Catherine Russell is a native New Yorker, born with an enviable musical pedigree. Her father, the late Luis Russell, was born in Panama and moved to New Orleans and then New York City, becoming a pioneering pianist/bandleader, and Louis Armstrong’s long-time musical director. Her mother, Carline Ray, is an outstanding bassist and vocalist and holder of advanced degrees from Juilliard and The Manhattan School of Music, who has performed with Mary Lou Williams and The International Sweethearts of Rhythm.
Not surprisingly considering her roots, Catherine Russell is a one-of-a-kind vocalist. She has toured the world, performing and recording with Paul Simon, David Bowie, Steely Dan, Cyndi Lauper, Jackson Browne, Michael Feinstein, Levon Helm, and Rosanne Cash, among others.
Since the 2006 release of her debut album, Cat, on Harmonia Mundi’s World Village label, Catherine Russell has been making fans and friends and grabbing listeners by the ear. “She is a fresh and original voice. The most exciting debut album I’ve heard in a long time.” writes New York Sun critic and Sinatra biographer, Will Friedwald, who picked Cat among his top 10 CDs of the year. “It’s a delight to hear the real thing in Catherine Russell.”, writes Nat Hentoff in The Wall Street Journal.
Ms. Russell has been a hit on major events like Chicago Blues Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Bern International Jazz Festival, JVC-New York Jazz Festival, Detroit International Jazz Festival, Tanglewood Jazz Festival, Lotus Festival, and at premier venues like The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Sculler’s in Boston, The Dakota in Minneapolis, Yoshi’s in San Francisco, and The Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. She has appeared on the nationally syndicated shows Mountain Stage, JazzSet on NPR, Studio 360, and The Tavis Smiley Show on PBS-TV. Reviews and profiles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Living Blues, Blues Review, Down Beat, Goldmine, No Depression, Boston Herald, Newark Star-Ledger, Jazz Times, Chicago Sun Times, and many more.
Cat spent weeks on JazzWeek magazine’s chart for national airplay, while “Back O Town Blues” was a top 10 download on iTunes Jazz Chart. National Public Radio’s top 5 jazz cd’s of 2006 included Cat, as chosen by WBGO DJs.
Catherine Russell’s 2nd album on World Village, Sentimental Streak, hit the streets on February 12, 2008, to universal acclaim, becoming a world-wide favorite of critics and fans alike.
Catherine appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien on NBC-TV, Fresh Air with Terry Gross on NPR, Beale Street Caravan, and in concert on CBC-Radio in Canada. Writer and jazz critic Francis Davis picked Sentimental Streak as Vocal Album of the Year in the 2008 Village Voice Jazz Critics Poll.
Catherine Russell’s 3rd album for World Village/Harmonia Mundi, Inside This Heart of Mine was released on April 13, 2010. The album contains gems from the 1920s through the present from Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Peggy Lee, Maxine Sullivan, Wynonie Harris, Howlin’ Wolf, Rachelle Garniez, and Catherine’s dad, Luis Russell.