IF YOU GO
‘Our Favorite Things’
Who: Stu Shelton, Rebecca Richardson, Dan Heck, Bob Zottola, Patricia Dean, Toni-Ann Singh, Robin Shuford-Frank, Naples Academy of Ballet
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Moss Hall within the Moorings Presbyterian Church of Naples, 791 Harbour Drive, Naples
Price: $20 in advance. $25 at the door
Tickets: 354-1817 or visit NaplesJazz.com
Jazz pianist Stuart Shelton has probably become the busiest musician — jazz or otherwise — in Naples, appearing somewhere seven nights per week. With his unparalleled technique and dexterity, inventiveness and sense of swing, he has few equals.
And he heads one of the best recording studios in Naples. Almost any area jazz player who has recorded a CD has done it at Shelton Studios. Recently, he’s become a concert promoter as well, heading a sold-out jazz extravaganza last year at the Unity Church of Naples.
Rebecca Richardson is a Juilliard-trained singer who has performed with the likes of the Seattle Symphony and the Civic Light Opera, and taught voice at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. She is founder/director of the Naples Carolers, has sung for Opera Naples locally, and is a familiar, and popular performer among patrons at Campiello. Her voice can only be described as ethereal, and the sold-out crowd who came to hear her in a similar concert at Unity of Bonita Springs would doubtlessly agree.
Shelton and Richardson have come up with a diverse performance evening, called “Our Favorite Things,” that incorporates jazz, opera and dance, and featuring some the area’s best known jazz and classical musicians and singers, along with performances by The Naples Academy of Ballet It’s set for Tuesday at the Moorings Presbyterian Church of Naples.
An ambitious undertaking, since such a mixing of genres like this doesn’t happen often.
“I would guess that the reason this is done so infrequently is because people tend to be in gear for one style or another,” Shelton explains. “However, many years ago, the vocal group Expresso, which I was a part of, did a combo concert with the Philadelphia String Quartet at Sugden Theatre and it was a huge success. We hope our measure of success will be the same.”
Another goal of the concert is to celebrate the release of two new jazz CDs by Richardson and Patricia Dean, one of the performers Tuesday. The CDs be for sale at the concert.
The program’s first half is the classical portion, with compositions written by Bach, Rossini and Chopin. Richardson and Toni-Ann Singh, one of her students, will sing, accompanied by Robin Shuford-Frank. There will be a performance by trumpeter Bob Zottola, who, along with Richardson and Singth, will also appear in the jazz part of the concert, and a performance by members of the Russian-trained school of dance, the Naples Academy of Ballet. Jazz takes center stage for the second half of the concert.
Duke Ellington used to say, “There are two kinds of music: good and bad.” The famed maestro didn’t believe in labels, classifications or separation of genres. Shelton and Richardson are obviously following the master’s advice.
About the performers:
n Dean is one of the few players, male or female, who plays drums and sings. Her vocals recall those of Nancy Wilson.
n Singh, 14, is an extraordinary singer who has appeared in concerts at Unity Church and Opera Naples. Her newest CD receives regular play on Praise FM and other religious stations.
n Pianist Shuford-Frank is chorus master, director of educational outreach, and music administrator for Opera Naples, as well as assistant director and accompanist for The Naples Orchestra and Chorus. She has recently been appointed adjunct professor at the Bower School of Music at Florida Gulf Coast University.
n Zottola, who has worked with everyone from Benny Goodman to Chick Corea, is known as an inventive improviser. He leads one of the area’s most popular groups, The Expandable Jazz Band, in a number of night spots around Naples.
n Guitarist/bassist Dan Heck has also performed nationally, but is now headquartered in Naples, frequently accompanying Richardson, and as a member of a group known as “The Trio!”