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Catherine Russell: Harlem on My Mind

Angelo Leonardi By

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Dotata di brillanti doti vocali, ottimo gusto interpretativo e naturale esuberanza, Catherine Russell è giunta al successo tardivamente, dopo aver trascorso decenni a cantare come corista per rockstar di rilievo (David Bowie, Paul Simon, Cindy Lauper, Steely Dan). Dopo i cinquant'anni ha però bruciato le tappe e questo è il suo sesto disco da leader, dedicato a celebrare il songbook afro-americano degli anni trenta e quaranta. "Serve a non dimenticare le radici.—dice la cantante—L'album raccoglie brani di artisti che s'esibivano all'Apollo di Harlem, il teatro che ha ospitato i massimi musicisti afro-americani."

Quella tradizione, Catherine l'ha assimilata dall'infanzia, in quanto figlia di Luis Russell -il noto pianista e bandleader a lungo con Louis Armstrong -e di Carline Ray, strumentista e cantante che ha collaborato con Sy Oliver e Doc Cheatham. Il percorso musicale è dunque un misto di entertainment e interpretazione jazzistica ed offre belle versioni di storici brani di Ethel Waters ("Harlem on My Mind" di Irving Berlin), vari di Billie Holiday (da "The Very Thought of You" a "You're My Thrill) ed ancora Annisteen Allen ("I Want a Man"). Gli ultimi due si proiettano nella black culture più recente con "Let Me Be the First to Know" e "Talk to Me, Talk to Me" segnati da memorabili versioni di Dinah Washington e Aretha Franklin.

Con gli inevitabili distinguo, le interpretazioni di Catherine sono intense, ricche di feeling e possono contare su un appropriato sostegno strumentale, che ha in Matt Munisteri un perno centrale.

Track Listing: Harlem on My Mind; I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me; Swing! Brother, Swing!; The Very Thought of You; You've Got the Right Key But the Wrong Keyhole; Don't Take Your Love from Me; Blue Turning Grey Over You; You're My Thrill; I Want a Man; When Lights Are Low; Talk to Me, Talk to Me; Let Me Be the First to Know; Goin to Town.

Personnel: Catherine Russell: voce; Matt Munisteri: chitarra, banjo, direzione musicale; Mark Shane: pianoforte; Tal Ronen: contrabbasso; Mark McLean: batteria; Jon-Erik Kellso: tromba; Alphonso Horne: tromba; John Allred: trombone; Andy Farber, Mark Lopeman, Dan Block: sassofoni; Ospite: Fred Staton: sax tenore.

Title: Harlem on My Mind | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Harmonia Mundi Jazz Village Music

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