In the Berkshires: a Tribute to Billie Holiday & Billy Strayhorn
Berkshires Jazz will present a centennial tribute to jazz giants Billie Holiday and Billy Strayhorn at 8 p.m. on Saturday, August 15, in Pittsfield, Mass. Featured performers are the DeChamplain Trio, a fast-rising group that is making their Berkshires debut this year. Piano virtuoso Matt DeChamplain is a strong improviser and interpreter of the ‘Great American Jazz Book.’ He will be joined by his wife, vocalist Atla DeChamplain, and bassist Matt Dwonszyk to celebrate the iconic jazz figures.
Billie Holiday’s vocals were strongly inspired by the jazz instrumentalists of the 1930s and 40s. She began her career singing in Harlem nightclubs, and is credited for her unique way of manipulating phrasing and tempo. She went on to perform with Count Basie and Artie Shaw’s big bands.
Strayhorn has become known as Duke Ellington’s alter ego. As both a pianist and composer, he shares credit with Ellington on countless jazz standards; even the most astute of jazz scholars sometimes have trouble determining whether it was Ellington’s or Strayhorn’s pen that composed a tune (or, sometimes, whether Strayhorn was at the piano during a recording session).
The setting for the centennial tribute is, Baba Louie’s Backroom on 34 Depot Street in Pittsfield, Mass. There is limited seating capacity, so advance ticket purchase is strongly advised. Tickets are $20 in advance at berkshiresjazz.org and $25 at the door.