Catherine’s research interests include historical and critical musicology with particular reference to jazz and popular music, early and European jazz, recording, jazz influenced music, and performance practice. Her monograph on Benny Goodman’s Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert (Oxford University Press, 2012) was supported by an American Musicological Society Publication Subvention award and won Jazz Publication of the Year in the 2013 All-Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group awards. Her first book 'The Evolution of Jazz in Britain 1880-1935' (Ashgate, 2005), was hailed as ‘the definitive history of jazz in Britain’ by Professor Krin Gabbard and Digby Fairweather commented that ‘very few jazz books anywhere can surpass this one for excellence’. In 2006-7 Catherine was Visiting Edison Fellow at the British Library National Sound Archive, researching the performance history of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Catherine was co-investigator on the AHRC-funded project ‘What is Black British Jazz?’ in 2009-11 where she developed particular interests in in jazz and dance, jazz in Cardiff and West Indian musicians. Some of this work is published by Ashgate in a volume entitled 'Black British Jazz: Routes, Ownership and Performance' (2014) which Catherine also co-edited.
Music and seafaring
From 2012 to 2014 Catherine was Principal Investigator of the AHRC Research Networking project Atlantic Sounds: Ships and Sailortowns. She continues to develop work on music and the sea, with particular reference to Britain and the Atlantic. She recently established an international Music and Maritime Leisure Travel Research Group.