Thursday, July 16, 2015

Great Americas Songbook: Week 1

Summer Sessions 2015 begins tonight! The first four weeks are devoted to our ongoing summer series “Great Americas Songbook.” Devoted to the rich traditions of music spanning the entirety of the North and South American continents, Great Americas Songbook expands the concept of “The Great American Songbook” to include artists from all the Americas. Individual weeks highlight the American popular song, the music of Mexico, the American Big Band, and the equatorial area stretching from Central and South America to the Caribbean.

This first week focuses on the breadth of American popular song, from the New Orleans tradition of Louis Armstrong to the social consciousness of Bob Dylan. Kicking things off is Ann Hampton Callaway – a Tony Award winner and one of the truly great living interpreters of the trove of popular songs written between the 1920s and 1950s, commonly called the Great American Songbook. Tonight, Callaway presents her tribute to one of her primary influences and one of the truly iconic jazz singers, Sarah Vaughan. Buy Tickets

Called “one of the outstanding singers of our time” by The Wall Street Journal, vocalist Catherine Russell pays tribute to the legendary Louis Armstrong, for whom her father, Luis Russell, was a longtime collaborator and musical director. Russell won a GRAMMY for her contribution to the soundtrack for the smash HBO series Boardwalk Empire, and her newest session, Bring It Back, explores the rich trove of music developed through her father’s collaboration with Armstrong. She'll be performing Thursday through Sunday in the Joe Henderson Lab. Buy Tickets

Kim Nalley is a rare artist with the dramatic presence, stylistic breadth and technical skill to pay a fitting tribute to the legendary Billie Holiday, portraying Holiday in stage plays and in her own signature show, The Heart of Lady Day. Her sold out tribute to Holiday on Friday will reveal Nalley as blues-loving jazz singer with a luxuriously rich voice, performing the music of Lady Day in her own inimitable style.

Paula West is, quite simply, the finest jazz-cabaret singer around. All of her albums deserve pride of place in any discerning listener's library.” So says JazzTimes magazine about the San Francisco jazz treasure, whose tribute to the immortal songwriter Bob Dylan is sold out Saturday night. With this celebration of rock icon Dylan, Paula West embraces this most American of voices, making his iconic words and melodies undeniably her own.

The final night of this first Summer Sessions week brings a tribute to the great Nat King Cole by his enormously gifted younger brother, Freddy Cole, accompanied by his swinging, telepathic quartet. The New York Times described Freddy this way: “Freddy has an impeccable sense of swing…he is, overall, the most maturely expressive male jazz singer of his generation, if not the best alive.” He performs in Miner Auditorium on Sunday. Buy Tickets

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