During the mid-1950’s singer Mel Tormé–known as “The Velvet Fog”–and arranger Marty Paich made a series of legendary and consummate recordings of great American songs.
Two local musicians share a passion for the music of Tormé and Paich.
Olympia based singer Dennis Hastings loves Tormé so much he commissioned copies of the original Paich arrangements from the recordings so that he might perform them himself.
And Tacoma based bandleader Keith Henson is also a Tormé devotee whose five-horn, eight piece band regularly plays Marty Paich arrangements at twice monthly performances at the B Sharp Coffee House in downtown Tacoma.
Paich backed Tormé with a distinctive eight-horn, bass and drums band called the “Dek-tette,” which included a tuba.
Recently two members from Henson’s band suggested augmenting the octet for a couple special performances so Hastings could bring his Paich arrangements and sing with the band.
Hastings and Henson couldn’t move fast enough. The excitement surroundings this project helped quickly secure two venues—one in Tacoma and the other in Olympia—and the extra musicians.
Regular Henson Octet members will back Hastings, including Tacoma’s premier alto saxophone soloist Tracy Knoop, (who played with Tormé), Grammy Award winning jazz trumpeter Tracey D. Hooker, pianist Dr. David Deacon-Joyner, PLU Director of Jazz Studies, and drummer Steve Bentley.
Joining the octet will be lead trumpet player Morris Northcutt and tuba master Paul Evans.
Music includes compositions by Ellington (I’m Gonna Go Fishin’), Rogers and Hammerstein (The Surrey with the Fringe On Top), Cole Porter (Too Darn Hot), Gershwin (Nice Work If You Can Get It), and other selections from the Great American Songbook.
Sponsors for these two “art for art’s sake” events are The B Sharp Coffee House in Tacoma and ArtHouse Designs in Olympia. These events are free to the public and all ages are welcome.
Details: Into the Fog: Dennis Hastings sings Mel Tormé
Thursday, April 23, The B Sharp Coffee House, 706 Opera Alley, Tacoma, 8-10 pm
Saturday, April 25, (During the Olympia Arts Walk) ArtHouse Designs, 420 Franklin St. SE, Olympia, 3-5 pm.