Ladies is Jazz to feature Samirah Evans and Mary Witt
Mary Witt will be the featured artist paired with Samirah Evans for the next installment of "Ladies in Jazz" at the Arts Block, 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 23.
Witt is well known as the band leader and bassist for the popular New England-based band, The O-Tones. For over 20 years they have delighted dancers with their unique blend of swing, jazz standards, R&B, Motown, and soul. They have also released four CDs, with the latest being the 2015 "Groove Duets," on which Witt sings in tandem with a dozen of her favorite area vocalists, including Evans on "Drop On Me."
Evans and Witt will perform that song along with other duets as well as solo performances, showcasing danceable swing, pop, R&B and soul. Accompanists include guitarist/vocalist Anand Nayak (also featured on "Groove Duets"), bassist Wayne Roberts and drummer Jason Arnold.
Advance tickets can be purchased for $15 at theartsblock.com. Tickets will also be available at the door the evening of the concert for $18. The Arts Block is located at 289 Main St., Greenfield, Mass.
Jazz Weekly's George Harris describes Mary Witt's voice as "rich and earnest". Witt grew up in North Carolina listening to soul and Motown on the radio. She began singing with her older sister, who was given a guitar as a high school graduation present, then developed an ear for harmonies in junior high while singing in the Southern Baptist Church choir. Witt's musical world expanded to jazz while in high school, and she studied classical French horn for 20 years. She took up electric bass as an adult to have an instrument she could play while singing, and in the 1990s formed the six-piece band, The O-Tones. Learn more at www.theotones.com.
Samirah Evans was a fixture on the New Orleans music scene for more than 15 years before relocating to Brattleboro, Vermont in the wake of hurricane Katrina. She formed Samirah Evans & Her Handsome Devils in 2007 and has performed at clubs, concert halls and music festivals throughout the northeast. In 2011, Evans released Hot Club: Live at the Vermont Jazz Center (Misha Records), her third CD and first recorded outside of Louisiana. She has shared stages with legendary artists James Brown, B.B. King, Irma Thomas, Sheila Jordan, Terence Blanchard, and Donald Harrison, Jr., among others in her career, and has toured Europe, Asia and South America as a headliner. Learn more at www.samirahevans.com.
Ladies in Jazz is a musical series conceived by Silktone Productions and co-produced with the Arts Block. Every other month, the series brings Samirah Evans together in concert with another female jazz vocalist or instrumentalist. The goal is to introduce new women artists to audiences in western Massachusetts, as well as bring established women artists to the area. Featured artists have included Sheila Jordan, Evelyn Harris, Jill Connolly, The Valley Jazz Divas Maricel Lucero, Rebecca Holtz, Elizabeth!, and Becca Byram.