Do the names Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney and Linda Ronstadt grab your attention? These iconic singers shared a common bond in that many of their songs were arranged for them by famed band leader Nelson Riddle. Come to the Arizona Senior Academy on Tuesday (Sept. 11) at 11:30 a.m. for a concert of Riddle’s arrangements performed by a pair of Tucson’s leading interpreters of the American Songbook.
Vocalist Katherine Byrnes and pianist-composer-arranger Jeff Haskell return to the Academy stage to preview a Nelson Riddle big band show which will be featured in the January 2019 Tucson Jazz Festival.
Katherine Byrnes is an award-winning vocalist who has toured with Blue Note Recording artist Amos Lee, as well as local luminaries Calexico and Orkesta Mendoza. As a solo artist, Byrnes has toured internationally, performing a variety of styles including Broadway, jazz, rock, and classical. She has also appeared at the ASA along with Ryan Alfred in their Americana/folk band Sweet Ghosts.
Jeff Haskell is a legendary figure in the Tucson jazz scene, composing and conducting, as well as educating and coaching many successful jazz musicians. He has won three Los Angeles Emmy Awards for his work on the children’s TV program, “Dusty’s Treehouse,” and his song arrangements have been featured on two Linda Ronstadt albums. His choral/orchestral composition, “Pastiche Americana,” was performed by The Little Orchestra in Lincoln Center, and his “Concerto for Jazz Band and Orchestra” debuted with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.
Byrnes and Haskell’s decade-long musical partnership goes back to Byrnes’s student days at the University of Arizona when she became the featured vocalist in the university’s Studio Jazz Ensemble led by Haskell, who at that time was director of jazz studies at the UA.
Written by Leslie Nitzberg, Academy Village Volunteer