Originally Published: April 20, 2017 8:27 p.m.
A soulful jazz sound, an intimate setting, and a solo performer with a musical-royalty background: These are the makings of this weekend’s season closer of Yavapai College Performing Arts Center’s Cabaret Series.
Renowned jazz vocalist Catherine Russell will take to the stage of the Performing Art Center at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 22, with a selection from her “off-the-beaten-path” repertoire – ranging from the 1920s through the present.
“She’s a terrific performer,” Michael Grady, marketing and communications specialist at Yavapai College, said of Russell. Information from the college refers to Russell’s “vital interpretations, bursting with soul and humor.”
Russell – the daughter of Luis Russell, Louis Armstrong’s longtime musical director, and Carline Ray, a pioneering vocalist/guitarist/bassist – boasts a rich background of performing of her own as well.
Over the years, she has performed with David Bowie, Steely Dan, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne and Rosanne Cash.
In 2004, she set out on a solo career and released her debut album, “Cat,” in 2006. In 2012, her rendition of the 1920s song “Crazy Blues” for the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire” was among the performances that won a Grammy for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media.
YCPAC’s Cabaret Series has included an eclectic mix of musical styles, Grady says, noting that the series began this past fall with a jazz performance and will close with Russell, another jazz performer.
The Cabaret Series is “something we introduced this year to give people a more intimate experience with music,” Grady said.
While the large auditorium of the YCPAC is sometimes the most appropriate venue for a performance, Grady said, “Sometimes you want to be close enough to see the people at work.”
The Cabaret Series features seating on and near the auditorium’s stage, and has focused on a smaller audience. “We generally cap it at around 120 to 150 people,” which lends itself to a nightclub atmosphere, Grady said.
The cabaret performances include a cash bar, and also have a selection of hors d’oeuvres and desserts available.
Tickets are available online at www.ycpac.com, or by calling 928-776-2000.