Fri, Mar 21, 2014.
Now this is how to throw an album launch. Saturday night, singer Jennifer Russell will bring her swingin' jazz and jump blues to The Maritime Club in Oromocto, the official launch pad for her new Double Kiss CD and download. There are great reasons for the setting, including the fact Russell served at CFB Gagetown as a doctor, and that this album is made for dancers. "I chose the Maritime Club because it has a huge dance floor," Russell explains. "There is a large group of swing dancers and ballroom dancers in Fredericton who absolutely love going to events there. I obviously have a connection with the military population, having worked on the base for several years. One of my songs (Loose Lips) is based on a WWII slogan, 'Loose Lips Sink Ships' and is a swing tune, very much in the style of that era."
Now a physician in Fredericton, Russell has always had music in her life, right along with her studies and then her practice. While the Bathurst native was going to school in Halifax, she played in the Nova Scotia Wind Ensemble (she plays tenor sax on the new album), then the UNB Concert Band, and a jazz group while at Memorial University in St. John's. Back in Fredericton, she hooked up with the popular local group Vinyl2Bits in 2009, and since then has been dreaming about her own project. "We play regularly at fundraisers and weddings and outdoor concerts and festivals. My involvement with the cover band inspired me to write my own original swing and blues tunes. Seeing the audience dancing at these gigs has always been exciting, and my CD is dedicated to dancers."
Double Kiss is a mover and shaker, for sure. On opener Loose Lips, the horns stab, a big organ swells, and gang vocals in the Andrews Sisters style play it sassy. Russell handles most of the lead vocals on the album, although some guests come out as well, both Carter McLaughlin and Paul (Soupy) Campbell claim a song as well. The lyrics are fun and playful, again in that 40's good time style ("You're the zip, you're the zing, you're the yan to my ying"), and Russell wrote them all, the music too. It's quite an accomplishment, along with co-arranging the horns and co-producing the album. She's also called on many of the musical friends she's made in the area, from bandmates to guests such as Kathleen Gorey-McSorley on violin to Karl Gans from Ross Neilsen's group on drums for a couple of tracks.
Now, back to the party. It's from 8:30 to midnight, Russell and her band will do the opening set and premiere the album, and then her other group, Vinyl2Bits will hit the stage for two sets. So it's non-stop dancing the whole night, for those keen to move. And, if you strain anything dancing, the good news is there will be a doctor in the house.
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Bob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).