Music by Ella Fitzgerald to highlight the Jazz Orchestra concert


Stoll, who had a brief encounter with Fitzgerald years ago, said he had three factors in basing a show around her: 1. She was poor and orphaned as a child and, like Louis Armstrong, had overcome these circumstances to thrive. 2. She had a work ethic and drive that was evident in her performances. 3. Her artistry, calling her “the greatest vocal improviser in history.”

While planning the show, Stoll knew immediately that Bradford would be the singer who would do Fitzgerald justice.

“She was part of a living legacy in Ella,” he said. “She knew her and toured with Count Basie, who was one of her mentors. Think of him as a mentorship, the living embodiment. Along with Carmen’s natural vocal ability and personality, they are what Ella stood for, and she is known in our industry and around the world.

The program will also include a suite by Duke Ellington, and music by Chick Webb, along with some of his very rare tunes. Stoll said Webb was one of the most influential drummers of the swing era and his hits were extremely difficult to interpret from a technical standpoint. This will leverage the skills of Jazz Orchestra drummer Willie Barthel III.

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Stoll is thrilled to have completed a full season and is looking forward to a bright future. The group will be focused on maintaining and increasing funding and appreciates the support the community has shown.

“We have a very diverse audience and hopefully next year we may be able to add a third concert to our schedule,” he said.


What: Springfield Jazz Symphony Orchestra – Ella Fitzgerald, First Lady of Song

Where: John Legend Theater at the Dome, 700 S. Limestone St., Springfield

When: 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 26

Admission: $25

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Henry R. Wright