Sentimental Streak, the sophomore effort from singer Catherine Russell, is a paean to both her musical and familial heritage. For Russell, the two are inextricably intertwined; her father, the late pianist Luis Russell, was the long-time musical director for Louis Armstrong while Carline Ray, Russell's mother, is an accomplished guitarist, bassist and vocalist who has performed with Doc Cheatham and Wynton Marsalis, among others.
Produced by multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell, the CD has a warm, live feel that makes the listener feel like they are at some New Orleans dive bar, witnessing the music unfolding in front of them. "So Little Time (So Much to Do)," the opening track, takes its inspiration from the 1938 Louis Armstrong Orchestra recording, with the horn arrangement based on the original charts by Russell's father.
Other highlights include "You Better Watch Yourself, Bub," a swinging tune with some nice jazz mandolin from Campbell. Russell shows off her bluesy side with Willie Dixon's "I Don't Care Who Knows, while "Broken Nose," written by Rachelle Garniez, is playful and atmospheric. Russell's composition "Luci is dark and grooving and the CD ends with "You for Me, Me for You," a song that includes some great guitar playing from Matt Munisteri.
Russell's voice is reminiscent of many of the great jazz and blues singers. Her phrasing is impeccable and her delivery relaxed and effortless; it never seems as if she's "trying." Additionally, the musicians on Sentimental Streak sound like they're having a lot of fun on this highly-recommended album.
So Little Time (So Much To Do); I'm Lazy, That's All; Kitchen Man; Oh Yes, Take Another Guess; New Orleans; My Old Daddy's Got a Brand New Way to Love; South to a Warmer Place; Thrill Me; You Better Watch Yourself, Bub; I've Got That Thing; I Don't Care Who Knows; Broken Nose; Luci; You for Me, Me for You
Catherine Russell: vocals; Mark Shane: piano; Larry Ham: piano; Lee Hudson: bass; James Wormworth: drums; Matt Munisteri: guitar, banjo; Larry Campbell: guitar, violin; Steven Bernstein: trumpet, cornet; Howard Johnson: tuba; Eric Lawrence: saxes; Rachelle Garniez: accordion.