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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Nat King Cole tribute jazz concert


    Courtesy of Morgan Feldman of John’s Vector Management / Guitarist John Pizzarelli will play in the concert at the Fox Tucson Theatre. Pizzarelli has proclaimed that Nat King Cole is his “jazz hero.”

    Pianist Ramsey Lewis and guitarist and vocalist John Pizzarelli will perform as part of a tribute to legendary jazz artist Nat King Cole on Friday at the Fox Tucson Theatre.

    “Straighten Up and Fly Right: The Nat King Cole Tribute” will pay homage to Cole’s vast array of hits, each as unique as the man himself.

    Sponsored by UApresents, the performance is the latest installment of a national tour that is breathing new life into a half-century-old playlist of timeless jazz classics. The performers will conduct a tribute to the career of the man famously dubbed as the “best friend a song ever had” by bringing to life his unforgettable classics. These gems of ’50s vocal pop and mesmerizing smooth jazz also influenced the musicians who are now recreating them.

    Lewis has been one of the foremost leaders in contemporary jazz for the last 50 years. As part of the Ramsey Lewis Trio with bassist Eldee Young and percussionist Redd Holt, Lewis has been a part of the jazz scene since his debut album in 1956. Several albums and group members later, Lewis is still producing the music that he loves, having just released his 80th collection of songs, Ramsey, Taking Another Look.

    Pizzarelli is a world-renowned jazz guitarist and singer who began playing at the age of 6, taking after his father in his passion for guitar. In his youth he was able to perform with his father alongside several jazz legends such as Benny Goodman, Les Paul and Clark Terry. But it seems fitting that his self-proclaimed jazz hero was Cole.

    Without the original figure of Cole, this tribute concert wouldn’t be taking place. His first successful hit, “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” for which Friday’s concert is so aptly named, helped Cole begin to climb the charts in 1943. After that, his smooth and eloquent jazz did the rest, keeping him at the front of the jazz movement until his death at the age of 45 from lung cancer.

    According to Lewis’ operation manager, Shelby Shariatzadeh, the nationwide tribute tour has been pleasing audiences from coast to coast since its start in January 2013. The tour continues on to San Diego after Tucson, and then heads east to Nebraska and Arkansas.
    UApresents has four shows remaining this season, after Friday’s. For those waiting for more, they won’t have to wait long.

    “Our new season, which will begin in October, will be announced in a couple weeks,” said Chad Lehrman, UApresents assistant marketing specialist. “All our shows are listed on our website, and students can get tickets to each of our shows for just $15 by purchasing tickets at our box office with a CatCard.”

    Lehrman also added that students who wish to get involved with UApresents can do so by joining the Student Promoters program.
    Contact the Centennial Hall Box Office for more information on Friday’s concert.

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