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Johnny and June. Gram and Emmylou. Richard and Linda Thompson. The annals of music are filled with epic partnerships in which each inspires the other to greater heights, even when the romance is rocky. In the jazz world, singer Billy Holiday and saxophonist Lester Young had such a musical romance in the studio and on stage. That partnership is celebrated by vocalist Paula Hanke and tenor sax player Frank Southecorvo at the White Horse Black Mountain on Friday, November 29 at 8:00 pm.
“Lady Day” and “Prez”, as Holiday and Young dubbed each other, gained fame with the Count Basie band in the ’30s. After striking out on their own they worked together frequently, cutting many classic jazz sides that showcase the almost telepathic connection between these two sensitive and original musicians. Although their personal demons came between them in the ’50s, they reunited briefly in 1957 for a final flash of brilliance before both passed from the scene too soon. Highlights of their collaborations centered on love won and lost were released on the 2002 album A Musical Romance, which provided inspiration for the White Horse show.
Paula Hanke is a seasoned song interpreter with over thirty years’ professional experience on club and concert stages, recordings and television. She can be heard locally performing in various musical settings, including the Paula and Tony Duo and The BJ Leiderman Band.
Saxophonist Frank Southecorvo has been a fixture on the Asheville jazz scene since the late 1980s, leading his own groups as well as performing regularly with other artists. He’s also a composer who has recorded several CDs of his own material.
The band will be anchored by Michael Jefry Stevens, a pianist/composer whose career spans forty years of playing with some of the most important figures in jazz. Rounding out the ensemble will be Zack Page on bass and Ben Bjorlie on drums.
Optional Dinner available for purchase from Black Mountain Bistro from 6:30-7:30. Please reserve in advance by calling 828-669-0816.
Concert starts at 8:00 pm. Tickets are $15.