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“The Prince of Sophisticated Soul”

By Don Valentine

      Will Downing, the renowned Grammy-nominated jazz and soul singer, will be coming to Miami this Friday. In a recent interview on National Public Radio with host Ray Suarez he gave adulation and tribute by covering songs from the icons of the Soul era. On his recent CD he played songs by everyone from Aretha Franklin to Gladys Knight and Phyllis Hyman.

     He took a generous humble approach in doing his renditions. During his N.P.R. interview he told Mr. Suarez, “If  it’s not broke, don’t fix it. All you have to do is sing the melody. Be true to the song.” Mr. Downing went on to extrapolate that “When it is sung an octave lower by a man, the interpretation of the lyrics takes on a different vision. That is how I make the song my own!”

“The Sophisticated Prince Of Soul” will be joining a stellar jazz ensemble Friday, Feb. 8 at the James L. Knight Concert Hall. This show launches the celebration of Black History Month.  It is the 11th annual season of the internationally acclaimed JAZZ ROOTS concerts, “JAZZ IN THE KEY OF ELLISON”.

This all-star cast of perf-ormers is backed by the talented Andy Farber Jazz orchestra, Grammy®-winning jazz trumpeter/composer Nicholas Pay-ton, Nona Hendryx, plus more stars.           For Black History Month they will perform music from the greats such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Thelonious Monk, Ray Charles and Nina Simone. New York Times best-selling writer Roxane Gay will serve as special guest host and narrator. In acknowledgement of Ellison’s long friendship with the renowned African American painter Romare Bearden, himself a jazz artist and composer, images of Bearden’s artistic works and rare video clips will serve as a backdrop for portions of the live performance.

 

 

 

 

 

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