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Catherine Russell and the Robert Cray Band

With guest host Rhonda Hamilton.

Catherine Russell

Catherine Russell is a lady born to jazz. Her father Luis Russell was Louis Armstrong's orchestra leader beginning in the mid 1940s. Her mother, Carline Ray, is a bassist, singer, and great all-around musician. Ray was a member of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, the 1940s all-woman band that swung as hard as the men.

Russell has sung back-up for Paul Simon, Steely Dan, David Bowie and more, as well as on national ads for big brands. Now she's getting great notices for her own album. Nat Hentoff, the dean of jazz writers, wrote a beautiful piece for The Wall Street Journal, saying pointedly, "After listening to a continuous stream of releases by purported rising jazz singers - who couldn't have lasted through a chorus in a contest with Ella Fitzgerald or Betty Carter - it's a delight to hear the real thing, Catherine Russell."

Robert Cray

The Robert Cray Band struggled to make it to air for this performance. First, the George Washington Bridge was closed to traffic during the morning rush hour so the band was several hours late for their noontime gig. Finally, the 18-wheel tour bus threaded its way through Manhattan all the way down to Park Row. It pulled up in front of J&R Music, and the crew unloaded just a few pieces of equipment so that the Robert Cray Band could set up for a short, quite-delayed live radio broadcast. We have highlights! Cray was in town to open for Eric Clapton at Madison Square Garden, but came to play at J&R Music just for WBGO Jazz 88 and JazzSet.


Catherine Russell with Larry Ham on piano, Lee Hudson on bass, Eddie Locke on drums

"The Late, Late Show"
"Sad Lover Blues"
"Put Me Down Easy" (Sam Cooke)
"My Man's an Undertaker"
"Back O Town Blues"
"Where Can I Go Without You?"

The Robert Cray Band is Robert Cray, voice and guitar; Jim Pugh, keys; Karl Sevareid, bass; Kevin Hayes, drums.

"Phone Booth"
"Poor Johnny"
"Bad Influence"

Catherine Russell

World Village: Catherine Russell

The Robert Cray Band

Our Catherine Russell recording is by Adam Blackburn with WBGO technical director Brian McCabe.
Our Robert Cray set producers are David Tallacksen and Josh Jackson with Executive Producer Thurston Briscoe III. Music mix is by JazzSet Technical Director Duke Markos, and thanks to Darren Jones.
JazzSet Producer is Becca Pulliam.
Catherine Russell photo by Stefan Falke

Copyright 2007 NPR