Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lady sings the blues and a whole lot more

Singing sensation Catherine Russell is all soul


By SABINA DANA PLASSE
Express Staff Writer

Catherine Russell will perform a mid-winter cabaret evening at the nexStage Theatre on Saturday, Feb. 20. Photo by

Any jazz or blues aficionado should not miss Catherine Russell's upcoming performance at the nexStage Theatre, presented by The Sun Valley Center for the Arts on Saturday, Feb. 20, at 7:30 p.m. with piano accompaniment by Mark Shane. Russell is the real deal and emulates the soulful sounds of Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee and Judy Garland. She can do it all.

"I have many influences," Russell said. "I grew up singing classics from American songbooks to jazz."

Russell was born into music. Her father was musical director for Louis Armstrong during the '30s and '40s and she grew up listening to Armstrong. Her mother was an accomplished bassist and vocalist with advanced degrees from Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music.

"I am always on a mission to find songs that have not been heard by artists who were not Top 10," she said. "I want to preserve those songs so people can hear more of them."

Russell's career has led her to travel abroad and around the U.S., playing large jazz festivals and music halls and intimate settings similar to her performance at the nexStage.

"I have released my third album," Russell said. "I have worked with many different artists for more than 30 years."

Russell has toured the world performing and recording with Paul Simon, David Bowie, Steely Dan, Cyndi Lauper, Jackson Browne and Rosanne Cash. Her career highlights include live performances at major events including the Chicago Blues Festival, the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Kennedy Center and the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

"It's very important to involve younger people and have them know the origins of American music," she said. "We do swing dances, which is good clean fun, and I see a lot of young folks jitterbugging and Lindy hopping."

Russell plans to sing a mix of blues, jazz, ballads and American songbook classics. She said the music will be interactive and toe-tapping with a little bit of traditional cabaret, but not too dreamy.

Tickets are sold by the table (tables of two or four) or individually. Individual tickets are $38 and include a ticket for one drink. A table for two is $75, which includes a bottle of wine or champagne. A table for four is $150, which includes two bottles of wine or champagne. Food and drink including beer and water will be for sale to all patrons. For tickets, visit sunvalleycenter.org, call 726-9491 or stop by The Center in Ketchum.

Sabina Dana Plasse: splasse@mtexpress.com




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