills from a home movie made when Louis Armstrong visited their home when she was age 4 and picked her up (she doesn’t seem to appreciate the honor). This singer not only has the gutsy delivery but also sings totally on-key and with delicious phrasing and attention to the lyrics. Look over those song titles below for a preview of how attractively different this is from most vocalists’ programs. With so many so-so female jazz vocalist CDs coming across my desk, releases such as Catherine’s are a huge treat! © John Henry, 2003-2008, © Audiophile Audition

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., All Music Guide




BIO
Recorded at Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, NY and produced by multi-instrumentalist/producer Larry Campbell (Bob Dylan, Levon Helm, Willie Nelson, Ollabelle, Marie Knight), Catherine Russell and her swinging band have distilled the robust, good-time essence of Southern juke joints and lindy-hopping Northern dance halls, where confessing the blues was as good for the soul as getting frisky in the first place. The material, heard in arrangements inspired by Chick Webb, Hoagy Carmichael, Louis Armstrong, Willie Dixon, Frank Sinatra, and Ms. Russell’s own father, Luis Russell, and much of it originally associated with legends like Bessie Smith, Alberta Hunter, Nellie Lutcher, Pearl Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, and Lena Horne, harks back to tales of lusty, big-hearted women who knew what was what and spoke out accordingly. Universal vignettes speak of how little time there is for what really matters, a sensuously unrepentant lady of leisure, a woman lamenting the loss of the culinary (and other!) talents of a departing lover and, memorably, of being caught in the clutches of ruinous vamp named Luci. Guided by the keen touch of Larry Campbell, Ms. Russell’s glorious voice once again reigns supreme, making every note count as she lovingly animates fourteen indelible songs with timeless appeal. The critical raves that greeted Cat (2006 -- WV 468063), Russell’s debut album on World Village, have understandably raised the bar for this, her sophomore CD. But from track one, it’s obvious that this impassioned and versatile vocalist is more than equal to the challenge! Ms. Russell’s late father, Luis Russell, was born in Panama and moved to New Orleans, and then New York where he became a famed orchestra leader and Louis Armstrong’s longtime musical director. Her mother, Carline Ray, vocalist, bassist, and a graduate of Juliard, has performed with Mary Lou Williams and Wynton Marsalis. Born in New York City, Catherine attended Music And Art High School and graduated with honors from the American Academy Of Dramatic Arts. She has performed and/or recorded with Paul Simon, Steely Dan, Cyndi Lauper, Joan Osborne, Madonna, Jackson Browne, Rosanne Cash, and David Bowie, among others, and participated in several gold-and-platinum selling recordings. Since the release of Cat, Catherine has taken her show-stopping intensity to major events like Tanglewood Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, and Chicago Blues Festival, while appearing on the nationally syndicated Tavis Smiley Show on PBS-TV, Mountain Stage Radio Show, and JazzSet on NPR. Cat spent weeks on JazzWeeks national airplay chart while one of its tracks, Back O Town Blues, reached the top Ten on I-Tunes Jazz Chart. Catherine Russell is that rarest of entities – a genuine jazz and blues singer – who can sing virtually anything. Her voice is full blown feminity 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 forebearers. © 2008 Concerted Efforts, www.concertedefforts.com/artists_russ.html

3 comments:

A.O.O.F.C said...

LINK

Jorge said...

Hola amigo: quería invitarte que visites el blog que estoy realizando con mis alumnos de segundo año de la secundaria sobre LA DISCRIMINACIÓN.
http://nodiscrimine.blogspot.com
Tema arduo e interesante.
Seguro será de tu agrado.
Tu aporte será valioso
Un abrazo desde la Argentina.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hola, Jorge.
Gracias por la invitación. Visitaré su web site pronto. Vi su blog.Los temas parecen interesantes. Deseo que entendiera su lengua mejor. Gracias por su comentario, y vuelto por favor pronto a A.O.O.F.C