Catherine Russell's Sentimental Streak

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[Review: Music]

On "Sentimental Streak" Catherine Russell and her swinging band -- Mark Shane or Larry Ham (piano), Lee Hudson (bass), and Matt Munisteri (guitar, banjo), augmented by James Wormworth (drums), Larry Campbell (guitars, mandolin, violin), Steven Bernstein (trumpet), Howard Johnson (tuba), Erik Lawrence (saxes), Rachelle Garniez (accordion), Byron Isaacs (bass), Brian Mitchell (piano) -- have distilled the robust, good-time essence of Southern juke joints and lindy-hopping Northern dance halls, where confessing the blues was as good for the soul as getting frisky in the first place.

The material, heard in arrangements inspired by Chick Webb, Hoagy Carmichael, Louis Armstrong, Willie Dixon, Frank Sinatra, and Catherine's own father, Luis Russell, and much of it originally associated with legends like Bessie Smith, Alberta Hunter, Nellie Lutcher, Pearl Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, and Lena Horne, harks back to tales of lusty, big-hearted women who knew what was what and spoke out accordingly.

Universal vignettes speak of how little time there is for what really matters, a sensuously unrepentant lady of leisure, a woman lamenting the loss of the culinary (and other!) talents of a departing lover and, memorably, of being caught in the clutches of ruinous vamp named Luci. Guided by the keen touch of Larry Campbell, Catherine’s glorious voice once again reigns supreme, making every note count as she lovingly animates fourteen indelible songs with timeless appeal.

The critical raves that greeted Cat (2006 -- WV 468063), Catherine Russell’s debut album on World Village, have understandably raised the bar for this, her sophomore CD. But from track one, it’s obvious that this impassioned and versatile vocalist is more than equal to the challenge! Born in New York City, Catherine's late father, Luis Russell, was Louis Armstrong’s longtime musical director while her mother, Carline Ray, vocalist, bassist, and a graduate of Julliard, has performed with Mary Lou Williams and Wynton Marsalis. Cat attended Music And Art High School and graduated with honors from the American Academy Of Dramatic Arts.

She has performed and/or recorded with Paul Simon, Steely Dan, Cyndi Lauper, Joan Osborne, Madonna, Jackson Browne, Rosanne Cash, and David Bowie, among others, and participated in several gold-and-platinum selling recordings. Since the release of Cat, Catherine has taken her show-stopping intensity to major events like Tanglewood Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, and Chicago Blues Festival, while appearing on the nationally syndicated Tavis Smiley Show on PBS-TV, Mountain Stage Radio Show, and JazzSet on NPR. Cat spent weeks on JazzWeeks national airplay chart while one of its tracks, Back O Town Blues, reached the top Ten on I-Tunes Jazz Chart..."a fresh and original voice. 'Cat' is the most exciting debut album I've heard in a long time." (Will Friedwald/The New York Sun). "Sentimental Streak" was recorded Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, NY and produced by multi-instrumentalist/producer Larry Campbell (Bob Dylan, Levon Helm, Willie Nelson, Ollabelle, Marie Knight).



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