Melbourne will become home to jazz royalty in June 2017 when legendary Grammy Award-winning American vocalist, Patti Austin and Australia’s own James Morrison, join forces with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to pay homage to the landmark musical partnership between Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.
Both jazz giants in their own right, the collaboration between Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong was the pinnacle of the 1950s jazz scene. This special event – exclusive to the Melbourne International Jazz Festival – will mark the opening night of the Festival’s 20th year.
Celebrating the centennial of Fitzgerald’s birth, Austin and Morrison will perform timeless hits from the Great American Songbook, unforgettably realised with the lush textures and rich colours of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Northey.
Few performers have the credentials to pull off a fitting and genuinely thrilling tribute to The First Lady of Song, Ella Fitzgerald – but Grammy Award-winner Patti Austin possesses the heritage, experience and voice to do so.
Since debuting at the Apollo Theatre at the tender age of four and with the encouragement of her godparents Dinah Washington and Quincy Jones, Austin’s six-decade career has seen her work with artists as diverse as Randy Brecker, Michael Jackson and George Benson. Austin returns to the Festival after her sold out For Ella shows in 2012.
Australia’s James Morrison is an internationally-?renowned virtuoso trumpeter who has performed, recorded and collaborated with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, B.B. King and Wynton Marsalis; and has performed at some of the world’s leading jazz clubs and venues.
One of jazz’s most versatile artists, Morrison has performed at the White House for International Jazz Day, and performed with artists as diverse as Phil Collins, INXS and the Berlin Philharmonic.
“I cannot think of better artists than Patti Austin, James Morrison and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to bring this wonderful celebration to life in the centenary of Ella’s birth,” says Melbourne International Jazz Festival Artistic Director, Michael Tortoni. “It is the ideal way to open the Festival’s 20th anniversary program.”
A Celebration of Ella and Louis
Hamer Hall – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Performances: 2 & 3 June 2017
Image: Patti Austin and James Morrison (supplied)