A one-woman reclamation project for classic jazz, blues and r&b from the ’20s to the ’50s, Russell likes to have a good time, and her mood was infectious.
Russell’s reading of Al Hibbler’s classic ballad of seduction “After The Lights Go Down Low" yielded her biggest ovation of the night, as she delivered a pleading, testifying, flat-out sexy performance that seemed to raise the temperature in the room by several degrees.
A friend of mine turned me on to this Johnny Otis tune," she said, introducing the nearly forgotten 1952 Esther Phillips hit “Aged And Mellow." The friend was her sometime boss Donald Fagen, who showed up to catch the evening’s second show. The song’s hook—“I like my men like I like my whiskey/ Aged and mellow"—elicited a big laugh and a round of applause. Played at a leisurely pace, the tune was a convincing advertisement for the pleasures of slowing the damn thing down, as well as a showcase for Russell’s dramatic talents.
— Allen Morrison, Downbeat