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Jazz At The Strand on the Marietta Square presents the Music of Ella Fitzgerald for Mother's Day on May 14th at 4pm

 Jazz At The Strand - The Music of Ella Fitzgerald featuring the Jazz Legacy Project and Vocalist Maria Howell
Luiz Fernando Reis
Creative Commons/Flickr
Jazz At The Strand - The Music of Ella Fitzgerald featuring the Jazz Legacy Project and Vocalist Maria Howell

The historic Strand Theatre in Marietta Square provides an excellent Mother’s Day offering. The Music of Ella Fitzgerald will come to life with performances from the Jazz Legacy Project featuring vocalist Maria Howell, a film and television star. This collaboration will include essential songs from Fitzgerald’s career and information about her approach to music and life. This will surely be a treat for mothers and everyone in the family.

Maria Howell joins us to speak about her part in this production. Howell shares that her career started with her singing jazz. Howell explains that her big break in entertainment came from the film adaptation of The Color Purple. She muses about the fact that she played a singer.

I asked Howell how she prepared to take on this role. Fitzgerald’s take on the great American songbook is considered the standard. Howell speaks to the fact that Fitzgerald didn’t write these songs, but her interpretation adds a layer of “that intangible that is Ella” to the words and rhythm. Howell explains that her performance will not be a duplication of Ella’s style, but rather, she will invoke the “spirit” of Ella to the performance.

Fitzgerald’s life story will also be covered in this story. I asked Howell if there were things that surprised her about the icon’s life. She mentions that Ella Fitzgerald spent time in reform school as a youth. Some of Fitzgerald’s life stories “painted a better” picture for Howell about her lyrically. Howell wants the audience to leave with a feeling of enlightenment.

A graduate of Winston-Salem State University, Howell shares that her success has been a faith walk. She felt at an early age that she wanted an entertainment career. She refuses to choose between acting and singing. She loves them both. Her family provided support, but she encourages others who are interested in an entertainment career to be realistic. She speaks to the “business” of entertainment and setting expectations. Her next project is a star-studded feature film called Summer Camp which should be coming soon.

For more information about Maria Howell

For more information at The Music of Ella at the Historic Strand