1 Elgin St
Ottawa, ON K1P
Ella Fitzgerald was born on April 25, 1917 in Newport News, Virginia. Often referred to as The First Lady of Jazz, this year we celebrate the 100th anniversary of her birth and her immeasurable contribution to music. She is the jazz vocalist who has had the biggest influence on my own approach to jazz standards and someone I still listen to on a regular basis. In fact, my real introduction to jazz took place in the early 1980s when I was introduced to Ella’s superb songbook recordings from the 1950s and 60s.
Originally produced by the legendary Norman Granz and released on the Verve label, the songbooks celebrate Ella at her vocal best and cover songs by Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, Duke Ellington, Irving Berlin, George & Ira Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern and Johnny Mercer.
I’ll be presenting a concert featuring songs from these collections along with a few other classic Ella tunes in An Ella Celebration: The Classic Songbook Recordings. I am delighted to announce that well-known Ottawa bandleader, composer, arranger, pianist and trombonist Mark Ferguson will be the Music Director for the concert. I’ve been collaborating with Mark for many years (especially on Fourth Stage tribute concerts since 2010), and I am so pleased that he will join me for this event and bring his expert direction to the concert. Mark has performed with many of the world’s great artists including none other than Miss Ella Fitzgerald herself!
I am also delighted to announce that our Guest Vocalist is Michael Curtis Hanna, a recent arrival on the Ottawa scene and an exciting artist not to be missed! Originally from Detroit, Michael and his family relocated to Ottawa a few years ago and he has been amazing local audiences with his beautiful voice and dynamic interpretations ever since, in clubs around town, at Merrickville’s Jazz Fest last year, and in a number of special concert presentations.
The Ella Celebration Band features some of the finest musicians on the local scene: Tim Bedner on guitar, Mark on piano and trombone, Normand Glaude on double bass, Scott Latham on drums, Ed Lister on trumpet and Vince Rimbach on saxophone. Tickets are $30 and are now available for purchase in person at the NAC Box Office or online via Ticketmaster or are available for purchase directly from me. Watch my Facebook and Twitter feeds for the announcement of a special contest for early ticket purchasers!