Celebrate Nat King Cole!
Don't miss powerhouse jazz artists Ramsey Lewis and John Pizzarelli as celebrate the music of Nat King Cole—“the best friend a song ever had”—with their tribute concert “Straighten Up and Fly Right” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, in Eisenhower Auditorium.
The program will feature Lewis on piano and Pizzarelli on vocals and guitar performing some of Cole’s unforgettable hits, including “Route 66,” “This Will Make You Laugh,” “Paper Moon,” “Nature Boy” and “Hit That Jive Jack,” as well as classic songs by Lewis.
Lewis has released more than 80 recordings highlighting his jazz, funk and pop compositions. He won three Grammy Awards (as both a jazz and rhythm-and-blues artist), and five of his albums went gold.
His musical expertise has landed him wide-ranging career opportunities, including a 13-episode “Legends of Jazz” public-television show. He is the artistic director of Jazz at Ravinia in suburban Chicago and is on the board of trustees for an inner-city music school in his home city. He also helped to form the Ramsey Lewis Foundation, which aims to connect at-risk youth with the world of music. He has hosted radio shows in Chicago, including the “The Ramsey Lewis Morning Show,” and his current syndicated program, “Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis,” airs in various cities throughout the United States.
Pizzarelli grew up in a musical family—his father is New York jazz guitarist “Bucky” Pizzarelli—listening to jazz standards. Pizzarelli said he became smitten with Cole’s repertoire because it had the same ingredients as rock and roll. “The songs were completely different than a Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett repertoire. There was this whole other jazz repertoire … that was really fun,” he said in an interview with the Center for the Performing Arts.
In addition to memorizing Cole’s catalog, he became adept at adding his personal touch to the Great American Songbook with scatting, lightning-fast strum work and entertaining vocal chops. He took his talents on the road, first with his father and then with John Pizzarelli Trio, with which he has toured since 1992.
In his 36 years of professional recording, Pizzarelli has released more than 40 albums. His solo recordings and original compositions complement his Christmas covers; bossa nova collection; and tributes to Broadway, pop and jazz masters—most recently, Paul McCartney. He has performed on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “Live with Regis & Kelly,” “The CBS Early Show” and with hip-hop/soul group The Roots on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”
Tickets for the concert—$48 for an adult, $15 for a University Park student and $38 for a person 18 and younger—are available online at www.cpa.psu.edu or by phone at 814-863-0255 or 800-ARTS-TIX. Tickets are also available at four State College locations: Eisenhower Auditorium (weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), Penn State Downtown Theatre Center (weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), HUB-Robeson Center Information Desk (weekdays 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and Bryce Jordan Center (weekdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.).