Published 01/09/12

President's Cultural Series presents jazz vocalist Catherine Russell

SMITHFIELD, R.I.  (Jan. 9, 2012) -- Vocalist Catherine Russell, known worldwide as a unique interpreter of American jazz and blues classics, will perform at Bryant University's Janikes Theater at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9. The performance is part of the University's President's Cultural Series.

Tickets are free to Smithfield residents (limit of two tickets), $10 for the general public, $5 in advance for Bryant alumni ($10 at the door), $5 for non-Bryant students and teachers (with I.D.), and complimentary for Bryant students, faculty and staff. For information or to reserve tickets, call (401) 531-6661.

Critic Nat Hentoff considers Russell "the real thing" among a crowded field of jazz singers "who couldn't last through a chorus in a contest with Ella Fitzgerald or Betty Carter." Russell's roots in the music business are deep: Her father, the late Luis Russell, was a pioneering pianist, composer, bandleader and Louis Armstrong's long-time side-kick. Her mother, Carline Ray, is a bassist, guitarist and vocalist who has performed with Mary Lou Williams and the International Sweethearts of Rhythm.

After graduating with honors from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Russell set out to establish a musical career. When not singing with Carrie Smith, Steely Dan, David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, Michael Feinstein, or Rosanne Cash, Russell can often be heard performing solo at jazz clubs and arts centers around the world. Her fourth solo recording, Strictly Romancin', will be released Feb. 14 by World Village/Harmonia Mundi. She also can be heard performing "Crazy Blues" on Boardwalk Empire: Volume 1, which recently was nominated for a Grammy in the category of best compilation soundtrack.