A subtle jazz singer with a wide repertoire that reaches from 1920s-’30s standards to current material, Catherine Russell certainly has impeccable jazz genes. Her late father, Luis Russell, was an important bandleader and pianist who led a major band during 1929-34 and was in the Louis Armstrong Orchestra during the swing era. Her mother, Carline Ray, played bass and sang with everyone from the International Sweethearts of Rhythm and the Erskine Orchestra to Mary Lou Williams and Wynton Marsalis. Catherine Russell, who was born many decades after her father’s initial successes, has a love for early jazz but a versatile style that makes it possible for her to sing nearly anything. Born in New York, she attended the High School of Music and Art, and graduated with honors from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Russell toured Europe with a gospel group led by Carrie Smith that had Carline on bass. In 1989 she sang blues and soul with Jimmy Vivino’s Little Big Band. She sang in the NY Rock ‘N’ Soul Revue with Donald Fagen and was a backup singer with Steely Dan. Russell has also sung backup with Paul Simon, David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Jackson Browne, Rosanne Cash, Joan Osborne, Michael Feinstein, Madonna, Al Green, the J. Geils Band, Dolly Parton and Isaac Hayes. In 2006 she finally emerged as a jazz singer, recording her debut CD as a leader, Cat, on the World Village label. Since then, Russell has appeared at many jazz festivals and jazz clubs, recently releasing her second album, Sentimental Streak.
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