Posts Tagged ‘Catherine Russell’

BDJF: catherine russell

June 8, 2011

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“You know I just go to my heroes, look through their catalogues…” So began tonight’s concert with Catherine Russell at the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival.

There did emerge a certain pattern after a little while, with Cat singing songs made famous by a select handful of folks from Peggy Lee to Jackie Wilson. Fats Waller and Dinah Washington were also repeat favorites through the evening.

The set began with the sassy, upbeat number We the People – a Depression-era Waller original from Russell’s most recent album, Inside This Heart of Mine (which takes its name from another Waller chart). It’s aged well. In fact the way things are these days, the song doesn’t seem to have aged at all. Its optimism is just as fresh and relevant as it ever was:

“We the People
Gotta have singin’, plenty of swingin’
Please the people and you will never go wrong.
We don’t give a rip about taxation
Long as legislators give the nation syncopation
We, the People
Have to keep happy, have to keep snappy
Gotta have rhythm and song.”

After that it was the slinky All the Cats Join In (same album), and a playful rendition of My Man’s An Undertaker – a Dinah Washington classic which had the packed house chuckling with Russell’s good-natured hamming all the way through. And the good tunes just kept on coming.

Cat’s charming, alright. A storyteller. A stylish singer who really loves the songs she’s singing, and she works with an ensemble that tastefully balances the brightness of her musical personality. The lineup includes pianist Mark Shane, bassist Lee Hudson, and, alternating on guitar and amplified banjo (!), Matt Munisteri.

Apart from her considerable ease of stage presence, at least equally impressive is the range and depth of her repertoire. When was the last time I heard anyone sing Harold Arlen songs (except for THAT one) live in concert? Tonight, listening to her sing Arlen’s beautiful, simple tune As Long As I Live I wanted to hear more songs from that era at the same time I was grateful just to hear that one. There is a notably thoughtful depth of scholarship that comes through in Catherine Russell’s sets.

Before stepping out on her own, the first part of her career was dedicated to touring extensively and performing with other artists including Bette Midler, David Bowie, Rosanne Cash, Al Green, Cyndi Lauper, and Steely Dan. As a result Cat mentioned having come to a solo career later in her life, with her first solo recording being released just five years ago. Since then she’s been on a regular schedule of releasing albums every couple of years. The next one (just finished recording yesterday, she said!) will be released early next year.

I really enjoyed tonight’s concert, mostly for being able to get that extra dimension of understanding a live experience brings to music. It’s one thing to hear Cat sing these songs on her album; it’s quite another to see her acting them out and infusing life into them through her affectionate interactions with the other musicians.

Sometimes I wonder what performers think when they come here and it’s so quiet as they’re pouring their hearts and souls out on stage. This evening’s typically polite Vermont audience let the band do its thing for the most part, withholding most spontaneous outbursts during each number, but showed its appreciation with generous applause after each one.

It was well deserved.

This one’s from 1946, Benny Goodman’s own version of All The Cats Join In:

BDJF: cat’s here

June 8, 2011

Catherine Russell tonight at the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, 8:30pm.


playlist #161 (6/6/11)-the jazz fest edition

June 6, 2011

World of Music
Pgm #161 – Featuring the great jazz artists of Vermont, and many playing at this year’s Burlington Discover Jazz Festival
Catch the show on Mondays 3-5pm ET – at 105.9FM in Burlington, VT or online at The Radiator
Nas with Youssou N’Dour & Neneh Cherry: Wake Up (It’s Africa Calling) / Open Remix (download) – (USA / SENEGAL)
Bonerama: Epistrophy / Bringing it Home / MTP 1101 – (N’AWLINS) * playing 6/9 at the Waterfront Groove Tent
Catherine Russell: All The Cats Join In / Inside This Heart of Mine / World Village 468092 – (USA) * playing 6/8 at the Flynn Space
Ray Vega: Smile, You’re In Beirut / Squeeze Squeeze / Palmetto    2097 – (MADE IN VT) * played 6/5 at the Flynn Space
Will Patton Ensemble: Charanga / Flow / King’s Hill Music 511 – (MADE IN VT) * playing 8/10, 8p-midnight at Leunig’s
Roberta Gambarini: Centerpiece / Easy To Love / Kindred Rhythm 1122 – (ITALY) * playing 6/11 on the Flynn Main Stage
Myra Melford’s Be Bread: Yellow are Crowds of Flowers, ii / the image of your body / Cryptogramophone 131 – (USA) * playing 6/9 at the Flynn Space
Poncho Sanchez: Cantaloupe Island / Psychedelic Blues / Concord Picante 31526 – (MEXICO / USA) * playing 6/10 on the Flynn Main Stage
Jay Clayton: Sunshower / In and Out of Love / Sunnyside 12602 – (USA) * playing 6/7 at the Flynn Space
Les Doigts de L’Homme: I’ve Found a New Baby / 1910 / Alma Records 61312 – (FRANCE) * playing 6/12 at the Flynn Space
PoJazz: Things to Pray to in Vermont / Last Days: Live at the Black Door / (self-produced) – (MADE IN VT) * playing tonight (6/6) at half lounge, 7:30pm
Queen City Hot Club: Swing Gitan / Queen City Hot Club / (self-produced) – (MADE IN VT) * played 6/3 at Leunigs
Sheila Jordan: The Zoo / Jazz Child / High Note 7029 – (USA) * playing 6/7 at the Flynn Space
Ray Vega & Thomas Marriott: Only Of A Season / East-West Trumpet Summit / Origin 82561 – (MADE IN VT) * played 6/5 at the Flynn Space
Jennifer Hartswick: Gentle Rain / True / Rubber Jungle Records 7 – (MADE IN VT) * with her quartet at Red Square, 7pm on 6/7
Myra Melford’s Be Bread: Knocking From The Inside / The Whole Tree Gone / Firehouse 12 04-01-012 – (USA) * playing 6/9 at the Flynn Space
Poncho Sanchez: Silver’s Serenade / Psychedelic Blues / Concord Picante 31526 – (MEXICO / USA) * playing 6/10 on the Flynn Main Stage
JD Allen: The Pilot’s Compass / Vctory! / Sunnyside 1280 – (USA) * playing tonight (6/6 on the Flynn Main Stage
Vorcza: A Call for all Demons / Corner of the Morning / (self-produced) 2005 – (MADE IN VT) * playing 6/8 at Red Square, 8pm
Catherine Russell: Slow as Molasses / Inside This Heart of Mine / World Village 468092 – (USA) * playing 6/8 at the Flynn Space
Les Doigts de L’Homme: Les Doigts dans La Prise / Les Doigts dans La Prise / Cristal Records 2008 – (FRANCE) * playing 6/12 at the Flynn Space
Guagua: Riff / Tres / 2009 (MADE IN VT) *playing 6/7 at Radio Bean, 6pm

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