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Strictly Romancin' Import

4.8 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Strictly Romancin, Catherine Russell s fourth album for World Village, is a paean to natural attractions: to a lover, an art form, to one s family heritage. Our heroine explores love s foibles, failures and bliss, from amorous to humorous. This acclaimed vocalist embodies the lost art of song savvy, inhabiting the lyric and allowing each melody to shine. On this fourteen song collection, Russell takes us on a journey from Harlem dance hall to Parisian Café, from Store Front Church to Uptown Cabaret blurring distinctions between the carnal and the eternal in a musical tour-de-force. For these sessions, Russell reunites with the team from her previous chart-topping album Inside This Heart of Mine, including recording engineer Katherine Miller, producer Paul Kahn and Musical Director/Guitarist/Banjoist/Arranger Matt Munisteri, who contributes his expansive vision to the project.

Review

A masterful singer who knows how to inject her own personality into the heart of a great song. And as she shows with Luci, she s capable of writing a nuanced, alluring number herself. --The Philadelphia Inquirer

Russell sings in a marvelously full, rich alto and hangs just a hint of a blue scrim over her cheerful, straight-shooting, girl-next-door innocence. Her haunting version of No More with its '50s-modern arrangement, is easily as good as Billie Holiday's. --Paul de Barros, The Seattle Times

Catherine Russell is one of the most exciting talents among new jazz singers. --Jeff Simon, Buffalo News
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 14, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: February 14, 2012
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: WORLD VILLAGE
  • ASIN: B0065HDLY4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,533 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 14, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Catherine Russell (or 'Cat' Russell as she is apparently known to her friends) is nothing short of a phenomenon. She is not only a fine artist: she is a communicator. Her brand of jazz is a happy throw back to those evening of jazz in clubs that just made you dance. Everything about what Catherine Russell sings is a performance filled with the highest quality musicianship and a great scoop of fun.

She knows how to take a melody and make it fly, and she knows when a sweet tune should be simple and touch the soul. And she even takes a bow to the gospel signature songs and makes them completely her own. How she covers so much territory in one fine CD is beyond description. Yes,,she has fine back-up from a jazz quartet (Matt Munisteri, guitar and banjo, Mark Shane, piano, Lee Hudson, bass, and Mark McLean, drums) and on some of the songs she calls on assistance from vocalist Carline Ray, or John Aldred, trombone, and Dan Block, clarinet.

The songs one this CD are as follows: Under the Spell of the Blues, I'm in the Mood for Love, Wake up and Live, Ev'ntide, Romance in the Dark, I'm Checking Out, Goom'bye, No More, Satchel Mouth Baby, Everything's Benn Done Before, Don't Leave Me, I Haven't Changed a Thing, Everybody Loves M Baby, He's All I Need, and Whatcha Gonna Do When There Ain't No Swing? Her selection of songs coupled with her glowing and sophisticated performances make this new album one that was well worth the wait. Cat Russell is a bit of a miracle. Dance! Grady Harp, February 12
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If "Strictly Romancin'" doesn't wake you and make you happy, there's something wrong with you. Catherine "Cat" Russell is a musical treasure, a classic jazz singer with great intelligence and feeling whose parents were jazz musicians and scholars. Her tone is bright and clear, her phrasing light and nimble. Her band supports her perfectly with crisp, witty, swinging arrangements that never fail to raise a smile.

The 14-track album kicks off with "Under the Spell of the Blues," a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald in her early days with the Chick Webb Orchestra. There are many more nods to great jazz women like Lil Green ("Romance in the Dark"), Kay Starr ("I Haven't Changed A Thing"), Abbey Lincoln ("No More"), and Mary Lou Williams ("Satchel Mouth Baby"), with whom Russell's mother worked.

Cat performs a couple of standards, like "I'm in the Mood for Love," but with most of the songs she reaches back to rescue and rejuvenate some wonderful if lesser-known gems from the past, such as Cab Calloway's "Wake Up and Live" and Hoagy Carmichael's "Ev'ntide," originally performed by Louis Armstrong (Russell's father played with Satchmo for a number of years). Perhaps my favorite is the irresistably bouncy "Everybody Loves My Baby," first recorded by Armstrong in 1924 and later by the Boswell Sisters. "Strictly Romancin'" isn't just jazz, though; besides Tin Pan Alley numbers, Catherine duets with her 86-year-old mom on a gospel tune, Sister Rosetta Tharpe's "He's All I Need."

Russell has released an album every two years since 2006, when she turned 50 and stopped working as a back-up singer for the likes of David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, and Rosanne Cash.
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Format: MP3 Music
The thing about Catherine Russell that makes her great is that for her it's all about the song. Too many singers think each recording is an opportunity to show off their prowess with vocal pyrotechnics. Cat certainly has a powerful instrument - check out Don't Leave Me if you doubt that. But she truly cares first about the music she performs and lets it shine, using a real artist's sensibility to bring out the nuances. Listen to her superbly understated I'm in the Mood for Love here and you'll know what I mean.
As always, she surrounds herself with world-class players and gives them plenty of room to do their thing; she knows when to stay out of the way. And they all know exactly what to do. It's been too long since I heard stellar trombone work - thank you, John Allred!
The absolute gem of this album has to be He's All I Need, a great old Sister Rosetta Tharpe gospel tune done to perfection as a duet with Carline Ray - vocalist, bassist, Julliard graduate, and, incidentally, Cat's mother.
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By Rick H on February 18, 2012
Format: Audio CD
This is a wonderful album. Catherine's singing speaks clearly to the listener and just makes you feel good all over, she tells a clear story to the heart with every song be it sad or happy. On the standards, nobody today can sing as rhythmically and keep a melody moving forward like Catherine Russell. I love the way she can be a part of the rhythm like the best solo jazz horn players and swing like Ella and Anita O'Day and Peggy Lee and many others. Those are some heavy hitters, but Catherine IS in their league in every way. On the blues, she is a modern-day Billie Holiday. I would have loved to hear Catherine perform with, for example, the late Joe Williams, that would be an awesome sound together. She is that good. Buy this album, it will be played a lot.
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I've listened to this CD now countless times. Catherine Russel's voice is divine. I'd heard her interview on Fresh Air with Terry Gross and was struck with how much I enjoyed the music she was singing and her story. I'm 29 and dont typically listen to music like this but the CD really amazed me. It relaxes me like nothing else. It is simply a wonderful CD and she is truly an artist.
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