April 2008

Catherine Russell - Sentimental Streak
World Village 468075
Format: CD
Released: 2008

by Shannon Holliday

Musical Performance ****
Recording Quality ****
Overall Enjoyment ****

Vocalist Catherine Russell has what it takes -- and then some -- to draw the right kind of attention: worthy pipes, plenty of sass and class, and tasteful song selection alongside the ability to pen good original numbers. Her sophomore release, Sentimental Streak, blends jazz, blues and R&B into a knockout concoction that is sure to prick up the ears of those who listen. The songs featured here draw on the influence and catalog of sultry torch singers, blues divas, and Old Blue Eyes himself, all dished up like treasures unearthed from the deep. But it’s Russell’s spot-on delivery and confident grasp of the songs that packs the true punch.

Closer study reveals that Ms. Russell’s talents should come as no surprise. Her father, Luis Russell, played piano in the 1920s alongside legends such as Hoagy Carmichael and Louis Armstrong (and songs from all three men are included on Sentimental Streak); her mother, Carline Ray, was a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and Julliard graduate. From her take on "Kitchen Man" to "My Old Daddy’s Got a Brand New Way to Love," many of the songs on Sentimental Streak are playful, flirtatious and bawdy -- so much so that the disc should really be subtitled "With a Hint of Humor."

Take the hint and take a listen to this fabulously funny, jazzy disc.