StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Catherine Russell has Harlem on her mind


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This week, StLJN's video spotlight shines on singer Catherine Russell, who will be returning to St. Louis to perform Wednesday, November 16 through Saturday, November 19 at Jazz at the Bistro.

Russell, lauded as one of the most gifted contemporary interpreters of vintage jazz and blues songs, will be making her first St. Louis appearance since her debut as a headliner here in 2014 at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

It's been an eventful year for Russell, who in July released her sixth album as a leader, Harlem On My Mind, which is “comprised of songs from artists who played at The Apollo in Harlem, where all African American artists of note appeared."

In addition to touring this summer and fall in support of the new album, she was featured in an episode of the public TV series American Songbook and performed at the 2016 Brit Awards as part of a tribute to the late David Bowie, with whom she toured as a backup singer for nearly a decade. Russell also performed at the 2016 NEA Jazz Masters award ceremony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and in April was featured on NPR’s “Jazz Night In America.”

To wrap up the year, next month she'll serve as guest vocalist for Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra on their annual “Big Band Holidays" tour, which won't make it to St. Louis but will include a stop in Columbia, MO for a performance presented by the We Always Swing concert series.

Right now, though, you can take a look at some videos of recent Russell performances recorded since her last St. Louis appearance, starting with some material from Harlem On My Mind.

Today's first three clips come from Russell's visit last month to the studios of radio station KNKX in Tacoma, WA, beginning up above with “Swing Brother Swing," originally made famous by Billie Holiday, and followed after the jump by “You've Got The Right Key But The Wrong Keyhole" and “You're My Thrill" from the same session.

Below that, you'll find two songs that Russell recorded during a previous visit to the station in 2015, “Bring It Back" and “Darktown Strutters' Ball".

The final two clips, recorded in 2014 at Berklee School of Music in Boston, show Russell interpreting some Chicago-style blues as she sings Howlin' Wolf's “Spoonful" and Muddy Waters’ “Trouble No More”.

For more about Catherine Russell, check out London Jazz News' review of Harlem On My Mind; her performance earlier this year on “Jazz Night in America"; and this recent Q&A with Hollywood Soapbox.com.

You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
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