Monday, September 28, 2015

Arts Insider Pick of the Week: Diane Schuur and the Jamey Aebersold Quartet perform the Great American Songbook

Legendary jazz vocalist and two-time Grammy® Award-winner, Diane Schuur joins New Albany’s own jazz legend and 2014 National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, Jamey Aebersold and his Quartet in bringing the Great American Songbook to life. Often referred to as “American Standards,” the Songbook is a uniquely American collection of popular music from the 1920s to the 1960s. Composers include George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, and Cole Porter whose songs were popularized by singers such as Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, and Mel Tormé.

Diane Schuur’s expressive and powerful vocals have placed her amongst jazz greats such as Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. She has performed in some of the most prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and twice at the White House. Her musical collaborations include the Count Basie Orchestra, Barry Manilow, B.B. King, and Ray Charles, among countless others. Diane has appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, on PBS, and many other television specials, including a visit to Sesame Street.

Long regarded as one of Contemporary Jazz's leading vocalists, Diane Schuur is as eclectic as she is brilliant. Born in Tacoma, Washington in 1953, Schuur was blind from birth; but she was gifted with perfect pitch and initially taught herself piano by ear. She later received formal piano training at The Washington State School for the Blind, which she attended until she was 11 years of age.

Nicknamed "Deedles" as a child, she grew up surrounded by the world of Jazz embraced by both of her parents: Her father was an amateur pianist, and her mother kept a formidable collection of Duke Ellington and Dinah Washington albums in her home. Not surprisingly, Dinah Washington is often listed as Schuur's major vocal influence, and she learned the iconic singer's "What a Difference a Day Makes" while she was still a toddler. She also developed her own rich, resonant vocal style at a very young age.

With a distinguished recording career that spans three decades, including two Grammy® awards (Timeless and Diane Schuur and The Count Basie Orchestra on GRP Records), as well as three additional Grammy® nominations, Schuur's music has explored almost every corner of the 20th Century musical landscape.

"A vocalist of unusual warmth and power."
—The New York Times

"She's a natural singer with an easy way of phrasing in the tradition of the great song interpreters."
—David Sanborn

"She can sing almost any style, from scat to country ballads that can tear your heart out. In my opinion, Diane's got all the equipment to be one of the greats. She's the logical successor to Ella and Sarah."
—Stan Getz

"There is not a second that goes by that a person is not practicing with a Jamey Aebersold Play-A-Long record," Aebersold noted in a 2009 interview. These Play-A-Long recordings have made it possible for jazz players young and old to create an interactive jazz environment in a classroom, their living room, on a street corner, or in a subway station. With the production of his first Jazz "Play-A-Long" recording in 1967, a new form of jazz education began, one that allowed novice or professional students to practice improvisational skills alongside professionals and noted jazz musicians without a classroom or a teacher--one that made practicing fun. For close to 50 years, Aebersold has produced 133 volumes of jazz recordings and books, along with various supplemental items, carving out a new avenue for jazz education.

In 1962, Aebersold graduated from Indiana University with a master's degree in saxophone, one of several instruments he plays (he also plays the piano, bass and banjo). Aebersold's inspiration to create the first Play-A-Long recording came in 1966 while assisting at a workshop in Connecticut. A student requested a recording of his piano accompaniment, with which he could then rehearse and improvise at home. That first volume, titled How to Play Jazz and Improvise, has since been translated into six languages and is sold all over the world. The Play-A-Longs feature such well-known musicians as, Kenny Barron, Randy Brecker, Dave Brubeck, Ron Carter, David Liebman, Mulgrew Miller, Jimmy Raney, and Cedar Walton.

In 1989, Aebersold was inducted into the International Association for Jazz Education Hall of Fame and in 2004 the Jazz Midwest Clinic honored him with the Medal of Honor in jazz education. Aebersold has taught at three colleges and universities in the Louisville, Kentucky, area, and in 1992 he received an honorary doctorate of music from Indiana University. He continues to teach, conduct jazz clinics around the country, and perform as leader of the Jamey Aebersold Quartet in addition to running Jamey Aebersold Jazz.

In 2014, Aebersold was named an NEA Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts.

WHEN: Friday, October 2, 2015 at 7:30 pm
WHERE: The Richard K. Stem Concert Hall
TICKETS: $29 in advance, $33 at the door. $10 for students.
CONTACT: 812.941.2525 during normal Ticket office hours (Mon-Thurs. 10am-5pmOr in person @ the Ogle Center Ticket Office located in the lobby of the Ogle Center on the IU Southeast campus at 4201 Grant Line Road, New Albany, IN 47150.
Tickets can be purchased online through the Ogle Center page at TicketMaster.

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