Concert Preview: Catherine Russell Returns to Jazz Alley

by Paul de Barros, jazz critic Seattle Times

"Catherine Russell, who plays Jazz Alley Thursday-Sunday (Oct. 6-9), has just released a fine new album, “Harlem on My Mind," which presents a brace of smartly selected vintage tunes such as Fats Waller’s “Blue Turning Grey Over You," Benny Carter’s “When Lights Are Low" and Clarence Williams’ hilarious double entendre, “You’ve Got the Right Key But the Wrong Keyhole."

Russell has a leg up when it comes to jazz history. She is the daughter of band leader Luis Russell, whose band featured Louis Armstrong for years, and guitarist and vocalist Carline Ray, who played with the International Sweethearts of Rhythm. But it’s her talent, not her lineage, that carries this album. Thanks to the clarity and theatricality of her delivery, and what appears to be an innate emotional honesty, Russell inhabits these tunes so plausibly they feel simultaneously old and new, never falling into the cutesy tone that so often makes old songs feel like curiosities in an antique shop."

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Concert preview
Catherine Russell
7:30 p.m. Thursday-Sunday (Oct. 6-9) with 9:30 p.m. sets Friday and Saturday, at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave., Seattle; $31.50 (206-441-9729 or