Fans of Ella Fitzgerald and her amazing jazz vocal abilities will not want to miss the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra's "A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald," presented at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 31, at the James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts at the College of Lake County.
In the show, singer Kim Nazarian of New York applies her own elegant style and vocal expertise to pay tribute to Fitzgerald. The show will feature original arrangements done for Fitzgerald in the 1940s-1950s from the Smithsonian and Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation archives-arrangements not heard by live audiences in over 40 years.
Called "The First Lady of Song," Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996) was the most popular female jazz singer in the U.S. for more than 50 years. She won 13 Grammy awards and sold over 40 million albums. Her voice was flexible, wide-ranging, accurate and ageless. She could sing sultry ballads, sweet jazz and imitate every instrument in an orchestra. She worked with all the jazz greats from Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Nat King Cole to Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie and Benny Goodman.
The musical tribute features arrangers such as Billy May, Count Basie, Van Alexander, Billy Strayhorn and Benny Carter. The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra has also commissioned new arrangements that keep the spirit of the body of work represented from Fitzgerald's songbook, adding a contemporary flair. The Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, coproduced by Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and MCG Jazz, first premiered at Manchester Craftsmen's Guild in Pittsburgh, Pa., in February 2010 and has since toured the U.S. For more information, visit www.smithsonianjazz.org.
Nazarian is a founding member of the Grammy award-winning group New York Voices, formed in 1987. She has recorded numerous CDs and toured the world with this outstanding vocal quartet. Recently, the group was featured on Paquito D'Rivera's latest release for the MCG Jazz label, "Brazilian Dreams."
Nazarian is a featured artist on a number of other CDs released on the MCG Jazz label, including "Afternoon In Rio" with Joe Negri, "The 21st Century Swing Band" and the highly acclaimed "A Nancy Wilson Christmas." She has performed and recorded with the Boston based band "El Eco" and worked on Bobby McFerrin's upcoming recording project. Other recordings include "Ella Fitzgerald Twelve Nights in Hollywood," "Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Song Book," "Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra Live at MCG" and "Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra Tribute to a Generation: A Salute to the Big Bands of the WWII Era."
The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra was founded in 1990 with an appropriation from the U.S. Congress to recognize the importance of jazz in American cultural and its status as a national treasure. The SJMO serves as the orchestra-in-residence at the National Museum of American History, Division of Cultural History. The group re-creates big band jazz as its composers and arrangers intended it to be played, stripping away intervening changes and alterations. The SJMO has rediscovered old classics, premiered new discoveries and more recently has begun premiering new works. Composed of musicians drawn from across the United States, the orchestra plays authentic and compelling performances of the music of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie and many other masters.
Regular tickets are $31-$39, with discounts for seniors, CLC staff and alumni. CLC students and teen tickets are $16 and children under 12 are $13. Prices include $1 JLC facility fee. The Box Office is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 90 minutes prior to the performance. For tickets, call (847) 543-2300 or visit www.clcillinois.edu/tickets. Professional touring series performances make excellent group outings, and groups of six or more people are eligible for discounted ticket prices. Call group sales at (847) 543-2431 or email JLCgroupsales@clcillinois.edu for more information.
The concert's media sponsor is WDCB Radio 90.9.