ST. PETERSBURG – Unity of Midtown, where Rev. Dr. Doral R. Pulley is the spiritual leader, presents Jazzy Jubilee 2016 with special guest artist Rachelle Ferrell. Artist will hit the stage at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18 at the Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Avenue N, St. Pete.
What began as an intimate fellowship around food and jazz with local artists at the Carter G. Woodson African American History Museum four years ago has morphed into a capital campaign fundraiser with Grammy Award-winning guitarists Norman Brown and nationally acclaimed vocalist Ferrell.
She is unquestionably one of the most dynamic talents in contemporary jazz music. Often compared to Minnie Riperton, Ferrell has a six-octave range and a keen ability to sing in her whistle register.
After an extensive career in Japan, she first emerged in the United States with her R&B debut “Rachelle Ferrell” (1992), a solid collection of self-penned originals. Her striking duet with Will Downing, “Nothing Has Ever Felt Like This,” made her popular in the mainstream R&B, pop and gospel genres.
Born in Berwyn, Pa., in 1964, she began singing at the age of six. As a youngster she received classical training in piano and violin and by the time she was a teen, she played the piano professionally.
After high school she enrolled in Berklee College of Music in Boston where she mastered arrangement, singing and songwriting. Upon graduation she secured a position teaching music for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts alongside Dizzy Gillespie.
Prior to her solo career, Ferrell sang backup for Lou Rawls, Patti LaBelle, Vanessa Williams, and George Duke. She has worked with such artists as bassists Tyrone Brown, Kenny Davis and Stanley Clarke; pianists Eddie Green, Gil Goldstein and Michel Petrucciani and trumpeter Terence Blanchard, as well as tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter and keyboardist Pete Levin.
Very few vocalists in the industry have Ferrell’s potent combination of range, phrasing and musicianship.
Ferrell, along with Norman Brown, will be in concert on Friday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. at the Palladium Theater, located at 253 Fifth Ave. N, in St. Petersburg. There will be a pre-show buffet dinner event at 5:30 p.m. with Alex Harris and ACT (Arts Conservatory for Teens) performing, and the evening will conclude with an artist meet and greet and an after party with Shawn Brown.
Tickets for all events can be purchased at unityofmidtown.org or mypallidium.org.