Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra to Perform A TRIBUTE TO ELLA FITZGERALD at Brooklyn Center, 4/27
Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College continues its 2013-14 season with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra's A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, featuring vocalist Deloris King Williams,on Sunday, April 27, 2014 at 3:00pm. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased by phone at 718-951-4500 (Tues-Sat, 1pm-6pm) or online at BrooklynCenterOnline.org.
Dubbed "The First Lady of Song," Ella Fitzgerald (1917 - 1996) was the most popular female jazz singer in the United States for more than half a century. In her lifetime, 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. (Or rather, some might say all the jazz greats had the pleasure of working with Ella.) She performed at top venues all over the world, and packed them to the hilt. Her audiences were as diverse as her vocal range. They were rich and poor, made up of all races, all religions and all nationalities. In fact, many of them had just one binding factor in common - they all loved her.
This special Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald program will present many of Ella's original big band arrangements, graciously made available to Manchester Craftsmen's Guild (MCG) by the Smithsonian Institution's Jazz Program with the assistance of the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation. The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra (SJMO) will come together with regional musicians and will feature vocalist Deloris King Williams, paying tribute to Ella with her elegant style and vocal expertise. The repertoire centers on a special moment in American history by pulling original arrangements from the Smithsonian and Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation archives, some of which have not been heard by live audiences in over 40 years. Superstar arrangers such as Billy May, Count Basie, Van Alexander, Billy Strayhorn and Benny Carter make up the majority of the selections. Additionally, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra commissioned new arrangements for the band that keep in the spirit of the body of work represented from Ella's songbook, adding a sense of contemporariness to round out this unique show.
Co-produced by Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and MCG Jazz, A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald first premiered at Manchester Craftsmen's Guild in Pittsburgh, PA in February 2010, and has since toured to the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ; Blues Alley in Washington, DC; Animal Crackers Jazz Series in Racine, WI; and back to Pittsburgh as part of the Allegheny County Parks Summer Concert series in July 2012.
The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra (SJMO) was founded in 1990 with an appropriation from the U.S. Congress in recognition of the importance of jazz in American cultural and its status as a national treasure. The orchestra, led by Artistic and Musical Director, David N. Baker, serves as the orchestra-in-residence at the National Museum of American History, Division of Cultural History. The orchestra 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.