The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 18, 2013

Free jazz with 'masterful singer' Catherine Russell

— LEWISBURG — Jazz vocalist Catherine Russell will perform with her Trio on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts Lobby at Bucknell University. Prior to the concert, there will be a pre-performance talk from 6:45 to 7:15 p.m. in the lobby. 

The performance is free and open to the public; tickets are not required.

A curator of lesser known blues, jazz and swing tunes, Russell breathes new life into standards and “should be” standards. The Philadelphia Inquirer describes her as “a masterful singer who knows how to inject her personality into the heart of a great song.”

Winner of a prestigious German Record Critics’ Award and a Hot Club of France Discovery Award, Russell is a native New Yorker born with an enviable musical pedigree. Her father, Luis Russell, became a pioneering pianist/composer/bandleader and Louis Armstrong’s long-time musical director. Her mother, Carline Ray, is a bassist, guitarist and vocalist who has performed with Mary Lou Williams and International Sweethearts of Rhythm.

After graduating with honors from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Russell embarked upon a rich journey backing artists like Carrie Smith, Steely Dan, David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, Michael Feinstein and Rosanne Cash.

Her 2006 debut album, “Cat,” garnered rave reviews, paving the way for her 2008 release, “Sentimental Streak.” Her  2010 album, “Inside This Heart of Mine,” reached number 1 on JazzWeek, Roots Music Report, and I-Tunes Jazz Charts.

Her most recent album, “Strictly Romancin’,” was released in February 2012. The 14-song collection takes the listener on a journey – from Harlem dance hall, to Parisian café, to store front church, to New Orleans gin joint, to uptown cabaret in a musical tour de force.

Russell has been a guest on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, PBS-TV’s Tavis Smiley Show and NPR’s Fresh Air, Piano Jazz, Mountain Stage, World Café, JazzSet and Riverwalk Jazz. She performs on various compilations including the Soundtrack Album for the HBO-TV show Boardwalk Empire, NPR’s The New Jazz Divas, Putumayo Presents Rhythm & Blues, and Walkin’ and Swingin’ from The Kennedy Center’s Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival.