Monday, January 30, 2012

Vitello's to celebrate Black History Month with music

In celebration of Black History Month, Upstairs at Vitello’s Jazz and Supper Club announces the following special tributes:

Thursday, February 2 – Melena in performance with Jorge Carbonel- drums, Jorge “Sawa” Perez –bass, Jeff Goodkind-Piano, Louis Van Taylor-Sax/Flute, Brian Schwartz-Trumpet. Showtime is 8 PM/ Tickets are $15.

Saturday, February 4
Melina’s Percussion Workshop – Buffet luncheon and Networking/Bring your instruments! 11:30 a.m.registration, 12 – 2 PM Workshop – Tickets $30.

Melena,, known as one of the top female percussionists of our time, has mastered the traditional rhythms that have traveled from Africa to Cuba, to the dance floors of America. Her Afro-Cuban sound is a conversation of melodies which she plays with fierce passion on Congas, Timbales, Bata Drums, and Shekere. She is an artist who exemplifies the sound of legendary players from the past, to the modern sound of today and has performed with legendary artists such as Barry White, Stevie Wonder, Macy Gray and Julio Iglesias. Melena also conducts Master Classes nationally and internationally and will be conducting a special workshop at Vitello’s sponsored by the International Society of Black Latinos, ISBL, Rhythm Tech and Vic Firth,. All ages are welcome to this special afternoon event.

Wednesday, February 29, Showtime 8 PM, Tickets $20

John Proulx – piano/vocals, featuring Sherry Williams – voice, Chuck Berghofer—bass,
Joe LaBarbera–drums, guest appearance by Deana Martin (god-daughter of Jimmy McHugh).

What do all of the following popular songs have in common?
“I’m In the Mood for Love”, “On the Sunny Side of the Street”, “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love, Baby”, “Let’s Get Lost”, “Don’t Blame Me”, “When My Baby Walks Down the Street”, “I Feel A Song Coming On”, “It’s A Most Unusual Day” , “I Won’t Dance”, “(This is) A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening”, “I Can’t Believe That You’re in Love with Me”, “Cuban Love Song” and about 250 other outstanding tunes that everybody knows and loves. All of them were penned by one of the most prolific songwriters of the 20th century, the late, great Jimmy McHugh. He was a rehearsal pianist in Boston who headed for New York, wrote revues for The Cotton Club, created sparkling Broadway shows, then came west to Hollywood where he contributed to some of the best movie musicals of the ‘30’s and ‘40’s. While working for Mills Music Publishing as a song-plugger in the early 20s, Jimmy met Walter Brooks, a highly successful Producer of African American Musicals at the Famed Cotton Club in Harlem. He was hired on as an in-house songwriter at the popular Club. Jimmy McHugh was the only white man employed at the Cotton Club and became a fore-runner and spear-head for The Black Movement! He introduced Duke Ellington, Ethel Waters, and discovered a 16 year old dancer in the chorus, Lena Horne, who he mentored as a singer! The rest, as they say, is history. Duke Ellington, always gave McHugh credit for this introduction……

Jimmy McHugh died in 1969 but his music will live as long as singers want to sing! The composer’s grand-daughter, Judy McHugh, is a fan and supporter of Upstairs at Vitello’s jazz concerts. Jimmy McHugh Music’s Salute to Black History Month will feature performers John Proulx , piano & vocals, Chuck Berghofer bass, Joe LaBarbera drums Sherry Williams, vocals. Vocalist Deana Martin, goddaughter of Jimmy McHugh will make a guest appearance.

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