During her set this evening at the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, singer Catherine Russell quoted her mother, who said: "There are only two kinds of music: good and bad."
Of these two categories, I'd have to say Catherine Russell falls into the "good" category. Though "good" seems to me like an understatement!
I became a fan of Catherine Russell by listening to her on Jazz with George Thomas on VPR. One night, George played her rendition of the Harold Arlen song, "As Long As I Live." I hunted down the album, Inside This Heart of Mine, and it's filled with standards that Russell made new again with her powerful, sultry voice.
Her performance tonight included songs from that album, but perhaps the highlight for me were the songs I hadn't heard before. Those included Jackie Wilson's "I'll Be Satisfied," Bessie Smith's "Kitchen Man," Dinah Washington's "My Man's An Undertaker," and a version of The Grateful Dead's "New Speedway Boogie" that would've made Mitch Wertlieb proud. Overall, it was a nice mix of jazzy and bluesy tunes, accompanied by piano, bass, guitar and banjo.
Well done, Catherine Russell, and thanks for visiting Vermont!