Cotton Club comes to life this weekend at the Schermerhorn

Cotton ClubNew York City’s Cotton Club was the kind of place F. Scott Fitzgerald was thinking about when he wrote The Great Gatsby. Founded in Harlem during the height of Prohibition, it’s where Tom Buchanan would have taken Nick Carraway for an illicit night on the town, where Meyer Wolfshiem would have discussed business with the “Old Sport” himself.

The real-life Cotton Club was also one of the most important venues in the history of American music, and it’s the subject of internationally renowned pops conductor Jeff Tyzik’s program with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra this weekend at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

One of the world’s busiest musicians, Tyzik is the real deal. A virtuoso jazz trumpeter who first gained attention working with Chuck Mangione, Tyzik is an expert arranger and a gifted classical and jazz composer. Not surprisingly, he’s created a terrific program for the Cotton Club.

His program will feature the music of such legends as Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, George Gershwin and Duke Ellington (the Duke’s orchestra was the club’s house band from 1927 to 1931). Trumpeter Byron Stripling and vocalist Carmen Bradford will help Tyzik and the NSO recreate the Cotton Club’s signature, swingin’ sound.

Performances are 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13 and 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14 and Saturday, Nov. 15. Tickets are $22 to $138 and are available here.

 

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About John Pitcher

John Pitcher is the chief classical music, jazz and dance critic as well as co-founder of ArtsNash. He has been a classical music critic for the Washington Post, the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle, National Public Radio’s Performance Today (NPR), ArtNowNashville.com and the Nashville Scene. His writings about music and the arts have also appeared in Symphony Magazine, American Record Guide and Stagebill Magazine, among other publications. Pitcher earned his master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where he studied arts writing with Judith Crist and Phyllis Garland. His work has received the New York State Associated Press award for outstanding classical music criticism.