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A three-day run of this swinging double bill kicks off a week of jazz at the Morris Center.

Jazz vocalist Catherine Russell made her Savannah debut as part of Ladies Sing the Blues in 2014, and returns this year with an original program that takes extra inspiration and depth from her mother, pioneering jazz guitarist and vocalist Carline Ray. Russell’s father was a big band leader and arranger who served as Louis Armstrong’s music director in the 1940s. Drawing from the realms of jazz, swing and R&B, Catherine Russell has come into her own, and “with a voice that wails like a horn and whispers like the snake in the Garden of Eden, she’s finally claiming her place in the pantheon of 21st-century jazz divas.” (NPR)

Take a blustery brass lineup, layer it over a rhythm section led by a stride-piano virtuoso, and tie the whole thing together with a “one-of-the-boys” frontwoman, and you have the Hot Sardines. Bandleader Evan “Bibs” Palazzo and lead singer Miz Elizabeth combine with the Sardine ensemble of powerhouse musicians—and their very own tap dancer—to play “hot jazz” as it was in the era when live music was king…with a little glamour, a little grit, and a lot of passion. Even while giving voice to the history-defining jazz of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, the Hot Sardines’ vibrant performances bridge generations and captivate audiences. Forbes Magazine calls them “one of the best jazz bands in NYC today.”

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