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UCSB Arts & Lectures presents Jelly and George: Celebrating the Music of Jelly Roll Morton and George Gershwin

Aaron Diehl

Aaron Diehl

UCSB Arts & Lectures presents Jelly and George: Celebrating the Music of Jelly Roll Morton and George Gershwin, featuring Aaron Diehl, Adam Birnbaum and Cécile McLorin Salvant on Tues., March 7, at 8 p.m. at UCSB Campbell Hall.

Timeless classics will become modern masterpieces when some of today’s hottest young jazz musicians – pianist Aaron Diehl, pianist Adam Birnbaum and vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant – revitalize works from piano greats George Gershwin and Jelly Roll Morton. Diehl’s “melodic precision, harmonic erudition and elegant restraint” (The New York Times) have made him a leading force among his generation of jazz contemporaries, spearheading a distinct union of traditional and fresh artistry. Birnbaum, one of the top young voices emerging in jazz piano, has become a presence on the New York City scene, as well as many national and international stages. Salvant, “the finest jazz singer to emerge in the last decade” (The New York Times), returns as a Santa Barbara favorite to lend her impeccable vocal stylings to iconic works from the past century. Santa Barbara audiences who have experienced Cécile McLorin Salvant during A&L’s past two seasons will be elated for her return to the stage in this imaginative, wholly original presentation.

Cécile McLorin Salvant

Cécile McLorin Salvant

Jelly and George presents the music of titans Jelly Roll Morton and George Gershwin through the modern lens of piano virtuoso, Aaron Diehl. The program takes us on a joyous journey through the music of two of jazz’s seminal pianists, whose compositions and techniques most influenced early 20th century American music. Though contemporaries, [Gershwin (1898-1937)/Morton (1890-1941)] there is no historic record that they ever collaborated or even knew each other. Both constructed their styles from the rich array of musical sounds converging in America during that time.

Gershwin, born of Russian-Jewish immigrants in Brooklyn, set a gold standard for Tin Pan Alley songwriting. Morton, a Creole New Orleanian who, although prone to exaggeration (he claimed to have invented jazz in 1902), developed a model for structuring, notating and defining a burgeoning art form. Performing in dissimilar universes, these two pivotal figures created a rich body of work and an expansive range of popular melodies that transcends time and continues to be performed by celebrated singers and musicians throughout the world today.

Tickets are $25-$40 for the general public and $15 for all students (valid student ID required).

For tickets and more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at (805) 893-3535 or visit www.ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu.

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