Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

206

Shades Of Harlem Delivers Harlem Mystique Onstage

Daniel Kassell By

Sign in to view read count
SHADES OF HARLEM has that Harlem Mystique cultivated during the Cotton Club Era
Producer Bob Blume (Drama Desk Awards) announced, "It's a hot Saturday night for a very special show". (at APAP-Association of Performing Arts Presenters Convention, January 11, 2003). "We took over Bridges here at the New York Hilton to showcase" SHADES OF HARLEM. "Special guests in the audience tonight: From Lew Leslie's Blackbirds of 1934 - Ludie Jones, 87 and still working! And just recently retired - Ruby Riley, 87. And finally an original Cotton Club gal, who was as also in Stormy Weather - Juanita Boisseau, 91"!

After the performance I asked Juanita (What an exotic name, you should see her gorgeous complexion now and imagine what she must have looked like to those Harlem men 50 years ago) if she knew guitarist Al Casey when he played with Fats Waller? She replied, "I put Fats on the train (in 1943), he said he wanted to get home to New York for some home cookin'." (Mr. Waller developed pneumonia on that train and died before reaching Harlem). "I was also in the line in a Fats movie short, one of the Jones sisters was sittin' on the piano."


The musical revue included "A Train-the best way to get to Harlem", in which pianist Frank Owens added just the right Strayhorn flavor that Duke Ellington admired. Ty Stephens (Sophisticated Ladies) pranced and emphasized those 30's Cotton Club vaudeville mannerisms dressed in white tailcoat with white tux slacks. Jerre Wade (Creator of Shades of Harlem) and Branice McKenzie (Director, Celebrate Kwanzaa.) explained why an errant man had "the right key but the wrong keyhole" then how he was "do'in' it the wrong way". All three lined up for a theatrically choreographed "Don't Mean a Thing If . . .". And if you have to ask "what" this show is not for you unless you want to find out why they were having so much fun in Harlem. More than a dozen other tunes make it a full theatrical "Cotton Club" musical.


After a delightfully happy reprise of the title song and much applause Producer Bill Spence (Chanel) reported that many presenters had expressed interest. "Because the show hasn't been seen in New York for over ten years, an audition video was shot during a special industry performance at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in November 2002, that is being edited to one hour to interest casinos."

(C)1/11/03 Dan Kassell
All Rights Reserved
Go to ShadesofHarlem.com to learn more and discover their future performing schedule.


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Ostrava Days 2017 Live Reviews Ostrava Days 2017
by Martin Longley
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Diane Schuur at Birdland Live Reviews Diane Schuur at Birdland
by Tyran Grillo
Published: November 20, 2017
Read Pat Metheny at Belfast Waterfront Live Reviews Pat Metheny at Belfast Waterfront
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Crosscurrents at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor Live Reviews Crosscurrents at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: November 15, 2017
Read "Jim Beard And Jon Herington At The Kennett Flash" Live Reviews Jim Beard And Jon Herington At The Kennett Flash
by Mike Jacobs
Published: June 29, 2017
Read "John Handy Tribute At SFJAZZ" Live Reviews John Handy Tribute At SFJAZZ
by Walter Atkins
Published: January 30, 2017
Read "Mat Maneri and Tanya Kalmanovitch at Korzo" Live Reviews Mat Maneri and Tanya Kalmanovitch at Korzo
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 18, 2017
Read "Omar Sosa Residency at SFJAZZ" Live Reviews Omar Sosa Residency at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: May 8, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor