Grammy-Nominated Vocalist Carla Cook
New York City: Baruch College (The City University of New York) will again host Grammy-nominated vocalist Carla Cook and her quartet October 25, 2007, as part of the Milt Hinton Jazz Perspectives concert series, now in its 16th season. This will be Ms. Cook’s second appearance at the Hinton jazz concert series.
The performance will take place in Engelman Recital Hall, in Baruch’s Vertical Campus at 55 Lexington Avenue. The concert begins at 1 p.m. It is free to Baruch students, faculty and administration. There is a nominal ticket charge for non-Baruch community individuals.
This concert–organized by the Milt Hinton Jazz Perspectives Committee–is funded by the Baruch College Performing Arts Center and The Baruch College Fund.
In addition to the October 25, 2007 Carla Cook performance, the Milt Hinton Jazz Perspectives series will present concerts on December 6, 2007 (Andy Statman), and February 21, 2008 (TBA). On April 10, 2008, as part of Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM), jazz journalist Dan Ouellette will present a talk (based on his in-progress biography) on renowned bassist Ron Carter.
Carla Cook Background
While some jazz vocalists limit their repertoire of popular music to the swing of the 20’s and 30’s, Tin Pan Alley composers and the bebop of the 40’s, Ms. Carla Cook goes beyond the American Jazz Standard Repertoire. She reinterprets songs from the rock and R&B worlds--giving a jazz flavor to such pop classics as Simon & Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair,” Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues,” Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe,” and Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold.”
In her native Detroit, Cook started singing when she was a young child. Growing up, the Midwesterner sang in the Methodist Church. The secular music she enjoyed ranged from R&B, rock, country and European classical. Though jazz has always been Cook’s primary focus, she has been quoted as saying that her favorite artists range from Miles Davis to Chaka Khan to Johann Sebastian Bach.
During her formative years, Cook studied privately voice, piano and string bass, the latter of which she played in her high school orchestra. After leaving the Motor City, Cook moved to Boston to attend Northeastern University and earned a degree in Speech Communication. While in Boston, she formed the first of several jazz ensembles and set about the business of her trade. Then in 1990, she moved to New York, where she became active on the Manhattan club scene but paid her bills with various “day gigs” that concluded with her teaching social studies in a junior high school.
By the mid 90s, however, she was singing on a full-time basis and had given up her day gigs. It was in 1998 that Cook signed with MAXJAZZ, a small independent jazz label based in St. Louis that has a reputation for being singer-friendly. In 1999, Cook recorded her debut album; It’s All About Love. The CD enjoyed favorable reviews and received a Grammy nomination in the Best Jazz Vocal Performance category and was awarded the AFIM Indie Award for Best Jazz Vocal in 2000. In 2000, Cook recorded her second album, Dem Bones and in 2002, she recorded Simply Natural, both for MAXJAZZ. Her albums continue to receive critical acclaim.
The Hinton Series
The inaugural Milt Hinton Jazz Perspectives concert in 1992 starred jazz bassist Milt Hinton himself together with his picks for an “All-Star” ensemble: Seldon Powell (saxophonist), Bob Rosengarden (Drums), Mike Walters (saxophone and woodwinds), Derek Smith (piano), Jay D'Amico (piano), Mike Grey (trombone), and John “Bucky” Pizzarelli (guitar). This magical first concert saw famed trumpeter Wynton Marsalis join the group during the second half.
The following year Tito Puente and his big band also played to a full house with some students and faculty dancing in the aisles. In 1994 the concert was billed as a “Tribute to Women in Jazz” and featured a performance by singer Ruth Brown and Friends and the group Straight Ahead. In 1995 trombonist extraordinaire Slide Hampton and the Big Band Bird filled the bill for the fourth annual concert.
In 1996 America's jazz statesman Dr. Billy Taylor and the Billy Taylor Trio graced the Baruch College stage. In 1997 Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band gave a performance that offered a unique blend of Latin and jazz traditions. The 1998 concert presented virtuoso drummer Sherrie Maricle and the Diva Big Band.
The world famous Mingus Big Band played at the 8th annual concert in 1999. The Bronx Horns, consisting of Tito Puente’s brass section, together with Dave Valentin (flute) and Randy Brecker (trumpet), performed at the 9th annual concert in 2000. In 2001, The Heath Brothers (“Percy, Jimmy, and Tootie”) with special guest Jimmy Owens, performed at the 10th annual concert.
In 2002 (season #11) the Hinton Committee expanded its offerings with a series of concerts, including a November 6, 2002 concert featuring “The Latin-Jazz All Stars” with several world-renown Latin-jazz musicians: trumpeter/leader Michael Mossman, tenor saxophonist David Sanchez, trombonist Steve Turre, pianist Arturo O’Farrill, alto saxophonist Antonio Hart, bassist Andy Gonzalez, and percussionist Phoenix Rivera. The 2002-2003 season also featured the Marty Sheller Big Band, Chris Washburne's SYOTOS Latin-Jazz ensemble, and “Rumbamerica,” an Afro-Cuban ensemble made up of some of New York’s top Afro-Cuban drummers, singers, and dancers.
The 2003-2004 season featured the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the “Sax in the City” quartet, the Ted Piltzecker Septet, and the Roberta Piket Trio.
For the 2004-2005 season the Hinton committee organized a series of concerts starting with the November 4, 2004 performance of the Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Arturo O’Farrill. Dikki Du and the Zydeco Crew performed in the lobby of the vertical campus in early December 2004. On February 10, 2005 Grammy-nominated vocalist Carla Cook appeared in Baruch's Engelman Recital Hall venue, as did the Andy LaVerne Piano-Organ Trio (with drummer Danny Gottlieb and keyboardist Gary Versace) in March 2005.
The 2005-2006 season saw “Drummer of the Year” Bobby Sanabria and Quarteto Ache perform in October 2005, followed by the George Gee Swing Orchestra on December 1, and the 2006 Grammy-award winning Turtle Island String Quartet on February 15, 2006. The 2005-2006 season ended with a performance by the Andy Middleton Octet. This performance marked the first time a Hinton jazz series concert was co-funded by Chamber Music America (CMA). Middleton garnered a prestigious jazz composition commission from CMA in 2004.
The Hinton Jazz series’ 15th season opened with a spectacular performance by world-class bassist Rufus Reid and his quintet on October 19, 2006. In December 2006 the series continued with “Drummer of the Year” Bobby Sanabria leading the 19-piece Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra. As part of Black History Month celebrations, jazz/R&B/Funk bassist Lonnie Plaxico led a sextet at a February 15th concert. The 15th season ended with a lecture on legendary pianist Art Tatum given by Arnold Laubich on February 27.
For further information contact:
Eugene Marlow, Baruch College