New York City proclaims April 25 as “Ella Fitzgerald Day”

Ella Fitzgerald

On the 65th floor at the iconic Rainbow Room, with an expansive view of the city where Ella Fitzgerald got her first big break and performed her last public concert, the singer’s 100th birthday was celebrated. Verve Label Group, in partnership with the Mayor’s office, hosted a proclamation ceremony today to honor this beloved musical icon on her 100th birthday by naming it “Ella Fitzgerald Day,” in New York City. Grammy winner Tony Bennett joined to acknowledge his dear friend and colleague and closed the ceremony with a rendition of “Our Love Is Here to Stay.”  Vocal students from Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, which Tony Bennett founded in his hometown of Astoria, Queens, opened the Rainbow Room event appropriately with “Blue Skies,” a favorite Ella recording.

Danny Bennett, CEO and president of Verve Label Group acknowledged Ella Fitzgerald’s unique relationship with New York City where she first received public acclaim by winning Amateur Night at the Apollo Theatre in 1934 and performing her last public concert at Carnegie Hall in 1991. Danny Bennett said in a news release, “A year ago, I was asked to take over at the helm of Verve which was founded by Ella’s longtime manager Norman Granz, who created Verve Records in 1955 to provide a nurturing and supportive home for Ella’s recording career but also to foster jazz artists and this great American-born musical genre. I am truly humbled to now be the keeper of the flame and contributing to shine a well-deserved light on artists of the magnitude of Ella Fitzgerald.”

Verve/UMe just released several re-issues of Ella’s most beloved recordings including a four-CD set of 100 Songs For A Centennial, and a six-LP vinyl reissue of Ella Sings The George & Ira Gerswhin Songbook.  Later in the year, Verve will release a new album featuring Fitzgerald’s classic vocal recordings accompanied by new orchestral arrangements by the London Symphony Orchestra. Order 100 Songs For A Centennial here: https://UMe.lnk.to/100SongsCent and Ella Fitzgerald Sings The George and Ira Gershwin Song Books here: https://UMe.lnk.to/GershwinSB6LP.

Commissioner Julie Menin from the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment presented the official proclamation to Richard Rosman and Fran Morris-Rosman of the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, and reading from the Proclamation, said, “New York has a long and proud tradition of attracting talented performing artists from around the world, and a standout among them is Ella Fitzgerald, a legendary jazz vocalist who captivated audiences with her distinctive style and incredible talents. Ella has gone down in history as one of the greatest entertainers of all time, and her story and career have continued to inspire singers and performers across our city and far beyond. Together with the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, and her legions of fans around the world, I am proud to join in celebrating Ella’s 100th birthday. Now therefore, I, Bill de Blasio, Mayor of the City of New York, do hereby proclaim Tuesday, April 25, 2017 in the city of New York as:  Ella Fitzgerald Day.”  Tony Bennett presented the Foundation with a framed print of his portrait of Ella Fitzgerald, the original of which is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution.

Ella Fitzgerald was born on April 25, 1917, and was known as the “First Lady of Song.” She received 13 Grammy Awards, was a Kennedy Center Honoree and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of the Arts.

Pianist Aaron Diehl to perform “The Music of John Lewis” via live webcast at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola

Aaron Diehl

According to a news release, Aaron Diehl will be performing two sets of “The Music of John Lewis”  via live webcast at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. in support of upcoming Mack Avenue Records debut, The Bespoke Man’s Narrative. This performance is part of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Birth of the Cool Festival. Joining him will be Warren Wolf, vibraphone; David Wong, bass; and Rodney Green, drums. Special guests are the MIJA String Quartet.

 Fans can view the Live Webcast Here or see the performance live at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, 10 Columbus Circle #5, in Manhattan, NY.

Vijay Iyer Trio’s “Accelerando” tops polls for best jazz album of 2012

Vijay Iyer Trio. Photo by Jimmy Katz

Vijay Iyer Trio. Photo by Jimmy Katz

According to a recent news release, following a landslide victory in the 2012 Down Beat International Critics Poll as well as many national newspapers and websites including The New York Times (where the album was included by both the paper’s jazz critics, Nate Chinen and Ben Ratliff), NPRThe Los Angeles TimesSlate.com,PopMatters.comCMJCBC and Amazon.com, pianist and composer Vijay Iyer and his Trio, featuring Stephan Crump and Marcus Gilmore, are now repeat victors in the Rhapsody Jazz Critics Poll, the successor to the Village Voice Jazz Critics Poll.

Iyer’s trio also won this poll in 2009 for their breakout album Historicity. The Rhapsody poll is now considered the most comprehensive and authoritative list of critics in North America, with 119 critics voting.

The band will follow up this banner year with a weeklong-run at New York’s Jazz Standard.

 

Trombonist Ryan Keberle to release third album “Music Is Emotion” in February

Thirteen years after arriving in New York City, trombonist/composer Ryan Keberle has performed with a jaw-dropping roster of legendary musicians across a vast array of styles. At 32, his resume is more eclectic and impressive than that of many musicians twice his age.

Keberle has performed with jazz greats including Maria Schneider and Wynton Marsalis as well as being an original member of up-and-comer Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society; hip-hop and R&B superstars like Justin Timberlake, and Alicia Keys; Latin jazz leaders like Pedro Giraudo and Ivan Lins; contemporary disco band Escort; played in the house band at Saturday Night Live, on soundtracks of films by Woody Allen, and in the pit for the Tony-winning Broadway musical In the Heights; and most recently toured with indie rock ground-breaker Sufjan Stevens, ushering him into a new arena of fresh, emotionally charged music.

For a musician with such a stunning range of ability and experience, it can seem daunting to find a common thread running throughout the entire range of inspiration and influence. The shared influence that Keberle found as he studied all of the music he most responded to was the direct emotional connection with listeners stemming from a shared root in the blues. So he set out to forge just such a bond with his own music, assembling an incredible new group in the process.

On his third CD, Music Is Emotion (to be released by Alternate Side Records on Feb. 19, 2013), Keberle combines that wealth of influence and experience into a bold group sound with the debut of his pianoless quartet, Catharsis. The band comprises some of the most compelling up-and-coming voices in jazz – trumpeter Mike Rodriguez, bassist Jorge Roeder, and drummer Eric Doob – for a vigorous set of melodic invention, heavy groove, and a subtle indie rock sensibility.

“When you boil down everything else that you love about music, it really comes down to the emotional connection that people make with it,” Keberle says in a news release. “Good popular music has this inherent emotional connection because of the history of the blues in our musical society. With all the social media and technology these days, it seems like it’s getting harder and harder to find that interaction on a personal level. So I’ve been trying to capture that more consciously in my own music.”

Born and raised by music educator parents in Spokane, Washington, Keberle started out playing classical violin and piano before adopting the trombone. He studied at the Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of renowned trombonist Steve Turre and became a member of Jazz at Juilliard’s first graduating class in 2003.

Keberle’s first two releases featured his Double Quartet, a malleable, brass-heavy octet that showcased his deft composing and arranging skills. Catharsis was formed in late 2010 after much experimenting with different line-ups. The four musicians gelled immediately and gave Keberle an opportunity to expand his compositional horizons.

“I’m very much piano-centric when it comes to arranging and composing,” he explains. “Catharsis pushed me out of that box and forced me to come at the music from more of a contrapuntal perspective. It’s really incredible how versatile these guys are; it was a meeting of the minds from the start.”