Music To Warm Your Heart

By Fred Mills

There is plenty to love about the local music scene in this month of love. We’ve got some excellent tributes coupled with a few excellent original artists to cap off the month.

There are a couple of professional tribute acts in the area this month with the first being Markell Williams paying homage to the legendary crooner Sam Cooke. When this moving tribute comes to Earl Strand Theatre on Feb. 14, your sweetheart will sure be in for a treat. The “Sam Cooke Experience” is peppered with stories from the iconic singer’s childhood and rise to fame.

On Feb. 17 Jane Powell, “The Goddess of Soul” takes the stage of the Roswell Cultural Arts center as she performs a blend of classic R&B songs, blues tunes, jazz standards, and gospel anthems. Jane has worked with some of the best in the business including the legendary Ray Charles. Powell will captivate you with her playful personality, spicy sense of humor, and soulful style.

If you’re craving some jazz, then our friends at The Velvet Note in Alpharetta have you covered. On Feb. 17 they welcome multi Grammy winning drummer Ulysses Owens Jr. and his trio to the intimate Velvet Note stage. Owens has established himself as a leader in his generation of jazz artists, admired for his sensitive, fiery and complex playing, vivid display of textural nuance, and gift for propelling a band with charisma and integrity. Both humble in person and imposing behind a kit, he is a graduate of the inaugural Jazz Studies Program at The Juilliard School and a two-time Grammy Award winner. He earned his stripes as a member of bassist Christian McBride’s acclaimed trio and was the driving force of McBride’s big band.

Singer songwriter Sarah Partridge performs on Feb. 24. After graduating college at Northwestern University in 1982, she worked around Chicago, and landed her first feature role in Tom Cruise’s 1983 hit Risky Business. She spent years honing her technique in Los Angeles and New York City, where she moved in 1994, and instantly bonded with trumpet legend Doc Cheatham. Partridge released her debut I’ll Be Easy to Find in 1998, a widely acclaimed album and has grown exponentially with each new recording. It would not be surprising if a few of her songs became standards in the future. And now, Bright Lights & Promises: Redefining Janis Ian, her latest release, captures an artist fully in command of her craft. Surrounded by an enviably sympathetic cast of collaborators, Partridge has expanded the possibilities for fellow vocalists, bringing the work of an American original firmly into the jazz fold. For info and tickets visit The Velvet Note site at www.thevelvetnote.com.