Catherine Russell Concert and Festival Review Clips

Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival Sept 6, 2014

the highlight was Catherine Russell, a strong, Grammy-winning singer who delivered 30's, 40's, and 50's tunes with classy, sometimes sensual and belting vocals
— Daily Gazette, David Singer

San Jose Summer Fest August 10, 2014 of the Fest's standout performances. Nearly everyone we ran into who had a chance to see her perform raved, with most admitting she had the best set of Summer Fest.
— San Jose Summer Fest, Brandon E. Ross

Catherine Russell ruled the roost, delivering a typical revelatory set.
— Jazz Times, Andrew Gilbert

Rochester International Jazz Festival June 23, 2014

Fest favorite Catherine Russell brought her typical, fun-loving stage presence, a rare and deep understanding of the jazz and blues traditions, and a wonderful robust voice." - Rochester — Democrat and Chronicle, Jack Garner

a clear Jazz Fest crowd favorite, patrons packed wall to wall...Russell's strong, soulful voice was near perfection.
— Rochester City Newspaper

Monterey Jazz Festival Sept 22, 2012

Singer Catherine Russell was a charmer on the Garden Stage, delivering classic blues and swing tunes with relaxed hear echoes of Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington. And Bessie Smith: Russell sang "Kitchen Man" with salacious swagger, and the audience responded. Couples were laughing, embracing and dancing under the stars.
— San Jose Mercury News

Catherine Russell at Jazz at Lincoln Center Allen Room March 30-31, 2012
Jazz Lives: Catherine Russell Welcomes Us In by Michael Steinman

…an astonishing singer, if you haven’t guessed by now. She has a perfectly placed voice, with power and depth but a kind of reedy intensity (she can sound like an alto saxophone but more often she reminded me of a whole reed section coming out of her long lithe frame). Her sound is sweet yet pungent. She has great dramatic intensity but she never seems as if she’s “acting." From somewhere inside the song, she lights the way, matching her readings of lyrics and melody exactly to the emotions . . . making familiar songs feel roomy and new. And rhythm bubbles up through her — she was always in motion, rollicking around the stage, expertly dancing, embodying joy in person.

Woman Around Town: Catherine Russell Resonates by Alix Cohen

The gifted Catherine Russell brought a little big band of ten musicians to The Allen Room Saturday night, featuring brass and reed artists whose musical vocabulary is taut and well honed. She also brought a singular jazz/swing sensibility rooted in the 1920s through 1940s. The show, inspired by recordings from the period by her father, Luis Russell, and Louis Armstrong*, though performed with fidelity, sounds singularly fresh.
Catherine Russell can be counted on for vocal excellence, really interesting material and infectious performance pleasure.

Discover Jazz Festival, Burlington, Vermont June 8, 2011

Catherine Russell sings the blues (and jazz, and soul…)
By Brent Hallenbeck, Burlington (VT) Free Press

It’s so rare to hear a singer who excels in a variety of styles and knows how to entertain a crowd without being cheesy or fake. The standing-room-only show tonight in FlynnSpace by Catherine Russell veered from upbeat energy on numbers such as the Fats Waller tune “We the People" to the dark, slinky old-school jazz of Peggy Lee’s “All the Cats Join In" and even a flashback to one of last year’s Burlington Discover Jazz Festival stars, the soulful spitfire Sharon Jones, on the humorous “Quiet Whiskey." Russell, in fact, was humorous all night, dispensing little bits of light-hearted wisdom between songs ("My mama says there’s only two kinds of music – good and bad," said the daughter of singer/instrumentalist Carline Ray and the late Louis Armstrong collaborator Luis Russell). Her backing group – Mark Shane on piano, Lee Hudson on bass and Matt Munisteri on guitar – was stellar, and Munisteri’s banjo picking on the Howlin’ Wolf/Willie Dixon tune “Spoonful" put the crowd right on a porch along the Mississippi.

Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, July 1-2, 2008, Place des Arts, opening for Steely Dan

Steely Dan's Think Fast tour selling out two nights at Place des Arts' Salle 3000-seat Wilfrid-Pelletier theater, combined with the festival's broad international audience, makes getting the opening act slot a very high visibility gig. Singer Catherine Russell's set was high on quality and more than a little retro on material...a fine, relaxed opener that set the mood for an audience clearly pumped to be there to see The Dan...exhibiting a strong voice and solid interpretive skills on a set that included material ranging from classic Hoagy Charmichael to early Grateful Dead. Russell's delivery was emotive without going over the top, and she engaged the audience with a playful presence. With the world filled with female jazz singers, Catherine Russell's song choices were what separated her from the crowd. Her opening performance for Steely Dan was enjoyable, and should garner her some new fans along the way."
— John Kelman,

Rochester International Jazz Festival, Kilbourn Hall, June 21, 2008

the knockout show of last year's jazz festival...vocalist with vintage appeal Catherine Russell."
Catherine's back
"...Russell won over the overflow crowds with her effusive personality and evocative vocals that made longtime jazz enthusiasts sigh: "Ella's back."
— Jeff Spevak, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Mary Lou Williams Women In Jazz Festival at The Kennedy Center, May 15, 2008

vocalist Catherine Russell's standout performance...the evening belonged to Russell, a wonderfully charismatic performer with a show-stopping voice and an unabashedly old-fashioned repertoire. She paid tribute to Bessie Smith ("Kitchen Man"), Dinah Washington ("My Man's an Undertaker") and Pearl Bailey ("I'm Lazy, That's All") with the requisite power, sass and charm."
— Mike Joyce, The Washington Post

Vocalist Catherine Russell followed by taking it up a notch or three with her highly entertaining set of off-the-beaten-track ballads, blues and novelty numbers. Backed by a hard-swinging trio, Russell got big laughs with her playful timing and suggestive double entendres on Bessie Smith’s “Kitchen Man" and Dinah Washington’s “My Man’s An Undertaker." She also demonstrated finesse and hip phrasing on Rachelle Garniez’s “Broken Nose" and “There’s So Little Time," written by her late father Luis Russell for Louis Armstrong. By the end of her set, Russell had the audience eating out of the palm of her hand. This lady’s got the goods.
— Larry Applebaum, JazzTimes

Orpheum Theater, Boston, MA, March 1, 2008 opening for Levon Helm

In a sensational opening set, Catherine Russell proved to be one of the most dynamic, ruggedly powerful live acts in modern roots music...she consistently found the hot center of both jazz and blues.
— Daniel Gewertz, Boston Herald

Joe's Pub at The Public Theater, NY, NY January 12, 2008

Russell exhibited a stunning control of dynamics and embodied soulfulness. She swayed and danced gently as she threw herself fully into the lyrics, alternately belting and finessing as required. She was masterful at conveying mood.
— Jeff Tamarkin,

Cabaret Convention, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Rose Hall, NY, NY

A real surprise was Catherine Russell who, with "Darn That Dream", avoided embroidery by revealing the purity of Jimmy Van Heusen's lyric and the melodic grace of Eddie de Lange's infectious tune. For a show-stopping post script, Russell tackled the amusing double entendres of Andy Razaf's salty blues, "Kitchen Man.
— Robert L. Daniels, VARIETY, Nov. 5, 2007

American Beauty Project, New York, NY, January 2007

Catherine Russell...was the concert's discovery...wistful, sultry rhythm and blues. She sang "New Speedway Boogie" over a jazzy bass a skeletal arrangement that only heightened the song's philosophical reflections.
— Jon Pareles, New York Times, January 22, 2007

Tulip Festival, Albany, NY, May 2007

The main stage featured contemporary trumpet master Chris Botti and jazz/blues singers Kevin Mahogany and Catherine Russell. Sassy jazz and smoky torch songs were Russell's forte, and she showed she's good at what she does. The big-voiced singer did well with the rollicking "My Man's An Undertaker" and the lovely "Put Me Down Easy".
— Michael Lisi, Albany Times Union

Tanglewood Jazz Festival 2006, Lenox, MA, Johnny Mercer Tribute:

Dr. John’s set was a feel-good mix of classics from his own book and Johnny Mercer’s. Singers Ann Hampton Callaway, Catherine Russell (daughter of Louis Armstrong’s onetime musical director, Luis Russell ), John Pizzarelli and Irma Thomas took turns joining him for the latter, with Russell outshining the others with her solo version of “Moon River" and her duet with Dr. John on the comic “Save the Bones for Henry Jones.
— Bill Beuttler, JazzTimes

Syracuse Jazz Festival 2006, Syracuse, NY

The New York City native wowed the crowd with her deep, rich, powerful voice...she's a star in the making.
— Mark Bialczak, The Post-Standard

Catherine Russell was absolutely incredible. She stole the show and blew everyone away.
— Frank Malfitano, Festival Director, Syracuse Jazz Festival

Lotus Festival 2006: Bloomington, Indiana

...a few unique performances stood out at the annual Lotus Festival, which drew record-setting crowds in its 13th year. Catherine Russell, a blues and jazz singer who performed at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater Friday, delivered one of those performances. Her cool attitude and off-beat lyrics, including the song "My Man's An Undertaker", made for a great crowd pleaser. Russell brought her first solo album, Cat, and within minutes after her concert, it had sold out.
— Lindsey Landis, Indiana Daily

Freihofer's Jazz Fest 2006, Saratoga Springs, NY

Catherine Russell was an R&B hit...with class and a strong flexible voice.
R.J. DeLuke,

JVC-NY Jazz Festival 2005, Rose Hall at Jazz at Lincoln Center, NY, NY, Tribute to Doc Cheatham:

It was opening night of the JVC-New York Jazz Festival...sweet, bright, lyrical music, with swing's sharpening edge. The singer Catherine Russell joined the band for 'I Cover The Waterfront' and others...
— Ben Ratliff, New York Times

Concert to honor the launch of Yip Harburg Postage Stamp 2005:

Catherine Russell's musicality, vocal beauty, versatility and power; her deep understanding of lyrics and ability to make them her own, her brilliance joining lyrics and music together in song are unsurpassed in my judgment.
— Ernie Harburg, President, Yip Harburg Foundation

Charlie Parker Jazz Festival 2002, NY, NY:

Russell was electrifying with a big, sometimes gospel-tinged voice, and a highly rhythmic delivery.
— Ira Gitler, JazzTimes

Catherine Russell immediately established herself as one of the great acts in the ten years that I was associated with the festival. While fully conversant and respectful with the jazz tradition, Catherine brings her own voice and aesthetic to the music... one of the great vocalists of her time."
— Sam Turvey, Director 1993-2002 - Charlie Parker Jazz Festival