Catherine Russell has been a backup singer with Steely Dan and David Bowie, but she's better known as an interpreter of blues and early jazz. At Jazz At Lincoln Center, Russell recently assembled a vocal trio (with Carolyn Leonhart and La Tanya Hall, her partners on tour with Steely Dan) to unearth a book of charts by arranger Sy Oliver. She's only performed this music once before, more than 30 years ago. But back then, Russell got to sing it with her own mother — the multi-instrumentalist Carline Ray — and with Lillian Clark, who was also Oliver's wife.
Jazz Night In America takes you to the Jazz At Lincoln Center concert, featuring Russell's working band, and host Christian McBride speaks with Russell about the origins of these charts.