Catherine Russell

Nov. 14
7 p.m.
Blues, Jazz, Singer-Songwriter

Vintage-sounding jazz/blues vocalist Catherine Russell didn’t launch her solo career until she was 50, but by then she had three decades of experience singing backup for the likes of Steely Dan, David Bowie, and Rosanne Cash. She also inherited a rich musical legacy as the daughter of pianist Luis Russell, Louis Armstrong’s longtime music director, and guitarist/bassist Carline Ray, who played with the groundbreaking International Sweethearts of Rhythm. Both her parents were closely associated with Harlem’s music scene in the ’30s and ’40s, in part inspiring her latest album, Harlem on My Mind, a tribute to black artists who played Harlem’s Apollo Theatre back then. Russell evokes the era with her marvelously expressive amber voice, painting emotions with sly phrasing and vibrant tonal colors. Her core trio and a cluster of horns whip up classic, sprightly arrangements that slink through sultry blues like “You’ve Got the Right Key But the Wrong Keyhole,” swing with sizzling intensity on “Swing! Brother Swing!,” and sidle through lustrous jazz ballads like “Don’t Take Your Love From Me,” featuring 100-year-old Fred Staton on tenor saxophone.