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 International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Mary Lou Williams, and Sy Oliver. Catherine’s professional life began early. After graduating with honors from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, she toured and recorded with Carrie Smith, Steely Dan, David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, Michael Feinstein, Levon Helm, and Rosanne Cash, among others, appearing on over 200 albums.
Her 2006 debut album Cat, (World Village/Harmonia Mundi), garnered rave reviews, paving the way for her 2008 sophomore release, Sentimental Streak. Catherine was a guest on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, PBS-TV’s Tavis Smiley Show, and NPR's Fresh Air, Piano Jazz, Mountain Stage, World Café, and Jazz Night in America. She has won a prestigious German Record Critics' Award and a Living Blues magazine critics' poll. Catherine Russell's third album, Inside This Heart of Mine, reached #1 on JazzWeek and Roots Music Report 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-TV 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, receiving a five-star review in DownBeat. In September 2016, Catherine Russell released her sixth solo album, titled Harlem On My Mind, featuring songs from the Great African American Songbook, receiving a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Her seventh album as a leader, Alone Together, was released in March 2019 on Dot Time Records, held the #1 position on the JazzWeek 2019 Year End Chart for national airplay and received her second Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Also in 2019, Catherine appeared in the feature film Bolden, and contributed vocals to the soundtrack album by Wynton Marsalis. She appears as featured vocalist on three tracks on Big Band Holidays II, accompanied by Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.
With universal acclaim, Catherine Russell has performed on four continents. She's been a hit at major jazz festivals including Monterey, Newport, North Sea, JazzAscona, Montreal, Bern, Rochester International, Panama, Tanglewood, and at sold-out venues like the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; Scullers in Boston, the Dakota in Minneapolis, Jazz at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York City, SFJAZZ in San Francisco, and Pasadena Pops in Los Angeles. All Music Guide says, "Russell emerged as a retro old school vocalist for the ages."
Her 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, Catherine Russell has joined the ranks of the greatest interpreters and performers of American Popular Song.