Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra to Perform A TRIBUTE TO ELLA FITZGERALD at Brooklyn Center, 4/27

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

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.

Charles Young (Artistic and Musical Director, SJMO) has served as Professor of Saxophone at Howard University for over 20 years and was recently appointed to the position of Coordinator of Jazz Studies. Young has had a rich career of performing and recording with various bands and orchestras such as the National Symphony Orchestra, the US Navy Band, the Count Basie Orchestra and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Likewise, Mr. Young has shared the concert stage with many of the music industry`s leading icons ranging from Clark Terry and Ella Fitzgerald to Stevie Wonder and Quincy Jones. In 1988, Charlie Young was recruited as a member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra where he has served as conductor. Presently he holds the position as lead saxophonist. Young joined the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra in 1995 and has served as the ensemble's principle saxophonist for over 15 years.

Deloris King Williams (Vocalist) began her musical studies at the Peabody Conservatory of Music and graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. Equally at home in theatrical productions as well as concert settings, her extensive credits include international appearances at the North Sea, Montreux, and Vienne Jazz Festivals, concert tours of India and Egypt, performances at the White House and Carnegie Hall, off-Broadway runs with "The Capitol Steps," an Australian tour of Porgy and Bess with the Washington National Opera and a tour of Russia with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. Deloris is the winner of a Downbeat magazine award, a former soloist for The United States Army Band, a semi-finalist in the Thelonious Monk Vocal Competition, a winner of the Billie Holiday Vocal Competition, a Helen Hayes Award Nominee and an Audie award winner for audio book narration. She just celebrated the debut of her new cabaret, "I Love Being Here wth You: The Music of Miss Peggy Lee".

Major support for Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts' presentation of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra's A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald is provided by Con Edison. Additional support is provided through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts' Challenge America Fast-Track program. WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM is an official media partner of Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts.