GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

November 14, 2012

Shalin Liu hosts vocalist Russell

By Gail McCarthy Staff Writer
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Jazz and blues vocalist Catherine Russell, will perform in concert in Rockport just after Thanksgiving on Saturday, Nov. 24.

The daughter of Luis Russell, Louis Armstrong’s longtime music director, and Carline Ray, a jazz bassist and vocalist, Russell has built upon her family’s strong musical heritage and will grace the stage at the Shalin Liu Performance Center.

She was among the artists on the album “Boardwalk Empire: Volume 1,” which earned a Grammy for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media. The album features music from the award-winning HBO-TV series “Boardwalk Empire;” the soundtrack included Russell singing “Crazy Blues” accompanied by Mark Shane on the piano.

Russell has performed as a backup singer to the likes of Steely Dan, David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, Bette Midler and Rosanne Cash. She’s continued to draw critical acclaim since her solo debut in 2006.

Russell performs with a trio, with Matt Munisteri as music director, guitarist and banjoist, Mark Shane on piano and Lee Hudson on acoustic bass. She said the Nov. 24 concert will feature a mix of tunes from the various albums she has made over the last six years.

“We do music from the 30s and 40s sprinkled with a few from the 20s and a few from the 50s,” she said in a recent telephone interview.

When asked about performing with so many of the top musicians, she said she learns something from each of them.

“I take something away every time,” said Russell, who loves to travel. “I’ve had the privilege of working with so many serious artists, great songwriters and incredible human beings who have put amazing timeless music in the world. I value my experiences with these folks.”

She continues to travel as a solo artist, often performing in Japan and South America, and says she’s eager to perform at a new venue like Cape Ann and the Shalin Liu hall.

“I look forward to visiting and making new friends and exploring — and to have a good time,” she said.

Her success has made her a regular at major festivals worldwide, as well as at Jazz at Lincoln Center, where she sold out two nights last spring and returned as a guest vocalist for an Ethel Waters Tribute.

Russell’s previous solo albums include 2008’s Sentimental Streak and 2010’s Inside This Heart Of Mine, which both earned “Vocal Album of the Year” in the Village Voice Jazz Critics Poll. The latter reached No. 7 on the Billboard Jazz Chart, No. 1 on JazzWeek and led to several appearances on NPR’s Fresh Air and Weekend Edition. Her 2012 release is Strictly Romancin’:

The Nov. 24 concert takes place at 8 p.m., and tickets are priced at $18-$32.

For tickets and information, call 978-546-7391 or visit www.rockportmusic.org.

Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3445, or at gmccarthy@gloucestertimes.com.