A marvelous new musical revue based on the careers of jazz icons Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, Jammin" With Pops, comes to the Warren Performing Arts Center Sunday, Feb. 23 at 3 p.m.
If there are a king and queen of jazz, Louis Armstrong, affectionately known to jazz fans and musicians as "Pops," and the first lady of song, Ella Fitzgerald, are the only ones to have earned those titles.
Jazz impresario and record producer Noman Granz recorded three monumental albums in the "50s and "60s that combined these two dynamic personalities - all are classic recordings among jazz fans. Three-time Emmy Award-winning writer Barry Harman took that idea and has produced a new musical that is fiction loosely based upon their careers. The premise for this musical is that Ella and Louis have some great stories to tell along with the spectacular music they perform. The setting is backstage in a nameless theater after a concert and Ella is feeling down and blue. The plot unfolds as Louis involves the audience in a story of how he became a famous name in jazz. Ella, who was always a quiet person, hesitantly starts to open up and share her story, too. Louis wants to help his friend, and even though his All Stars are weary they start an impromptu jam session to cheer her up. It"s through this process of musical reminiscing and the 32 sensational songs they recorded that the show really lights up. Tunes include "Hello Dolly," "When The Saints Go Marching In," "Lady Be Good," "A Tisket A Tasket" and "What A Wonderful World." T. Lester Grant as Louis Armstrong and Fran Jaye as Ella Fitzgerald portray two jazz giants and should create a new generation of fans.
Break the deep freeze this week. There is plenty of hot jazz going on in Indy for the next week to help warm things up.
The Chatterbox will heat up with the Cuban/African/Latin beat of Urbanos Friday, Feb. 21; the adventurous saxophone sounds of Keni Washington & Omniverse play Saturday, Feb. 22. Music both nights goes from 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Alto saxophonist Jason Curry"s Quartet plays at St. Elmo Steakhouse Thursday, Feb. 20 from 7 to 10 p.m.
Jazz on the Avenue in the Madame Walker Theater Center has groovemaster Greg Bacon performing Friday, Feb. 21 from 6 to 10 p.m.
Ruth"s Chris Steakhouse "Sizzling Steaks & Jazz" series welcomes jazz balladeer Everett Greene and Friends Sunday from 7 to 10 p.m.
Indiana State Museum presents a concert with Mary Moss & Friends Sunday, Feb. 23 from 3:30 to 5 p.m.
Circle City Bar and Grill in the Marriott has Conga Jazz Saturday, Feb. 22 playing 7 to 11 p.m.
Next Wednesday, Feb. 26, Jason Curry Quartet will play "Wine Tasting Wednesday" 5 to 7 p.m.
The Elbow Room has Tom Sullivan, guitar, and Duncan Putman, bass, for the Sunday Jazz Brunch Friday and Saturday, Feb. 21 and 22. The Bluenote Trio debuts its cool jazz sound from 7 to 10 p.m.
The Jazz Kitchen has an awesome big band weekend on tap. The world renowned Count Basie Big Band led by Grover Mitchell will play two sets at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21. Saturday, Feb. 22 the big ensemble jazz sounds continue when the Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra holds a CD release party for its long-awaited Heart & Soul: The Music of Hoagy Carmichael CD with two shows at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.
Sullivan"s Steakhouse features the hard-swinging trio of Claude Sifferlen, piano, Joe Deal, bass, and Ron Brinson, drums, playing 7:30 to 11:30 p.m.
New Fountain Lounge has guest songstress Cynthia Layne singing with the Jason Curry Quartet Wednesday, Feb. 26 from 7 to 11 p.m.
Rick"s Cafe Boatyard has the Richard Torres Quartet playing Thursday and Friday, 7 to 10 p.m.; Monika Herzig"s Acoustic Trio plays Saturday, 7 to 10:30 p.m.
The Omega Conference Center, 3110 Sutherland Ave., presents smooth jazz major star band Pieces Of A Dream in concert Saturday, Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Chuck Workman is the producer/host of the Sunday Morning Jazz Show at 107.9 WTPI.