Catherine Russell digs deep and a new jazz standard is set!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
A dynamic exploration of great American music as well as her own lyrical roots, Catherine Russell is set to drop a new standard for jazz vocalists on Feb. 11. Bring It Back is an introspective look at the earliest days of improvisational music with the smoldering passion that is a deeply personal connection to her pioneering mother and jazz vocalist Carline Ray. Sadly Catherine's mother left us shortly after the completion of this stellar recording but her legacy lives on through the artistic triumph of her daughter. The inspiration of her father and former Louis Armstrong band member Luis Russell is never far from the forefront as Russell does a lyrical exploratory on what is indeed the roots music of this great country.
Despite the obvious pain of the loss of her mother there is an unbridled optimism that permeates Bring It Back which is not a melancholy look back but a celebratory look ahead. Swing, that ever present intangible that much like love is hard to describe but oh so easy to feel is the silent but deep river of soulful expression running just below the surface as the ten piece orchestra raises the stakes with a harmonic groove that is nothing but fine. The Russell spark ignited the 1952 Johnny Otis number "Aged and Mellow" while her emotional shell is gently pealed back with the Duke Ellington tune "I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart."
This is a personal if not slightly conceptual release. Caroline Ray's Vocal Sides was released shortly before her death and this sublime release may well serve as the catalyst for what may well stand up as the best vocal release for 2014. I know it is early but...it is what it is.
Catherine Russell does not need an arsenal of runs and tricks to sell a tune, she crawls inside a song and gets comfortable with the listener invited along for the ride. A singer is someone that can find pitch. A vocal artist tells stories and takes you along for the ride. Catherine Russell is a vocal artist.
Tracks: Bring It Back; I'm Shooting High; I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart; You Got To Swing and Sway; Aged and Mellow; The Darktown Strutters Ball; Lucille; You've Got Me Under Your Thumb; After The Lights Are Low; I'm Sticking With You Baby; Strange As It Seems; Public Melody Number One; I Cover The Waterfront
Personnel: Catherine Russell: Vocal, Percussion (6,10), Horn Arrangement (5); Matt Munisteri: Guitar, Arranger (6,8); Lee Hudson: Bass (Except 6); Mark McLean: Drums, Percussion (6); Andy Farber; Tenor Saxophone, Arranger (1,2,3,7,12,13); Jon-Erik Kellso: Trumpet, Horn Arrangement (4); Brian Pareschi: Trumpet (Except 1); Dan Block: Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone (5), Clarinet (4); John Allred: Trombone; Mark Lopeman: Baritone Saxophone; Nicki Parrott: Bass (6); Glenn Patscha: Hammond B-3 Organ (6,9,10).