Aug. 16, 2016Music Preview: Catherine Russell brings her natural approach to the Pasadena Pops
"Catherine's sixth album, "Harlem on My Mind" (Jazz Village) is a loving homage to a panoply of classic, though sometimes unjustly obscure, songs that range from risque blues ("You've Got the Right Key But the Wrong Keyhole") to Billie Holiday's "Swing! Brother, Swing!" to ballads like "The Very Thought of You." Her triumph is Russell's natural, unforced way with a song, and the personal touch she brings to it. She's scrupulously faithful to the tone of the lyric and avoids the hot-mama affectations that betray so many contemporary singers when addressing traditional material. In this, she virtually stands alone on today's jazz landscape. Russell joins Michael Feinstein and the Pasadena Pops Orchestra for their summer series Saturday at the L.A. County Arboretum in Arcadia." - Kirk Silsbee
Jul. 21, 2016Russell Interprets Standards for Harlem On My Mind - DownBeat
Russell Interprets Standards for Harlem On My Mind
Posted 7/20/2016 DownBeat Magazine
In December 2015, DownBeat shadowed Grammy-winning vocalist Catherine Russell as she spent a day in the studio recording tracks for a new album of Great American Songbook standards—some well-known, some obscure.
The studio session—which was chronicled in the magazine’s March 2016 issue by journalist Allen Morrison—would eventually yield the 12-song program on Harlem On My Mind (Jazz Village Records), the vocalist’s sixth album, due out Sept. 9.
The album is a tribute to the “Golden Age" of Harlem jazz, and celebrates the legacies of vocalists Ethel Waters, Billie Holiday, Etta James and Dinah Washington, as well as the iconic compositions of tunesmiths like Benny Carter, Andy Razaf, Fats Waller and Irving Berlin, who penned the crisp, swinging title track.
For Russell, a native of New York, a return to the music of Harlem seemed a natural destination. Her father, the late Luis Russell, was a pianist and bandleader who served as Louis Armstrong’s musical director. Her mother, the vocalist and bassist Carline Ray, was an original member of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm.
“My mother was born and raised in Harlem, and my father led one of the leading orchestras in Harlem, which was part of the inspiration for this album," said Russell. “It’s about not forgetting your roots.
Launch Related Site for full Harlem On My Mind album and tour preview
May. 12, 2016Catherine Russell: Sunny Side of The Street - NPR Jazz Night In America
May 12, 2016 • Catherine Russell has been a backup singer with Steely Dan and David Bowie, but she's better known as an interpreter of blues and early jazz. At Jazz At Lincoln Center, Russell recently assembled a vocal trio (with Carolyn Leonhart and La Tanya Hall, her partners on tour with Steely Dan) to unearth a book of charts by arranger Sy Oliver. She's only performed this music once before, more than 30 years ago. But back then, Russell got to sing it with her own mother — the multi-instrumentalist Carline Ray — and with Lillian Clark, who was also Oliver's wife.
Jazz Night In America takes you to the Jazz At Lincoln Center concert, featuring Russell's working band, and host Christian McBride speaks with Russell about the origins of these charts.
Feb. 24, 2016Tribute to David Bowie at Brit Awards 2016
The BRIT Awards paid tribute to David Bowie with a performance from Lorde and members of Bowie’s backing bands over the years, including Mike Garson, Gerry Leonard, Earl Slick, Gail Ann Dorsey, Catherine Russell, and Sterling Campbell. The segment kicked off with a medley of some of his most enduring hits before Lorde came out to sing “Life On Mars?" Bowie was posthumously awarded the Icon Award at the show — Annie Lennox introduced Gary Oldman, who accepted the award on his behalf.
Dec. 17, 2015Review: Catherine Russell Sings Still-Resonant Standards at Birdland
The New York Times
by Stephen Holden
"At a moment when the world can seem dangerously out of balance, it is still possible for a musician to convey a groundedness and a joy that don’t seem smiley-faced and goody-goody. A fine place to find it is Birdland, where the jazz singer Catherine Russell began a short run with her sextet on Tuesday evening, projecting a strength, good humor and intelligence that engulfed the room in a mood of bonhomie. She reminded you that even in the most chaotic times, there are oases of calm.
The vintage songs she chose were treated as standards whose sentiments apply as much today as ever...performed with spirit, understanding and a sense of fun. Ms. Russell and her crew brought them all."
Launch Related Site to read full review
Dec. 12, 2015DownBeat Visits Catherine Russell in Studio
DownBeat Visits Catherine Russell in Studio for ‘Harlem’ Sessions
Posted 12/11/2015 by Allen Morrison
Outside MSR Studios in midtown Manhattan on Dec. 1, a chilly rain was falling. Inside, cozily ensconced in a wood- and glass-paneled vocal booth in Studio A, vocalist Catherine Russell was sipping coffee. She checked her smartphone while a 10-piece band prepared for another take on “Let Me Be The First To Know, " a tune Dinah Washington recorded on her 1963 LP Back To The Blues.
Russell was well into the second of three days of recording for a new album, tentatively titled Harlem On My Mind, to be released by next summer. The record follows the critical and commercial success of 2014’s Bring It Back (Jazz Village/Harmonia Mundi), the most played vocal release of 2014 on jazz radio, according to JazzWeek.
Dec. 06, 2015Supreme Jazz Singer Catherine Russell at Birdland Dec 15-19: Preview in Epoch Times
by Barry Bassis
Jazz singer Catherine Russell blew me away when I first saw her perform at the Mohonk Blues on the Mountain Festival. She sang a blues and jazz set with her group and then returned on Sunday morning for a gospel show. Since then, I have been collecting her recordings and try to catch her whenever she is in town.
A native New Yorker, Russell was born into jazz royalty. Her father, Luis Russell, was the long-time bandleader/pianist for Louis Armstrong. (On Catherine’s website, there are photos of her with Satchmo when she was 4 years old.)
Russell has the gift of communicating pure joy.
Lovers of jazz, blues and popular music should not pass up the opportunity to catch Catherine Russell at Birdland , where she will be performing with musicians from the “Bring it Back" CD for five nights, from December 15-19.
315 W 44th St.
Tickets: 212-581-3080; birdlandjazz.com
Jul. 19, 2015Catherine Russell brings the swing to Jazz Alley
Concert Preview in The Seattle Times by Paul de Barros
If you like swinging, smart vocal jazz, you’ll like Catherine Russell, who also happens to have sparkling stage presence and impeccable jazz heritage.
"Though I was mightily impressed by Catherine Russell’s way with a vintage song on her 2012 album “Strictly Romancin’," nothing prepared me for how dynamic she would be on stage at New York’s Winter Jazzfest this past January.
Singing a sexy blues like Lil Green’s “In the Dark" or a barnburner like “Darktown Strutters Ball," Russell was an absolute powder keg....a rich, caramel alto with theatrical gusto — plus surprising, fun song choices — check out Russell on Tuesday and Wednesday at Jazz Alley."
Jul. 16, 2015Louis Armstrong Tribute at SFJAZZ - SF Weekly Profile
In a thousand years, people will still be listening to the music of jazz artist Louis Armstrong. At least, so says singer and bandleader Catherine Russell, who will perform Armstrong's music with her band for four nights at the SFJAZZ Centre, July 16-19.
"Every time I listen to Louis Armstrong, I feel better," Russell told SF Weekly. "Why is that? His music is like medicine because his whole life is in every note he plays or sings. He doesn't leave anything behind. He gives all of himself. That translates to people."
Armstrong's musical career spans the 1920s through the 1960s, and it's impossible to listen to jazz or discuss it without noting his fingerprint. As a trumpeter, singer, bandleader, composer, and collaborator, he developed, shaped, and influenced the jazz form in ways that carry on in everyone who's ever picked up an instrument and attempted to play jazz in his wake. Both Armstrong's voice and trumpet are instantly recognizable from the very first note.
Russell's connection to Armstrong began at age 4, when she met him at his home in Queens through her father, who was working as Armstrong's orchestra leader in the mid-'30s and '40s. Armstrong's music was some of the first she heard in her life. Russell won a Grammy for her cover of the 1920s song "Crazy Blues" in Season 1 of the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. She's performed and recorded with David Bowie, Rosanne Cash, Paul Simon, and Steely Dan, and has recorded five solo albums. NPR called her 2006 debut release, Cat, one of the top 10 jazz albums of that year.
Russell says Armstrong was able to personalize everything he did. He could sing Disney tunes and make them sound honest, by relating to the material and breathing life into it. Because of this, Armstrong could "elevate" audiences and fellow musicians in his performances, something she strives to do as well.
"It's like I'm throwing a party and people are my guests," Russell says. "We like to have fun. I choose stuff I can personalize, things I can live through. I'm always telling a story in the present moment. That’s what Louis Armstrong did. The fervor and the passion are always in the moment. He took such good care of his audiences. That is my goal, too."
by Gary Moskowitz for SF Weekly
Dec. 29, 2014Best of 2014: Catherine Russell - Bring It Back
"Catherine Russell is the Truth" - Curt's Jazz Cafe
Partial List of Best of 2014 honors for Catherine Russell - Bring It Back:
Vocal Album of The Year - Francis Davis, NPR Music
#1 Jazz Album of 2014 - Roots Music Report RMR Radio Chart
#2 Vocal Album of The Year - NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll
Highest Charting Vocal Album of 2014 - JazzWeek (#13 overall for national radio airplay)
Best Selling Jazz Albums of 2014 - QOBUZ (France/Europe)
Best Blues Soul Albums of 2014 - Rhythms Magazine (Australia)
#4 Jazz Album of The Year - CMJ New Music Report
Top 14 of 2014 - Folk Roots/Folk Branches with Mike Regenstreif
Preston Frazier's Best of 2014 - Something Else!
Top 5 Jazz Album of 2014 - Capital Public Radio (Sacramento, CA)
Top 5 Jazz Album of 2014 - Newcity.com (Chicago, IL)
Best Vocal Release of 2014 - W. Royal Stokes, Jazz Historian
Best Overlooked Music of 2014 - No Depression
Top Jazzy Vocal Album of 2014 - AXS.com
Best Jazz Albums of 2014 - Curt's Jazz Cafe
"Bring it Back – Catherine Russell (Jazz Village) – The daughter of Luis Russell, who was Louis Armstrong’s longtime bandleader, and Carline Ray, who sang and played bass and guitar with the International Sweethearts of Rhythm during WWII, this former backup singer for David Bowie and Steely Dan, who didn’t record her first solo album until her mid ’40’s, reached her full potential with this album. Using the works from her parent’s heyday as a starting point, Ms. Russell respects the swing tradition while imbuing the proceedings with a modern blues sheen. Her voice has the gritty edge of a woman who has been around but it’s leavened by a youthful lightness that shines through on the uptempo numbers. I admit to having missed her before now, but after this disc I will catch up because Catherine Russell is the truth." - Curt's Jazz Cafe
Dec. 18, 2014Catherine Russell on Mountain Stage Radio Show
Catherine Russell makes her fourth visit to Mountain Stage, recorded live in Charleston, W.Va. Even though she's widely regarded as one of the best contemporary jazz and blues vocalists working today, Russell is endowed with the kind of voice that doesn't limit her to any one genre.
Catherine performs songs from her new album "Bring It Back" (Jazz Village), accompanied by Matt Munisteri (guitar, musical director), Mark Shane (piano), and Tal Ronen (bass).
Aug. 06, 2014San Francisco Chronicle: Catherine Russell Describes Finding Her Voice in Bay Area
"one of jazz's most celebrated vocalists, an incandescent performer who can make a century-old blues song as fresh and bracing as tomorrow's bad news....'Bring It Back,' displays her latest discoveries as a dogged song sleuth with a vast and varied book of salty blues, swooning ballads, pre-World War II pop tunes and vintage R&B." - Andrew Gilbert, San Francisco Chronicle
Mar. 07, 2014Downbeat Review: Catherine Russell Swings and Sways
"A one-woman reclamation project for classic jazz, blues and r&b from the ’20s to the ’50s, Russell likes to have a good time, and her mood was infectious.
Russell’s reading of Al Hibbler’s classic ballad of seduction “After The Lights Go Down Low" yielded her biggest ovation of the night, as she delivered a pleading, testifying, flat-out sexy performance that seemed to raise the temperature in the room by several degrees.
“A friend of mine turned me on to this Johnny Otis tune," she said, introducing the nearly forgotten 1952 Esther Phillips hit “Aged And Mellow." The friend was her sometime boss Donald Fagen, who showed up to catch the evening’s second show. The song’s hook—“I like my men like I like my whiskey/ Aged and mellow"—elicited a big laugh and a round of applause. Played at a leisurely pace, the tune was a convincing advertisement for the pleasures of slowing the damn thing down, as well as a showcase for Russell’s dramatic talents."
Mar. 07, 2014Jerusalem Post: Mining jazz's oldest streams
"Catherine Russell certainly knows from whom to gather her spiritual and creative energy. The 57-year-old American jazz singer, who will appear all over the country (ISRAEL) between March 8 and 15 as part of this year’s Hot Jazz series, cites some of the most celebrated divas of the art form as her sources of inspiration." - Barry Davis, Jerusalem Post
Feb. 14, 2014The Boston Globe: Catherine Russell breaths new life into a rich legacy
Catherine Russell profile and interview in The Boston Globe
"...with a steady series of well-received albums (her fifth as a solo artist, “Bring It Back," was released this week), Russell has emerged on her own terms as a charismatic bandleader with a knack for mining deep grooves in overlooked selections from the songbooks of the great ladies of jazz and blues — think Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan — as well as the worlds of rhythm and blues and Tin Pan Alley."
- Jeremy D. Goodwin
Jan. 17, 2014"Bring It Back" Video Presentation - New Album EPK
Watch Catherine Russell performing songs from her new album, "Bring It Back", live at The Allen Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.
Dec. 07, 2013Catherine Russell to Release "Bring It Back", Feb 11 on Jazz Village, Her Fifth Solo Album
With Bring It Back, due Feb. 11, 2014 on Jazz Village/harmonia mundi, Catherine Russell pushes her remarkable run of solo work to new heights, building on her already-considerable renown as one of the foremost interpreters and explorers of mid-20th century American music.
Her fifth solo album finds Russell fronting an expanded 10-piece band, covering her widest artistic ground yet - from the earliest days of jazz through the swing era and into the rhythm and blues explosion - but with her most personal stamps.
Sep. 15, 2013LA Times Review: A Gershwin Fest from Michael Feinstein and Pasadena Pops
"The magic of the Gershwin songbook swept the Los Angeles County Arboretum on Saturday, when Michael Feinstein and the Pasadena Pops Orchestra, together with guest vocalists Catherine Russell and Tom Wopat, closed the 2013 season in glossy, old-school fashion....(Nelson) Riddle’s charts for Ella Fitzgerald, wherein the dusky-voiced (Catherine) Russell deftly demonstrated her own incisive range. Turning “Nice Work If You Can Get It" into a textbook study of straight-toned panache, delivering “The Man I Love" and "Love Walked In" with a passion that wouldn’t shame Shirley Bassey, Russell brought the songwriters’ intentions into sizzling focus."
Jul. 28, 2013Carline Ray, an Enduring Pioneer Woman of Jazz, Dies at 88 - NY Times obituary
NY Times obituary and appreciation for Catherine Russell's mom, Carline Ray, including interview with Catherine + photos.
"Ms. Russell spent several years working with her to choose songs and arrangements for “Vocal Sides," her mother’s first recording as a lead vocalist.
“Her aim was not to be a front person," Ms. Russell said. “She used to tell me that she wanted to be a part of something bigger."
Jun. 09, 2013Catherine Russell, Masterful Interpreter of Vintage Jazz and Blues: Miami Herald
"last year’s Strictly Romancin’, reveal Russell’s mastery of vintage jazz and blues idioms. Backed by guitarist Matt Munisteri, pianist Mark Shane and bassist Lee Hudson — who will join her Thursday night (June 13) to open the Coral Gables Congregational Church’s summer concert series — she delves into often-obscure songbook gems by the likes of Duke Ellington, Hoagy Carmichael, Fats Waller and, quite naturally, Luis Russell." - Bob Weinberg, Miami Herald
launch related site to read full story
Jun. 06, 2013Hartford Courant interview/preview by Owen McNally
"Multi-faceted, she digs into the soulful sounds of gospel and skillfully delivers precisely aimed, high-caliber interpretations of tunes from the canon of the American Songbook. It's all done with consummate grace, ease, and a relaxed, rhythmic sense of swing."
May. 20, 2013Catherine Russell: The One Singer You Need to Hear Now by Joan K. Smith in Huffington Post
Catherine Russell lovingly profiled
"a legend hiding in plain sight. With an astonishingly rich, multi-faceted voice that can swing, lilt, belt, and sweetly croon with equal ease"
launch related site for full article with slide show
Apr. 25, 2013Catherine Russell reviewed in Wall Street Journal by Will Friedwald
"...the best blues and jazz singer going today...Her singing is drenched in emotion, drama, experience and pure swing. Ms. Russell, who gave a triumphant concert last week for the Sidney Bechet Society, returns with her exuberant mix of blues, standards and jazz, ranging from Ethel Waters to the Grateful Dead—and, with any luck, an Ellington song in honor of his birthday." Launch Related Site for full review.
Apr. 24, 2013Carline Ray - Vocal Sides, debut album by Jazz Pioneer, now available!
Carline Ray - Vocal Sides, the debut album from Catherine Russell's illustrious mom, is now available. The album was produced by Catherine Russell and features a heartfelt blend of standards, swing, and spirituals, "highlighted by two stunning duets by mother and daughter." - Wall Street Journal. Launch related site to listen to sound clips and learn more about the album!
Apr. 24, 2013Interview with WBGO's Gary Walker
Catherine Russell visits with Gary Walker and plays songs from, Carline Ray - Vocal Sides, the debut album by her Mother, the legendary jazz musician Carline Ray, which is Catherine's first project as producer. Launch Related Site to hear the interview and many tracks from the album.
Mar. 15, 2013Catherine Russell on Song Travels with Michael Feinstein on NPR
As a young girl, vocalist Catherine Russell bounced on the knee of Louis Armstrong. She started her career as an ace backup singer for stars including Paul Simon, David Bowie, and Steely Dan. Today she’s a leading interpreter of the Great American Songbook. Russell and host/accompanist Michael Feinstein perform an hour of pure radio perfection, including “I Cover The Waterfront" and a duet of “The Very Thought of You." Hear "Mood Indigo" as a bluesy duet between the jazz singer and host Michael Feinstein. Now streaming on NPR Music.
Mar. 04, 2013Catherine Russell - "Strictly Romancin'"- Bistro Award for Outstanding Recording
Catherine Russell-"Strictly Romancin'" receives Bistro Award for Outstanding Recording March 4 at 28th Annual Bistro Awards Gala at Gotham Comedy Club in New York City.
Feb. 26, 2013Catherine Russell - "Strictly Romancin'"- Grand Prix du Hot Club de France 2012
Catherine Russell - "Strictly Romancin'" has been awarded Grand Prix du Hot Club de France 2012. Founded in 1932, Hot Club de France has been giving annual awards since 1936. Catherine's 2nd album, Sentimental Streak, received Hot Club de France's Discovery Award (Prix Decouverte) in 2008.
Jan. 16, 2013"Strictly Romancin'" wins Vocal Album of The Year from French Jazz Academy
Catherine Russell - Strictly Romancin' (World Village/Harmonia Mundi) has been awarded Vocal Album of The Year (Le Prix du Jazz Vocal 2012) by the French Jazz Academie (l'Academie du Jazz). Awards were given out on January 15, 2013 at Academie du Jazz Award Night at Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, based on voting by Journalists and Jazz Professionals.
Jan. 09, 2013Catherine Russell receives Nightlife Award as Outstanding Jazz Performer
Leslie Uggams and Catherine Russell to be Honored at The 11th Annual Nightlife Awards
"The 11th Annual Nightlife Awards will take place at The Town Hall on Monday, January 14 at 7pm...set to perform for her award is jazz singer Catherine Russell, who will be recognized as an Outstanding Jazz Performer. Russell has released four jazz albums since 2006 (Cat, Sentimental Streak, Inside This Heart of Mine, and Strictly Romancin') to widespread acclaim." - Theater Mania
Dec. 26, 2012Catherine Russell - Strictly Romancin' - Best of 2012 (Partial List)
Vocal Album of The Year - Le Prix du Jazz Vocal 2012 L'Academie du Jazz (France)
Grand Prix du Hot Club de France 2012 (France)
Bistro Award for Outstanding Recording - 28th Annual Bistro Awards (New York)
Top Jazz Albums of 2012 - I-Tunes
Top Songs of 2012 (“Romance In The Dark") - NPR Jazz24
#1 Album of 2012 - 90.1 WGMC-FM Rochester, NY
Best Vocal Album of 2012 - Jazz Journalists Association’s Francis Davis
Best Albums of 2012: Yahoo DJ Picks - Radio Colorado’s Dick Fairley
Top 10 CDs of 2012 - WBGO’s Bob Porter
Top 10 CDs of 2012 - KCRW’s Bo Leibowitz
Best Albums of 2012 - Downbeat Magazine
Best Albums of 2012 - Jazz Journalists Association’s Andrew Gilbert
Best Albums of 2012 - Jazz Journalists Association’s Nancy Barell
Favorite Jazz Albums of 2012 - Politics & Prose Bookstore (Washington, DC)
Staff Picks for 2012 - Birdland Records (Sydney, Australia)
Best Interviews of 2012 - Fresh Air / NPR
Best 20 Jazz Albums of 2012 - Lucid Culture
Best of 2012 - The Blues Break, WDST 100.1fm Woodstock, NY
Nov. 12, 2012Catherine Russell on Jazz at Lincoln Center Radio
Catherine Russell in Concert at The Allen Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center, her performance from March 31, 2012 with an all-star 10 piece Orchestra, is airing on Public Radio Stations this week and is now archived and streaming on JALC web site~!!
Sep. 16, 2012LA Times profile/interview: Catherine Russell gets into the swing of things
"I like anything that swings, generally the sound of music between the 1920s and '50s," says Russell, 55...I like good storytelling, and I like the blues. I like humor and unpredictable lyrics, a good melody and interesting harmonies. That's really what motivates me."
Now recognized as one of the most savvy and sophisticated interpreters of classic jazz and blues, Russell has found an avid audience with a series of albums, high-profile gigs and appearances on the public radio showcase "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross. Her biggest West Coast tour includes a gig Wednesday at the Catalina Bar & Grill followed by her Monterey Jazz Festival debut Saturday." - Andy Gilbert
launch related site for full story
Aug. 01, 2012"The Dazzling Catherine Russell" -profile in New Orleans Magazine
"The velvet warmth of Russell’s voice put new meaning to American songbook standards from the Depression through the 1950s. Her poetic cadences and lush rolls in those songs of love and blues won a trail of fans." - Jason Berry, New Orleans Magazine, August 2012, places Catherine Russell and her artistry in historical and present day perspective against the backdrop of current goings on in New Orleans.
Jun. 12, 2012Catherine Russell sings with Dukes of September Rhythm Revue
Dukes of September Rhythm Revue will hit the road again in Summer of 2012 featuring Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald, and Boz Scaggs with an all-star band, performing a mix of the co-leaders hits and R&B covers. The forty-city tour kicks off with an appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on NBC-TV on Thursday June 14 and runs through August 24th, with Catherine Russell on background and lead vocals.
Apr. 06, 2012Catherine Russell on Mountain Stage NPR
Catherine Russell makes her third appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live in Charleston, West Virginia. Russell is, simply put, one of the best contemporary jazz and blues vocalists working today. - NPR Launch Related Site to Listen
Mar. 06, 2012Chart News: Strictly Romancin' hits #1 on JazzWeek Chart, #6 on Billboard Jazz~!!!
Catherine Russell's new album, Strictly Romancin', is #1 on JazzWeek, the definitive jazz national radio chart, a weekly report of the top Fifty Jazz Recordings played on Radio Stations across the United States and Canada. Also this week, Strictly Romancin' is #6 on Billboard's Jazz Album Chart!
Feb. 21, 2012Catherine Russell visits with host Terry Gross for a Fresh Air performance / interview!
Catherine Russell's peformance/interview on NPR's "Fresh Air with Terry Gross" will air Tuesday, February 21, 2012. Catherine and guitar player Matt Munisteri traveled to WHYY studios in Philadelphia for the session. "Fresh Air with Terry Gross", the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio's most popular programs. Each week, nearly 4.5 million people listen to the show on more than 450 National Public Radio (NPR) stations across the country, as well as in Europe on the World Radio Network.
Feb. 14, 2012"STRICTLY ROMANCIN'" by Catherine Russell now available.
World Village/Harmonia Mundi is proud to announce the release of “STRICTLY ROMANCIN’", jazz/blues vocalist CATHERINE RUSSELL’s fourth solo release for the label, on FEBRUARY 14, 2012.
“STRICTLY ROMANCIN’" is a paean to natural attractions; to a lover, an art form, and to one’s family heritage. On the album, Catherine explores love’s foibles, failures, and bliss, from amorous to humorous, embodying the lost art of song savvy, inhabiting the lyric, and allowing each melody to shine. On this 14 song collection, this ever soulful vocalist takes us on a journey; from Harlem dance hall, to Parisian Café, to Store Front Church, to New Orleans Gin Joint, to Uptown Cabaret, blurring distinctions between the carnal and the eternal, in a musical tour de force.
For these sessions, Catherine reunites with the team from her previous chart topping album, “Inside This Heart of Mine", including recording engineer Katherine Miller, producer Paul Kahn, and Musical Director/Guitarist/Banjoist/Arranger, Matt Munisteri, who contributes his expansive vision. Also returning are the cream of New York City based players, trumpet great Jon-Erik Kellso, trombonist John Allred, saxophone/clarinetist Dan Block; this time joined by veteran saxophonist/arranger Andy Farber. Joe Barbato on accordion and Aaron Weinstein on violin add a gypsy flavor on two tracks. The rhythm section includes players from Catherine Russell’s road tested band, including stride and swing connoisseur Mark Shane on piano, the always solid Lee Hudson on bass, and Mark McClean on drums.
The album opens with “Under The Spell of The Blues"; a newly minted version borrowed from the original Chick Webb / Ella Fitzgerald recording. Alone with heartache at the dawn, Catherine sets a mournful tone with her mesmerizing lament.
The classic Dorothy Fields – Jimmy McHugh composition, “I’m In The Mood For Love", was plucked from the fruitful recording collaboration of Louis Armstrong and Luis Russell. “Everything’s Been Done Before", from the same source, is an unusual melody. Both are impeccably rendered by Catherine’s lush croon. “Ev’ntide" comes from the same rich period in 1936 when Louis Armstrong was churning out masterpieces for the Decca label, this one written by Hoagy Carmichael, and rarely recorded since. This sunset stroll with that special someone now belongs to Catherine. The sensuous slow dance of “Romance In The Dark", written by the great Lil Green, dazzles the senses.
The Ellington-Strayhorn spin on breaking up, “I’m Checkin’ Out Goom’bye", becomes a hilarious conversation between our femme fatale and hard swinging’ trombonist John Allred, aided and abetted by a jet propelled Matt Munisteri arrangement. “No More" is serious soul cleansing, Catherine’s homage to the late Abbey Lincoln, found on Abbey’s very first studio album.
“Satchel Mouth Baby" is a fun and bouncy infatuation written by Mary Lou Williams (a nod to Louis Armstrong). Catherine first performed this at the Kennedy Center’s Women in Jazz Festival in 2010, and it’s highlighted her repertoire ever since; fitting, as Cat’s mom worked with Mary Lou Williams and her dad with Satchel Mouth.
Cat implores “Don’t Leave Me", a tune written and first performed by blues singer/pianist Ivory Joe Hunter, whose signature style is expertly channeled by pianist Mark Shane. “I Haven’t Changed A Thing", once recorded by the hit-maker Kay Starr for Capitol Records, and mysteriously unissued, allows Catherine to reassert loyalty and devotion, while unearthing another gem.
“He’s All I Need", was written and originally recorded by Gospel- cum early rocker, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and her singing partner of many years, the late Sister Marie Knight. The duet is now reimagined by Catherine & her mother Carline Ray (who turned 86 years young just prior to this recording.)
And who better than Catherine Russell to jump start the spirit of Swing Era giants like Cab Calloway (“Wake Up and Live"), and Henry “Red" Allen (Whatchya Gonna Do When There Ain’t No Swing?"), and bring them into the 21st Century with utterly contemporary flair!
Feb. 12, 2012Grammy Award for Catherine Russell on Boardwalk Empire Soundtrack album!!!
Various Artists on the album "Boardwalk Empire: Volume 1" have been Awarded a GRAMMY for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media. The album features music from the Award Winning HBO-TV series "Boardwalk Empire", and includes Catherine Russell singing "Crazy Blues" accompanied by Mark Shane on the piano.
Feb. 08, 2012Catherine Russell - Strictly Romancin' EPK- video now available!
Catherine Russell interview and musical interludes explore her influences and inspirations for the new album - Strictly Romancin'.
Jan. 20, 2012"Romance In The Dark" NPR Song of The Day from Strictly Romancin'
"With a voice that wails like a horn and whispers like the snake in the Garden of Eden, she's finally claiming her place in the pantheon of 21st-century jazz divas. "Romance in the Dark," from Strictly Romancin', shows how strong and sexy Russell can sound."
- Marc Silver, NPR
Nov. 22, 2011Catherine Russell's Strictly Romancin' scheduled for Feb 14, 2012 release
World Village/Harmonia Mundi is proud to announce the release of “STRICTLY ROMANCIN’", jazz/blues vocalist CATHERINE RUSSELL’s fourth solo release for the label, on FEBRUARY 14, 2012.
Aug. 13, 2011Catherine Russell on Elektra Records "Boardwalk Empire" Soundtrack from HBO series
"BOARDWALK EMPIRE® VOLUME 1 - MUSIC FROM THE HBO® ORIGINAL SERIES" features music from the award winning TV show. The Prohibition-era soundtrack is comprised of original music from the 1920s exclusively rerecorded by top contemporary artists such as Regina Spektor, Loudon Wainwright III, Martha Wainwright, Catherine Russell, Nellie McKay, Leon Redbone, and Vince Giordano & The Nighthawks, released on Elektra Records on September 13, 2011. Catherine Russell sings "Crazy Blues" with Mark Shane on piano.
Aug. 13, 2011Catherine Russell backs Michael Feinstein on PBS-TV Special airing August 2011
Michael Feinstein: The Sinatra Legacy, a PBS-TV Special, is airing nationwide during August 2011, with backing vocals provided by The Fein-tones: Catherine Russell, Margaret Dorn, and LaTanya Hall.
Aug. 05, 2011Catherine Russell interviewed by Bill Lynch for The Charleston (WVA) Gazette
Catherine talks about her just completed forthcoming album, touring with Steely Dan, and more...
Jul. 02, 2011Catherine Russell provides backing vocals on Steely Dan Shuffle Diplomacy Tour 2011
"Steely Dan, that indefinable and technically sophisticated bundle of rock, jazz, and whatever else strikes the fancy of principals Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, kicked off the "Shuffle Diplomacy" tour...with a group of band veterans who are as well known to the group's obsessive fan base as the Becker and Fagen themselves." - Joan K. Smith, Huffington Post
May. 19, 2011Catherine Russell featured on new cd: Walkin' & Swingin' Mary Lou Williams
Recorded at the 15th Annual Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival in May 2010 at The Kennedy Center, which marked the Centennial of the birth of bandleader, composer, and arranger Mary Lou Williams (1910-1981). Artists such as Dee Dee Bridgewater, Esperanza Spalding, Geri Allen, Terri Lyne Carrington, Virginia Mayhew, Catherine Russell, Sherrie Maricle, and Grace Kelly perform big band, trio, and small ensemble Williams hits-and hidden gems-such as "What's Your Story, Morning Glory?" and "In the Land of Oo Bla Dee", sung by Catherine Russell.
May. 08, 2011Wall Street Journal jazz pick by Will Friedwald
"There are a zillion reasons to love Catherine Russell...doing justice to the legacies of such icons as Fats Waller and Ella Fitzgerald, as well as many sub-styles of the blues, from the more formal "classic" mode of Bessie Smith ("Kitchen Man") to the jumping jive of Louis Jordan and Wynonie Harris ("Quiet Whiskey") and the hardcore Chicago style of Howlin' Wolf ("Spoonful")...her record sessions are populated with the best players of her time...all pause for the cause on her outstanding 2010 "Inside This Heart of Mine."
Apr. 29, 2011Catherine Russell finds her Voice: The Boston Globe profile by Andrew Gilbert
"With her 1,000-watt smile and playful stage banter, vocalist Catherine Russell may not seem the part, but she is jazz’s prodigal daughter. After a long, circuitous career path including stints with David Bowie, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, Levon Helm, and Rosanne Cash, her return to the family fold has given jazz fans many a reason to rejoice. Mining a treasure trove of double entendre-laden blues, vintage jazz tunes, and Tin Pan Alley gems, the native New Yorker brings a visceral connection to old-time material, delivering the songs as if they were written yesterday, just for her."
Jan. 28, 2011Catherine Russell interviewed by Tad Hendrickson for Spinner
Catherine Russell Arrives Fashionably Late to the Solo Jazz Vocal Party, with "a beguiling mix of old-time jazz, early blues, swing and the great American songbook (in the broadest sense of the word)."
Jan. 04, 2011Catherine Russell's "Inside This Heart of Mine" a Best Album of 2010
Catherine Russell - "Inside This Heart of Mine" (World Village), has been showing up on many year end "Best of 2010" lists, including (partial list):
Village Voice (chosen as Best Vocal Album by Francis Davis, Andrew Gilbert,
Ron Wynn, Bob Porter, and more...)
Philadelphia City Paper (Top Ten Roots Albums of 2010)
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (Best 10 Jazz CDs)
Folk Roots /Folk Branches with Mike Regenstreif (Top 10 of 2010)
Jazz Journalists Association (Best of pick by Marcia Hillman, Joe Lang, W. Royal Stokes, and more...)
Swiss Radio (Golden Apero Dozen)
Radio Europa Lisboa Portugal - As Vozes do Jazz (Vocal Album of The Year)
Le Hot Club de France (Best of 2010)
WBG0 Jazz 88.3FM (Best of 2010)
Ron Weinstock: In a Blue Mood (Outstanding new Jazz releases)
Groovacious Records, Cedar City, Utah (top 20 albums of 2010)
Dec. 11, 2010Swiss Radio DRS choses "Inside This Heart of Mine" Best Albums of 2010
Swiss Radio DRS has chosen Catherine Russell's album "Inside This Heart of Mine" among it's Golden Apero Dozen of Best of 2010.
Nov. 06, 2010Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz on NPR features Catherine Russell
NPR's longest running jazz program, Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz, devotes a full hour to Catherine Russell. Catherine is interviewed by Jon Weber and performs songs from her albums, accompanied by Mark Shane on piano. Launch related site to listen!
Oct. 28, 2010Catherine Russell at The Kennedy Center on NPR's JazzSet
Catherine Russell performs at the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC with Mark Shane - piano, Matt Munisteri - guitar, Lee Hudson - bass. Launch related site to listen in!
Oct. 27, 2010Catherine Russell reviewed in La Libre : Belgium
"a voice reminiscent of the great Abbey Lincoln." launch related site for full review
Oct. 23, 2010TV appearance nationwide in The Netherlands - Kunststof TV on NTR Nederland 2
On Sunday October 24, 2010, in the midst of a tour of The Netherlands and Belgium, Catherine Russell performed on the nationwide NTR: Nederland 2 TV show, Kunststof TV, performing the song "Troubled Waters" from her latest CD - Inside This Heart of Mine.
Sep. 20, 2010Catherine Russell profiled in new book by Nat Hentoff: At The Jazz Band Ball
Nat Hentoff's new book At The Jazz Band Ball: Sixty Years on the Jazz Scene includes a chapter devoted to Catherine Russell - "This Daughter of Jazz Is One Cool Cat".
Aug. 05, 2010Catherine Russell joins Dukes of September Rhythm Revue Tour
Catherine rejoins old friends Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald, and Boz Scaggs for Dukes of September Rhythm Revue Tour. Catherine Russell and Carolyn Leonhardt-Escoffery sing as part of an all-star band.
Jul. 29, 2010Interview and Performance on Radio France RFI Musiques du Monde
Laurence Aloir interviews Catherine Russell on Radio France along with in studio performance by Catherine Russell and Mark Shane, recorded in Paris on July 7, 2010.
Jul. 15, 2010Catherine Russell featured on Riverwalk Jazz Public Radio shows!
Catherine Russell is the featured guest vocalist on the Public Radio series, Riverwalk Jazz, performing with Jim Cullum Jazz Band and piano legend Dick Hyman on two hour long specials + a third jam session show. The first show, Feelin The Spirit: The Luis Russell Story, honoring the legacy of Catherine's Dad, will air beginning June 24. The second show, All The Cats Join In: Catherine Russell In Concert, will air beginning July 15. The jam session show will air in September. Catherine sings selections from all three of her albums. The show can be heard on over 200 Radio Stations, XM/Sirius Real Jazz Channel on Sateliite Radio, and streaming worldwide on the Riverwalk Jazz web site.
Jul. 13, 2010Critics' Favorite at JazzAscona Festival 2010!
Following her first appearances at JazzAscona Festival, Catherine was voted Critics' Favorite as "the main jazz media in Europe, selected as favorite musician the talented vocalist and revelation of this year Catherine Russell."
Jul. 13, 2010Hot Club de France presents Catherine Russell with Discovery Award
Hot Club de France has awarded Catherine Russell with it's Prix Decouverte 2008 (Discovery Award) for her 2nd album, Sentimental Streak (World Village 468075).
The award was presented to Catherine at her concert at Sunside Jazz Club in Paris on July 7, 2010, by Hot Club de France president, Francois Debrosses.
May. 01, 2010Catherine Russell interviewed by Scott Simon on NPR Weekend Edition
Catherine Russell speaks with Scott Simon about her latest album, musical inspirations, and more...
Apr. 21, 2010Inside This Heart of Mine #1 on JazzWeek Chart !!!
Catherine Russell's new album, Inside This Heart of Mine has jumped to the #1 position on JazzWeek's Chart for national radio airplay, while also hitting #1 on Roots Music Report, I-Tunes, and Amazon's Jazz Album Charts !!!
Apr. 16, 2010Catherine Russell on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross
In celebration of the release this week of Catherine Russell's third album, Inside This Heart of Mine, NPR's Fresh Air rebroadcasts the interview and feature from 2008, along with songs from the new album. Host Terry Gross conducts an in depth interview illuminating Catherine's illustrious musical family and career.
Apr. 13, 2010Catherine Russell's 3rd album, Inside This Heart of Mine, now available!
Vocalist Catherine Russell’s 3rd album for World Village/Harmonia Mundi (468092), Inside This Heart of Mine was released on April 13, 2010.
Inside This Heart Of Mine showcases the ever-deepening interpretive wiles of Catherine Russell’s ripe, honey-dipped alto as she personifies the living heart and proud history of each of the songs that make up this set. This collection of 13 songs is tied together by the special place these songs hold inside the heart of Catherine Russell.
It's a heart that's warm and effusive, bluesy and erudite, bold yet vulnerable, passionate yet ethereal. Just listen to Cat's masterful reading of “Troubled Waters", a seldom heard tune scored by the Duke Ellington Orchestra for both Ivey Anderson and Mae West, performed here as a sultry meditation. Then there's “We The People", a never before covered Fats Waller tune from an originally unreleased recording, a tongue-in-cheek populist manifesto from the previous Great Depression, which implores legislators to provide “syncopation" as the surest way to “please the people." The Spencer Williams languid blues melody, "Slow As Molasses", was originally recorded as an instrumental by Luis Russell in 1929 with his band The Jungle Town Stompers. Wordsmith Rachelle Garniez added lyrics just for these sessions, allowing Cat’s evocative vocal spin on the new creation, some 80 years following her Dad’s original version.
This decades spanning collection of songs, originally performed by the likes of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Peggy Lee, Maxine Sullivan, Howlin’ Wolf, Wynonie Harris, Fats Waller, and Catherine’s father, Luis Russell, draws from Vaudeville wit, Tin Pan Alley tune craft, New Orleans swagger, Swing Era sock, the European Cafe, Jump Blues jive, modal Delta Blues, and Django-esque swing, with an immediacy and a timeless quality that’s refreshingly oblivious to current “trends". Here in you’ll find works by Hall of Fame Songwriters, like Andy Razaf, Harold Arlen, Ted Koehler, Alec Wilder, and Willie Dixon, as well as being introduced to newer Contemporary songs with an old-time vibe by Rachelle Garniez and producer, Paul Kahn.
Musical Director/Arranger/Guitarist/Banjoist, Matt Munisteri (Holly Cole, Little Jimmy Scott, Brock Mumford), assembled the cream of New York City based players for the sessions, including trumpet great Jon-Erik Kellso, who contributes arrangements, trombonist John Allred, and saxophone/clarinetist Dan Block. The rhythm section includes players from Catherine Russell’s road tested band, including stride and swing connoisseur Mark Shane on piano, Lee Hudson on bass, and Brian Grice on drums (Count Basie Orchestra, Eartha Kitt). Additional players on the album include legendary hipster Howard Johnson on tuba, Rachelle Garniez on accordion, Sara Caswell on violin, Neal Miner on bass, and Rob Garcia on drums.
Catherine Russell's Inside This Heart of Mine is a personal selection of gems from the 1920s through the Present; vital interpretations, bursting with soul and humor. Deepening the approach of her previous recordings -- an off-the-beaten-path song selection, sparkling small group acoustic swing, and stunning vocals -- with Inside This Heart Of Mine, vocalist Catherine Russell joins the ranks of the greatest interpreters and performers of American Popular Song.
Jan. 30, 2010Catherine Russell guests on Levon Helm's Grammy Award Winning Album - Electric Dirt
Catherine Russell appears as guest vocalist on the Grammy Award winning Levon Helm album -
Electric Dirt, on the Dr. Billy Taylor tune, "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free."
Jan. 17, 2010Catherine Russell featured on WHYY-TV's On Canvas Series
Catherine Russell is featured on the Emmy-winning TV series, On Canvas, WHYY's weekly performing arts series. The 30 minute program includes an interview plus an outdoor performance at Longwood Gardens Wine and Jazz Festival. Launch related site to view the show in it's entirety.
Jan. 11, 2010Putumayo Presents Rhythm and Blues
On February 9, 2010, Putumayo World Music releases it's first collection of Rhythm and Blues, featuring classics performed by first generation legends and rising stars of today’s retro R&B revival. Catherine Russell's version of "Put Me Down Easy" from her debut album, Cat, is included, along with tracks by James Hunter, Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings, Keb' Mo', and more. Launch related site for full track listing.
Nov. 28, 2009NPR Discover Songs: The New Jazz Divas
Catherine Russell is one of 13 artists (along with Melody Gardot, Diana Krall, Madeleine Peyroux, Esperanza Spalding, Lizz Wright, and more) appearing on a newly released CD compilation titled The New Jazz Divas, the first installment of NPR's Discover Songs series. Launch related site for full track listing and purchasing details.
Oct. 24, 2009Catherine Russell performs on National TV in Holland
Catherine Russell kicked off her debut tour of Holland with a performance on the Dutch National TV show, VPRO Vrije Geluiden/Free Sounds, recorded at BIMhuis in Amsterdam. Catherine performed two songs as a duo with pianist Mark Shane, and was also interviewed as part of a 20 minute segment, which attracted a wide viewing audience.
Jan. 16, 2009Vocal Album of The Year 2008 - Sentimental Streak
Francis Davis, Grammy Award winning music writer and jazz critic for The Village Voice and The Atlantic has chosen Sentimental Streak by Catherine Russell as
Vocal Album of the Year for 2008 in the Third Annual Voice Jazz Critics Poll.
"...my vote went to Sentimental Streak by Catherine Russell, a veteran former backup singer who swings as if to the manner born (as well the daughter of Luis Russell should)."
- Francis Davis
Jan. 14, 2009Sentimental Streak Finaliste for Prix du Jazz Vocal in France
The Acadamie du Jazz in France has chosen Catherine Russell's Sentimental Streak album as a 2008 Finaliste for Prix du Jazz Vocal.
Dec. 29, 2008Catherine Russell in Concert on Mountain Stage: NPR Music
Catherine Russell performs a nationwide Radio Concert accompanied by pianist Mark Shane. Listen in by launching related site.
Nov. 17, 2008Catherine Russell honored in 15th Annual Critics' Poll in Living Blues Magazine
Living Blues Magazine has announced the winners of it's 2008 15th annual Living Blues Awards Critics' Poll. Catherine Russell has been chosen as "Artist Deserving More Attention."
Sep. 08, 2008Sentimental Streak wins German Record Critics' Award
Catherine Russell's recently released disc, "Sentimental Streak" on World Village, has been awarded the prestigious German Record Critics' Award. The jurors of this prestigious prize, which is awarded quarterly, judged the CD to be an artistically oustanding new release in the Jazz category and have thus included it in their Quarterly Critics' Choice.
Inaugurated in 1963 in order to set the "most rigorous standards for supreme achievement" in the field of recording, the award's jury comprises 114 music critics, writers and editors in the German-speaking countries who are actively involved in the assessment of CDs and DVDs. .
With its Quarterly Critics' Choice ("Bestenliste") the German Record Critics' Award recommends new releases which merit special attention either for the quality of interpretation or creativity, or for their value to the repertoire.
Aug. 05, 2008Catherine Russell on NPR's World Cafe with David Dye
Catherine Russell stops by the World Cafe with Host David Dye on August 5, 2008 to discuss her second album, Sentimental Streak. Catherine is hailed as "the real thing" by hard-to-please jazz critic, Nat Hentoff. She stands out as a versatile and thoughtful vocalist who always sheds an unexpected light on old standards and original compositions alike. On Sentimental Streak, blues and jazz classics are reinterpreted in a playful, yet soulful and highly personal way. Listen in by launching related site:
Feb. 07, 2008Catherine Russell on Conan O'Brien Monday Feb 11, 2008
Catherine Russell was the featured musical guest on Late Night with Conan O'Brien on NBC-TV on Monday February 11, 2008, - the eve of the official release date of her new cd, Sentimental Streak, performing the Willie Dixon tune, "I Don't Care Who Knows".
Jan. 01, 2008Catherine Russell performs at Panama Jazz Festival Jan 2008, first visit to the homeland of her father, Jazz Legend, Luis Russell
“Ms. Russell is part of a noble jazz lineage. Her father, Luis Russell (1902-63), was a pianist and leader of one of the most impressive big bands on the early New York jazz scene after leading a group in New Orleans and moving to Chicago, where he worked with King Oliver, who gave Louis Armstrong his first big break."
Nat Hentoff, The Wall Street Journal
“Luis Russell, a Panamanian jazz genius…who moved to New Orleans in 1919 at age 17…who famously collaborated with such first generation New Orleans jazzmen as clarinetist, Albert Nicolas, drummer Paul Barbarin, and the great Satchmo himself…"
Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune
Catherine Russell is a 2nd generation vocalist of Afro-Panamanian-American descent. In January of 2008, Catherine Russell and her band performed at the 5th annual Panama Jazz Festival, held in Panama City, Republic of Panama. The visit helped to celebrate the release (on February 12) of Ms. Russell’s 2nd album, Sentimental Streak, on the World Village label, and marked her first ever visit to Panama.
On her critically acclaimed debut album, Cat, released on the World Village label in 2006, Catherine Russell recorded “Back O Town Blues", a song written by Luis Russell for Louis Armstrong, and a staple of Satchmo’s “live" shows for decades. Catherine performed her version on the Tavis Smiley Show on PBS-TV, and her recording reached the top 10 on I-Tunes Jazz Chart. Catherine’s new album, Sentimental Streak, opens with a reinvention of a Luis Russell arrangement of a Louis Armstrong recording from 1938, “So Little Time (So Much To Do)", and also features a song co-written and recorded by Luis Russell, “I’ve Got That Thing."
Catherine’s father, the late Luis Russell, was born in the Bocas Del Toro region of Panama. Trained as a musician while in Panama, Luis Russell won the Panama national lottery in 1919 and moved to New Orleans, where he fell in with the greatest players of Jazz, including Louis Armstrong and Joe “King" Oliver. Luis Russell soon moved to Chicago and recorded with King Oliver, and then on to New York City, where he formed the Luis Russell Orchestra. Pianist, Arranger, Bandleader, and Songwriter, Luis Russell sat at the center of several of the great bands of 20th Century Jazz and Popular music. By the late 1920’s, the Luis Russell Orchestra was considered one of hottest dance bands in New York, rivaling those of Duke Ellington, Chick Webb, and Fletcher Henderson. Louis Armstrong “borrowed" Luis Russell and his Orchestra for several legendary recordings, including “Mahogany Hall Stomp" from Armstrongs famed Hot 5’s and 7’s series, plus the original recording of Hoagy Carmichael’s all time classic composition “Rocking Chair". In 1935, Louis Armstrong took over the Luis Russell Orchestra and retained Luis Russell as his musical director, an association that lasted for many years of recordings, film appearances, and tours.
Described as “Panama’s first bona fide jazz star", by Howard Reich in The Chicago Tribune, Luis Russell is a revered figure in his native Panama. He was featured on a postage stamp, through the efforts of Mr. Ernesto Crouch of the Panama based Luis Russell Foundation, and the first Panama Jazz Festival in 2003 was dedicated to Luis Russell.
The Panama Jazz Festival was founded by Panamanian pianist Danilo Perez in order to exchange cultural experiences between the best musicians of the world and the Panamanian people. The Fifth Anniversary edition of the Panama Jazz Festival took on added significance by introducing Catherine Russell to her father’s homeland, carrying on a musical legacy and creating its next chapter.