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Catherine Russell - Sentimental Streak
World Village Music

Run Time: 47:05

Do you miss gals like Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Alberta Hunter, and Lena Horne? I know it’s a large comparison to make and some pretty huge shoes to fill but Catherine Russell comes pretty darn close to all these ladies. Blending swing, jazz, ragtime, and blues, Russell’s voice is golden, pure, and any other adjective you can add to compliment this young lady from New York.

Her lineage is quite astounding and no surprise. She’s the daughter of the famed Luis Russell who was Louis Armstrong’s long time band leader and arranger. Her mother Carline Ray, is a world-reknowned and superbly educated bassist. Catherine herself has some accolades, too. She’s toured the world with some of the big names in the music industry, including Paul Simon, David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Jackson Browne, Rosanne Cash, Steely Dan to name a few. This her eponymous second release on the World Village label is a pure delight in its sound quality and purity of origin. Russell’s voice soars far and above a lot of ladies who label themselves jazz singers these days. And when she wants to, she can give you some heartfelt big band blues that almost makes you want to cry.

Most of the source music comes from her father that Catherine admits to in the liner notes that she really started to discover a few years ago after Doc Cheatham’s passing in New Orleans. You can’t really tell it, but it seems like she’s been singing these songs for years. Try out the sassy and almost sexually-explicit but not lyrics that she turns with force and sultry power on Bessie Smith’s “Kitchen Man” or Alberta Hunter’s “My Old Daddy’s Got A Brand New Way To Love.” Lena Horne’s “Thrill Me” also flies above the accompaniment. The song that really soars above and beyond for me is the jazzy-blues of the only original on the disc from Russell’s own pen called “Luci.” Stretching out to 5:02, it’s the longest track on the disc and gives the 4-piece band behind her led by Brian Mitchell on piano and Larry Campbell on guitar to space out and show us the improv that jazz fans know and love.

If you are a jazz fan or a fan of some blues-influenced jazz, this disc is for you. If you are a pure music fan, than this is one of the best chill out albums I’ve heard since Norah Jones Come Away With Me from a few years back. Russell’s a rising talent and is bound to jump into the spotlight very soon. She’s a woman to be reckoned with and should be on any music fan’s radar. The CD is available from major music outlets.

Reviewer Ben Cox is a Blues Songwriter, Musician, DJ and Journalist.

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