Catherine Russell packed the house at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley on this summer night, taking us back to a time where you listened to the songs and smiled in their simplicity.
Back in 2012, I first heard Catherine Russell perform at Benaroya Hall in Seattle as a member of an ensemble that presented the “American Beauty Project” covering classic songs of the Grateful Dead. Her range and styling’s of some of my favorite Dead tunes were impressive. As I learned more about Russell, I found that she has been singing backup for an impressive list of artists including Paul Simon, David Bowie, Steely Dan and Madonna.
This evening, she was here in Seattle to perform songs from her current record album ‘Bring It Back’ which highlights many of the songs that were sung by one of the greatest ever, Louis Armstrong. Of note, Russell’s father, Luis Russell, was a bandleader for Armstrong in the 1940’s. Opening the performance was her excellent trio featuring Matt Ministerial on guitar, Tal Ronen on upright bass, and Mark Shane on piano.
The songs sung were from the 1920’s to 1950’s, a wonderful mix of jazzy blues written by some of the greats. Songs written by Wynonie Harris, Al Hibbler, WC Handy, Hoggie Carmichael, Fats Waller, Jerome Kern, Roger Hammerstein, Jimmy Van Huesen, Irving Berlin and Sister Roberta Trarpe. One in particular song that Russell sang was Pearl Bailey’s “I’m Lazy, That’s All” which she claimed best described herself. I doubt that as Russell put in a stunning performance that closed with a standing ovation.
Here is a link to her webpage: http://www.catherinerussell.net
More photos of the show can be found HERE