Sunday, March 17, 6 p.m.
The Redstone Room, 129 Main Street, Davenport IA
March 17 would mark the 100th birthday of the late, great jazz legend Nat King Cole, and in recognition of this historic date in music history, Polyrhythms' Third Sunday Jazz Series will present a thrilling salute to the artist in the Redstone Room's “A Tribute to Nat King Cole,” a March 17 celebration of the artist's output led by the area jazz greats of the Tony Sconyers Quintet.
An American jazz pianist and singer who made over 100 recordings that became hits on the pop charts, Cole employed his rich and mellifluous vocals on some of the most beloved songs of all time, among them “When I Fall in Love,” “Mona Lisa,” “It's Only a Paper Moon,” and “Unforgettable,” the latter of which, after Cole's passing, was also recorded as a Grammy-winning, chart-topping duet with his daughter Natalie. Among Cole's myriad credits, he also acted in films (including Citizen Kane) and on television and Broadway, and in 1956, became the first black man to host an American television series with the artist's The Nat King Cole Show.
Because Cole's body of work is so broad, Polyrhythms director Nate Lawrence, in 2016, decided that in order to do justice to such an iconic artist, a trilogy was in order. Consequently, in December of that year, Tony Sconyers presented the Third Sunday Jazz program “Cole: Le Debut,” styled as an opening snapshot of the life and musical legacy of Nat King Cole. The following December, Polyrhythms' concert presentation “The Trio Years” focused on the early half of Cole's professional career by looking at the progression of the Nat King Cole Trio, with touring vocalist Sconyers performing with the Ron Tegeler Quartet. And in the “A Tribute to Nat King Cole” program, Sconyers explores the latter portion of Nat’s life and career, joined on the Redstone Room stage by Dick Watson on piano, Karli Bunn on saxophone, Ron Wilson on bass, and Manuel Lopez III on drums.
“Those who know of Nat King Cole only as a talented and prolific vocalist may not be aware that Nat started his entertainment career as a gifted jazz pianist,” says Sconyers. “Many of us end on a path in life that is significantly different than the path of our beginning. At the end of Nat’s journey, his legacy to many would surely be a collection of a wide array of vocal blockbusters of endless proportions. Some may have little idea the vocal giant known as Nat King Cole began his professional music career as a talented teen whose goal was to become the next Earl Hines, a gifted jazz pianist in his own right. Nat’s professional start as a vocalist was solely as filler for a budding jazz pianist.”
Polyrhythms' 6 p.m. concert on March 17 will be preceded by a 3 p.m. “Jazz Demystifying” workshop, and tickets are $10-15 for the evening performance, with the workshop $5 for adults and free for students. For tickets and information, contact Polyrhythms at (309)373-0790 or Polyrhythms.org, or the Redstone Room at (563)326-1333 or RiverMusicExperience.org.