A Jazz Fest regular comes to town

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In keeping with the buzz bizz-buzzin’ thrill through RIJF Fans Heads the powers that be have announced the return of Jazz Fest giant and fan favorite, vocalist and Grammy Award-winner Catherine Russell. 

Catherine Russell
(Photo: RIJF)

Alright, take some names like the plethora of artists Russell has lent her talents to. Then go ahead and put in the lady’s own original sensational swagger and finish it with a dash and a splash of hyperbole like “holy crap” and you’ll see why fans are jumping up and down and losing their minds in anticipa—tion.

Russell has toured the world, performing and recording with the likes of David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Steely Dan, Jackson Browne, Michael Feinstein, The Holmes Brothers, Wynton Marsalis, and Rosanne Cash, among others, appearing on over 200 albums. Since the 2006 release of her debut album, “Cat,” on Harmonia Mundi’s World Village label, six acclaimed and chart-topping albums have followed, including “Strictly Romancin’”—awarded the Prix du Jazz Vocal 2012 (Vocal Album of The Year) by the Jazz Academy in France—and “Bring It Back” in 2014. Russell was a featured artist on a Grammy Award-winning soundtrack album for the HBO-TV series “Boardwalk Empire.”

RIJF presents an evening with Russell on Tuesday, March 15, at the Theater at Innovation Square, 131 Chestnut St. (formerly Xerox Square). 

Tickets: $30-$35. Purchase online at rochesterjazz.com or at the door.

Katie Morey

“Friend of a Friend”

Self Release

The piano pumps 4/4 monotone and prepares to gently paint the sky. The guitar barely makes a shadow as Katie Morey takes flight on her latest poppy collection, called “Friend of a Friend.” 

Katie Morey

This psychedelic lullaby is rooted in the heavy silence of Morey’s beautiful voice. I mean it’s unbelievable how she’s managed to whisper the melodies with such a languid loveliness. And it keeps up the melancholy right up to the midway spot on this 12-song stack-o-wax when the electricity shows up wielded by the electric piano and organ by those whatsits at the bench where track 7 and beyond keeps up to goose the pace.

Morey got together a platoon of Rochester indie rock heavyweights including her ball and chain Ben Morey along with vocal help from Cammy Enaharo and Mikaela Davis and another dozen or so on “Friend of a Friend.” Recorded at Submarine Sound Studios, this is Morey’s second solo album and first full-length solo.

“Really, I use music as a way of relating to the world,” says Morey. “My music is by far the purest way I have of communicating. This album came as a rush of creativity and opened some doors in my mind that had been closed for a while.”

Katie Morey: in through the outdoors. She’s something else.

Bellwether Breaks

“Say It Like It’s True”

Self Release

Ahh, so here’s where they put all that greasy Memphis soul. It’s right here tucked away in Bellwether Breaks’ new deep-dish rave-up “Say It Like It’s True.” There’s an immediacy that is palpable in this song as it is set up as a sort of tease, a tease that hints at impending histrionics, owww. 

But this ain’t a vintage showboat, nor is it a throwback. Still, you can easily say they are used to being teased themselves. The first time I saw them, COVID-19 was busy wrapping its bony fingers around our necks.

The band just recorded five more songs with Ben Morey, he of the eyes—out soon —and local poet Andrew Conley penned the lyrics as if they were true.

It ain’t a lie if you say it … and believe.

Here’s a comprehensive list of live shows in and around Rochester: Get Your Gig On

Frank De Blase is Rochester Beacon music writer. The Beacon welcomes comments from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name.

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