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Press Releases


From backup singer to '21st-century jazz diva' ... all in her 50s

NCSU Center Stage presents Catherine Russell, daughter of Louis Armstrong's long-time musical director


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 11, 2014 – NC State University, Raleigh NC


MEDIA CONTACT: Mark Tulbert, mktulber@ncsu.edu
919-513-3028 (direct line, not for publication)


PRESS PHOTOS: http://www.ncsu.edu/arts/media/gallery.html


For over three decades, Catherine Russell has had a career as a backup singer for artists like Steely Dan, David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, Michael Feinstein, Levon Helm and Rosanne Cash.


It wasn’t until 2006 – at age 50 – that she released her first solo album as a jazz and blues singer.


Vocalist Catherine Russell is a native New Yorker, born into musical royalty. Her father, the late Luis Russell, was a legendary pianist/composer/bandleader, and Louis Armstrong's long-time musical director. Her mother, Carline Ray, was a pioneering vocalist/guitarist/bassist who performed with the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Mary Lou Williams and Ruth Brown.


Russell’s 2006 debut album, Cat, garnered rave reviews, paving the way for her 2008 sophomore release, Sentimental Streak. She was a guest on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, the Tavis Smiley show on PBS, and NPR's Fresh Air, Piano Jazz, Mountain Stage, World Café and JazzSet. Russell has won a prestigious German Record Critics' Award and a Living Blues magazine's critics' poll.


Catherine Russell's third album, Inside This Heart of Mine, reached #1 on JazzWeek and Roots Music Report’s radio charts, while also charting on Billboard and reaching #1 on iTunes jazz charts.

A fourth album, Strictly Romancin’, was released in February 2012, and was awarded Prix du Jazz Vocal (Vocal Album of The Year) by the French Jazz Academy, Grand Prix du Hot Club de France, and a Bistro Award for Outstanding Recording. Also in 2012, Catherine Russell won a Grammy Award as a featured artist on the soundtrack album for the HBO series, Boardwalk Empire.


In 2013, Catherine contributed three songs to the soundtrack of the film, Kill Your Darlings.


Her fifth solo album, Bring It Back, was released worldwide in February 2014 on the Jazz Village label. The praise is rolling in, with a five-star review in DownBeat leading the way. As described by writer Allen Morrison, “On Bring It Back, [Russell] reinvigorates songs from three eras – the Jazz Age, the Swing Era and the r&b era – with equal fervor, accompanied by a sparkling tentet that transforms the tunes from museum pieces into modern-sounding vehicles for jazz expression….Catherine Russell turns in her most fully realized vocal performances to date – by turns sassy, sexy, humorous, reflective and joyous.”


Catherine Russell’s repertoire features a selection of gems from the 1920s through the present; vital interpretations, bursting with soul and humor. With an off-the-beaten-path song selection, sparkling acoustic swing, and a stunning vocal approach, Russell has joined the ranks of the greatest interpreters and performers of American Popular Song.


Tickets and Show Times
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Two sets: 5pm & 8pm
Titmus Theatre, 2241 Dunn Ave, Raleigh (NC State University)

Box office: 919-515-1100 or online: go.ncsu.edu/cat
$18-$28, $5 NC State students


Label Press Site



Artist Website



Press Quotes

“With a voice that wails like a horn and whispers like the snake in the Garden of Eden, she’s finally claiming her place in the pantheon of 21st-century jazz divas.” – NPR


“Her singing is drenched in emotion, drama, experience and pure swing.” – The Wall Street Journal