Coro De Cámara/Courtesy photo
BY ANNE MARSH
Inspired by last spring’s successful performance of “A Little Jazz Mass,” the chamber singers of Coro de Cámara open their 30th season by delving deeper into jazz with their fall concert, “Stormy Weather: The Life and Times of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughan.” This innovative program weaves songs made famous by these legendary women of jazz with dramatic narration and visuals that give insight into their struggles and triumphs. The concert also features the artistry of a jazz trio composed of Joe Cox on piano, Howard Coe on electric upright bass, and John Frary on drums, and will be offered at three venues:
Friday, Nov. 15, 7 p.m.
Unitarian Church of Los Alamos, 1738 North Sage Street
Saturday, Nov. 16, 7 p.m.
6:30 Doors open / Refreshments (by donation)
Paradiso, 903 Early Street, Santa Fe
Sunday, Nov. 17, 3 p.m.
Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church, 3900 Trinity Drive
Artistic Director Nylea Butler-Moore says, “The choice of the three women whose songs we’re singing began with ‘Stormy Weather.’ I listened to a host of artists who have sung that song, going all the way back to the 1930s. The three that caught my eye (or my ear!) were Fitzgerald, Holiday, and Vaughan. They all recorded ‘Stormy Weather,’ each in a very different rendition. They were contemporaries, and they performed with many of the same musicians, at the same venues.”
All three came from unlikely beginnings, growing up during the Great Depression, when jobs were mostly in domestic service or menial labor. (Billie Holiday’s first job was scrubbing steps at age 6.) As African American women, they dealt with both racial and gender discrimination throughout their lives. But as Butler-Moore says, “Fitzgerald, Holiday, and Vaughan had the power to unite people through music and their remarkable talent. All three had Grammy Lifetime Achievement Awards and million-selling records. These women could take even shabby songs and turn them into gold. In this program, we honor their lives and musical gifts, which are with us still.”
Concert-goers will hear not just the title song, but “Tuxedo Junction,” “What Is This Thing Called Love,” “Blue Moon,” “Moonlight in Vermont,” and much more. Photos and artwork will be interwoven with the music, and actors will tell stories that give us a fuller picture of what was happening in the country and in the world.
The concert begins with a quick introduction to jazz. And like jazz musicians of every era, our trio will be improvising – listening to each other and responding to what each other is doing. In vocal solos and scat, the singers are free in their interpretations as well. The program shows the remarkable versatility of Coro de Cámara, whose singers move beautifully from classical to pop to jazz, just as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughan sang in many styles.
Tickets for “Stormy Weather” are $20 for adults / $10 for students 18+ / free for under 18, and are available at the door or online at corodecamara-nm.org.Cora