"Today, let’s get acquainted with singer Catherine Russell, who will be making her St. Louis debut as a headliner next Saturday, April 19 at the Sheldon Concert Hall.
Russell is from New York, born in 1956 to Luis Russell, a pianist, composer and longtime bandleader for Louis Armstrong, and Carline Ray, a bassist and vocalist who performed with Mary Lou Williams and the International Sweethearts of Rhythm.
While she’s been active in the music business for many years, Russell’s career as a solo artist took a while to blossom. Before releasing her debut album Cat in 2002, she earned a living as an in-demand backup singer on tours and recordings with major artists including Steely Dan, Levon Helm, David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, Michael Feinstein, Carrie Smith, and Rosanne Cash.
Though she’s held on to some of those gigs - even getting a feature spot in the show on recent tours of the Dukes of September (Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald, and Boz Scaggs) - her solo career has grown to occupy more and more of her time. Since her debut, Russell has released four more albums, the most recent of which, Bring It Back, came out in February on the Jazz Village label, and in 2012 won a Grammy Award for her appearance as a featured artist on the soundtrack album for the HBO series Boardwalk Empire…”
"Another schedule highlight is provided by singer Catherine Russell, who is at Knuckleheads on Wednesday [April 16]…If you go to YouTube, you can hear her sing some tasty swing tunes with Jazz at Lincoln Center bands” -The Kansas City Star
"NATALIA M. KING, SoulBlazz (Jazz Village): (4.5 stars out of 5) The former Angeleno claims Nina Simone, Thelonious Monk and Janis Joplin as musical forebears, and there’s more than a whisper of Billie Holiday in her yearning “soulblazz.” Long since decamped to Paris, she’s supported by a nimble French ensemble of harmonica, Rhodes organ, saxophone, slide guitar and trumpet. Her evocative alto caresses the bass-and-sax cadences of Sam Cooke’s “Today I Sing the Blues” ’til it smokes, but the album’s fired by poetic, bared-heart originals: “Lady of the Night,” “I Need to See You Again,” “I’ve Changed,” “Stronger Than I.” nataliamking.com”
"…My generation knows of “The Darktown Strutters’ Ball” because, in 1969, The Band quoted from its lyrics on the back cover of their second album, The Band. Published in 1917, Shelton Brooks’s tune has been widely recorded, but Russell and her band polish it up with a warm blues arrangement enlivened by Matt Munisteri’s cool, unfussy guitar solo. Russell sounds like she’s having a ball singing this old chestnut, and her enthusiasm makes the song new again. Her gift to us, and to all these old tunes, is to let us feel the joy people hearing them for the first time must have felt.
Al Hibbler’s version of “After the Light Go Down Low” was a hit in 1956, and Glenn Patscha’s Hammond B-3 gives Russell’s turn at it a jukebox feel. The track is presented simply — just organ, guitar, bass, and drums — and Russell grabs hold of the tune with unforced conviction. Her control of vocal dynamics lets her create excitement and drama without pushing too hard to make her point. The gospel vibe of “I’m Sticking With You Baby” might have been easily overdone, but Russell sings it with a spirit and emotion that are clearly heartfelt.
The affection of Russell’s band for older jazz is clear — they play it with energy and respect. Arranger and tenor saxophonist Andy Farber, whose own discs are solid big-band outings, re-creates a 1930s jazz feel for “I’m Shooting High,” and his chart for Duke Ellington’s “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart” pays respect to swing-era Ellington without merely copying him. HBO’s Prohibition-era series Boardwalk Empire has used Russell’s music in its soundtrack, and she and her band have a broad command of jazz and blues that lets them play Ida Cox’s “You Got to Swing and Sway,” from 1939, with the same ease as Johnny Otis’s 1952 hit for Esther Phillips, “Aged and Mellow…”
This new collection of songs from the Argentinean singer-actor Melingo could be the soundtrack to a shady underworld, conjuring up as it does a chiaroscuro labyrinth of mirrors where time stands still. Offbeat love songs, sparkling with glints of the blues and tangos of old, vagrants’ tales sprinkled with snatches of bossa nova and candombe, atmospheric melodies summoning up musical spirits, now of Duke, now of Zappa, all plunging us into Melingo’s surreal universe. In the company of his band of itinerant musician-poets, he is a free-spirited, definition-defying artist at the very zenith of his powers. Part rocker, part flamboyant crooner, with a touch of the comedian, as well as a multi-instrumentalist and composer, he bewitches us with intoxicating dreams.
Raised in Brooklyn, Natalia M. King began her musical career in Los Angeles in 1993 with the Mojo Monks, a hard-edged blues-rock trio. After tiring of the LA scene, King sold everything she possessed, bought herself an acoustic guitar and a one way plane-ticket to France. She never looked back. After being ‘discovered’ thanks to a documentary made by French television group Canal+, King’s success was assured and she cut two albums for Universal in the early 2000s. After hiatus from the studio, King returns in style with SoulBLAZZ, an album of twelve blazing new tracks, most of which are originals. Her songs blend the spirituality of soul, the intensity of the blues, the aestheticism of jazz and the energy of her rock roots. So don’t be surprised should your ears detect the spirits of Nina Simone, Thelonious Monk and Janis Joplin.
World Village has forged itself a reputation for excellence on the international musical scene in just a few short years. Seeking out talents from all around the world, carefully designed covers and booklets: these are the key values of the label, which is run by four producers working between France, the USA, Spain and the UK, who pursue an ambitious signing policy.
Jazz Village, the newest label in the Harmonia Mundi family, allows audiences to experience the best of current jazz music, from Europe to the Americas, from traditional to modern, through urban soul and new sound crossbreeds. On the menu: a dozen yearly releases featuring musical veterans, young idols and bright emerging talents.