Thanks to Chattanoogan.com for this profile of Jazz at Barking Legs in its many incarnations!
Legends Of Jazz Series Kicks Off With Tribute To Nat King Cole Sept. 3
CoPAC’s new “Legends of Jazz” series will begin Sept. 3 at Barking Legs Theater with a Tribute to Nat King Cole with the Wes Lunsford Trio. Legends of Jazz is a series of four quarterly tribute concerts by contemporary musicians honoring jazz greats.
A Tribute to Nat King Cole will be at 7:30 p.m., Sept. 3. Tickets are $12 advance or $15 at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased at barkinglegs.org. Barking Legs Theater is at 1307 Dodds Ave. Parking is available next to the theater and across Dodds Ave.
Nat King Cole (1919-1965) became one of the biggest stars of popular music with his voice, but he had been esteemed as a jazz pianist leading a trio for many years before achieving that level of fame. The Wes Lunsford Trio will showcase both sides of the Nat Cole musical world. The group is composed of guitarist/vocalist Wesley Lunsford, pianist Andrew LaPrise and bassist Will Yager.
“People have so many ways to experience the music of Nat King Cole and these other legends, tons of audio recordings and even video on YouTube, but there’s just no substitute for hearing this music live,” said Bruce Kaplan, co-creative director of CoPAC. “As the opportunities to hear live jazz increase in Chattanooga, we thought some contemporary interpretations of these jazz legends would be a nice contribution to a growing jazz scene.”
The quarterly jazz series is presented by CoPAC (Contemporary Performing Arts of Chattanooga), the nonprofit that operates Barking Legs Theater, in partnership with the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra, based on their shows at Knoxville’s Square Room.
“Jazz is definitely on the rise in Chattanooga and is a central part of CoPAC’s mission,” added Mr. Kaplan. “We’re excited to build on the momentum created mainly by Jazzanooga over the past couple of years. We have collaborated with Jazzanooga on some projects, and we hope to do more.”
More Jazz at Barking Legs in September:
Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo
Friday, Sept. 11, 8 p.m. $17 advance, $20 at the door.
These two acoustic guitarists have played in some of the world’s greatest venues including Lincoln Center, the Sydney Opera House in Australia, and the world’s oldest indoor concert call, Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, Italy. Frank Vignola performed regularly with the legendary Les Paul, who named Frank to his “Five Most Admired Guitar” list for The Wall Street Journal.
Champian Fulton Quartet
Friday, Sept. 25, 8 p.m. $15 advance or at the door.
Champian Fulton was a hit when she made her area debut at Barking Legs a couple of years ago, and we’re delighted to welcome her back. Her crowd-pleasing, effortless and award-nominated voice is supported by equally impressive piano chops (quite a feat when featured simultaneously), along with a killer backing band. This is the type of traditional vocal/piano jazz that never goes out of style.
Future Legends of Jazz Shows:
Thursday, Dec. 3
The Music of Woody Shaw, with Alex Norris and Greg Tardy
Until his untimely death in 1989 at age 44, Woody Shaw was widely regarded as one the greatest of jazz trumpet players. Trumpeter Alex Norris will join us from New York City to help celebrate Woody Shaw’s playing and composition. Acclaimed saxophonist Greg Tardy will be his foil.
Thursday, March 3
Tribute to Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, with Vance Thompson
Knoxville Jazz Orchestra director Vance Thompson will lead this tribute to Art Blakey, one of jazz’s greatest drummers and bandleaders. The Jazz Messengers were perhaps the primary incubator for great young talent for decades, up until Art’s death in 1990. Leading exponents of the “hard bop” sound, the Jazz Messengers gave a strong jolt of the blues to the bebop pyrotechnics.
Thursday, June 2
Andrew LaPrise and Friends play Wynton Marsalis’ Black Codes from the Underground
Wynton Marsalis is certainly the best-known jazz trumpet star since Miles Davis. Coming out of an extraordinary musical family from New Orleans, Wynton has made his mark on both jazz and classical trumpet, and he’s had a huge impact on jazz history through Jazz at Lincoln Center. Black Codes (from the Underground) was released in 1985, featuring one of Marsalis’s greatest bands and proving to be a landmark album.