In the Jazz Tradition: Nellie McKay
Wednesday, December 5, 2018 | 7:00 pm
Wednesday, December 5, 2018 | 9:00 pm
The ‘In the Jazz Tradition’ Package, which provides access to all 14 ‘In the Jazz Tradition’ sets at Durham Fruit & Produce, including performances by Nnenna Freelon, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Nellie McKay, Catherine Russell, Jazzmeia Horn, René Marie, and Kate McGarry, is now on sale. Packages are available for purchase online, via phone at 919-684-4444, and in person at the Duke University Box Office, Monday through Friday, 11 AM to 6 PM.
Nellie McKay arrived on the music scene like an exclamation mark. Get Away from Me — her astounding 2004 debut, believed to be the first double-disc introduction to any jazz singer — upended the norms of piano-backed jazz with tempestuous bits of reggae and rock, bursts of hip-hop and pop, and a seamless merger of musical erudition and thematic irreverence. It was, as The New York Times observed, “a tour de force from a sly, articulate musician.” With a voice that can be boisterous and bold or soft and breathy, McKay harnesses the agility of a superstar athlete from the piano bench. She has maintained that adventurousness — starring on Broadway in The Threepenny Opera, recording a dazzling tribute to Doris Day, and producing a series of musical biographies of female iconoclasts. Her splendid 2018 album, Sister Orchid, turns standards into muted, moody late-night escapades: “Willow Weep for Me” becomes a boogie-woogie sprint, “The Nearness of You” a showcase for romantic melancholy. One of her generation’s most original performers, McKay remains delightfully unpredictable.
“Unpredictable, thrilling … a loose cannon who thrives in the moment.”