Saturday | March 23, 2019 | 7:30 PM
Sunday | March 24, 2019 | 2:00 PM
Arlene Schnitzer Hall
1037 SW Broadway
Portland OR 97205
Unforgettable: 100 Years of Nat and Natalie Cole
A Nat and Natalie Cole revue starring powerhouse vocalist Denzal Sinclaire and diva Dee Daniels. Relive the finest in classic jazz, from “Stardust” and “Unforgettable” to “Superstition” and “Mona Lisa.” Pops Series Concert
Gerald Steichen, conductor
Dee Daniels and Denzal Sinclaire, vocals
Nat King Cole became the first African-American performer to host a variety TV series in 1956. He's best known for his soft baritone voice and for singles like "The Christmas Song," "Mona Lisa," and "Nature Boy."
Born on March 17, 1919, in Montgomery, AL, Nat King Cole was an American musician who first came to prominence as a jazz pianist. He owes most of his popular musical fame to his soft baritone voice, which he used to perform in big band and jazz genres. In 1956, Cole became the first African-American performer to host a variety television series, and for many white families, he was the first black man welcomed into their living rooms each night. He has maintained worldwide popularity since his death in 1965.
Multiple Grammy-winning recording artist Natalie Cole was just 8 years old when her father, legendary crooner Nat King Cole, recorded his first album in Spanish, scoring an unexpected international smash in 1958. Her father’s foreign-language success was a culturally captivating experience for little Natalie, who got to travel outside the country for the first time with her famous father. She vividly recalls a trip to Mexico during which she saw her first piñata, posed for pictures “as a señorita” in folkloric dress, and most memorably, witnessed first-hand the adulation and esteem that Latin American fans showed for the King, a pioneering African-American superstar. “They loved, loved, loved him,” she recalls. “And I loved what he loved. So I fell in love with the culture.”
Natalie passed away in 2015, but her music and legacy, like her father’s, live on even now.
With a career that ranges from symphony to opera and from Broadway to chamber music, Maestro Gerald Steichen has established himself as one of America’s most versatile conductors. He is currently music director of the Ridgefield Symphony (Connecticut), and he completed twelve seasons as principal pops conductor of the Utah Symphony, as well as fifteen seasons as principal pops conductor of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra.
Steichen is a frequent guest conductor for the Boston Pops and the New Jersey Symphony. International appearances include the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo City Symphony, the NDR Philharmonie Hannover at the Braunschweig Festival, and numerous appearances with the Norwegian Radio Symphony.
During ten seasons with the New York City Opera, Steichen led performances including La bohème, L'elisir d'amore, Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, and Rachel Portman’s The Little Prince. A gifted pianist, he performed on stage for the New York City Opera’s acclaimed productions of Porgy and Bess and Carmina Burana. Steichen toured nationally as the associate conductor of The Phantom of the Opera, The Secret Garden, and Peter Pan, and conducted Cats in New York for two years. He has also appeared on Broadway, portraying Manny, the Accompanist, in the Tony Award-winning Master Class. Pursuing his passion for education,
Originally from Tonkawa, Oklahoma, Maestro Steichen holds degrees from Northern Oklahoma College, Oklahoma City University, and the University of Southern California. He currently resides in New York City.
Whether accompanying herself at the piano or fronting a trio, big band, or symphony, Dee Daniels’ musical career is as varied as her four-octave vocal range is thrilling. She is a unique talent who transcends musical borders when she brings her jazz styling, infused with gospel and blues flavoring, to the stage. One critic says, “Daniels’ voice has a hypnotic quality, delivering an impressive range that gives the romantic songs and verse of 50 years ago new life and raw emotion.”
Though Dee has a bachelor’s degree in art education and taught high school art for a year in Seattle, she quickly realized that her true calling was music. Her vocal style was born in her stepfather’s church choir in Oakland, California, refined through the R&B era, polished during a five-year stay in the Netherlands and Belgium from 1982 to 1987, and brought to full fruition upon her return to North America. From those years to the present, she has performed and/or recorded with many legends of jazz including Benny Green, Houston Person, John Clayton, Russell Malone, Wycliffe Gordon, Cyrus Chestnut, Helen Sung, Christian McBride, and David Young – to mention a few.
Dee has cultivated a diverse career that has also seen her on theater stages, including the 2009 premiere of New York choreographer Twyla Tharp’s musical Come Fly Away, and as an inspirational speaker, with a keynote address being delivered at the 2009 Women’s CEO & Senior Management Summit in Toronto. Her international career includes performances in twelve African countries, Australia, South America, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Japan, throughout North America, and many countries within Europe. Dee has several CDs as a leader to her credit, in addition to being a guest artist on CDs of other artists.
Denzal Sinclaire is one of Canada’s most popular jazz vocalists and is ranked among the finest jazz singers of his generation. A graduate of McGill University’s Jazz Performance program (Montreal, Canada), he possesses that rare ability to achieve, from the moment he steps on stage, a profound emotional interaction with his audience. His passionate and sincere delivery caresses every song he sings.
Denzal is a Juno Award (Canada’s Grammy Award) nominee, a recipient of the 2004 National Jazz Award for Best Album, a four-time consecutive recipient of Jazz Report Award for Male Jazz Vocalist, and 2007 Choc Jazzman Award (France). His admirers include Grammy Award-winning artists Diana Krall (“Denzal Sinclaire embodies the tradition of the great singers I love like Nat Cole, yet definitely has his own voice. He is one of my favorite singers...”), Wynton Marsalis and the JALC Orchestra, Dianne Reeves, Michael Feinstein, and Michael Bublé, as well as growing legions of jazz fans in his native Canada and abroad. From his early days as a canny interpreter of Nat ‘King’ Cole’s mentholated crooning, he’s grown into one of the most distinctive and individualistic singers anywhere.
Equally at home in the theatre, film and television arenas, Denzal has delighted audiences with his critically-acclaimed performance in Unforgettable, a musical based on the life and music of Nat King Cole; Tapestry: The Music of Carole King (Arts Club Theatre); and William Saroyan’s award-winning The Time of Your Life (Soul Pepper Theatre Company). His TV and film credits include appearances in the new Battlestar Gallactica and Being Julia, starring being Annette Bening and Jeremy Irons.