Jazz Orchestra warms up the cold night with Ella Fitzgerald’s show
Although she performed with Fitzgerald at the London Palladium and Carnegie Hall, Bradford admitted to the crowd that she was nervous and suffered from allergies. Nominated for a 2022 Grammy Award, she captured the public’s attention not only with her voice, but also with her stories.
As a youngster she met Fitzgerald twice at a department store perfumery counter and little did Bradford know the two would cross paths many times and her influence was always there.
Wearing a sparkly black top and red skirt for the first half of the show and later a sparkly dress, Bradford found inspiration from the audience when he recognized a 6-year-old boy in a red shirt. She hopes he can help keep this music alive for future generations.
“If you don’t bring your babies, this music is going to die,” she told the crowd. “They can’t live off Beyonce and (Justin) Bieber alone.”
The boy, Gabriel Jaskowiak, was a little reluctant at the announcement. Mum Amy Jaskowiak claimed it was Gabriel who saw News-Sun’s preview of the concert that motivated her to attend.
She recently returned to Springfield, where she was part of the North High School jazz band, which opened the show.
“I’ve been a fan of Ella since elementary school,” she said.
Amy Jaskowiak also hopes her son will develop that interest as well, with this show being a potential start. For now, Gabriel perked up when asked if he liked the current hit ‘We’re Not Talking About Bruno’ from Disney’s recent animated film ‘Encanto’, smiling and nodding. .
Every member of the jazz orchestra had a chance to shine, including one of its youngest saxophonists, 22-year-old Lauren Elliott from Detroit. She started with the group at 19 and looks forward to future performances.
“I love coming here to Springfield. The people are so warm and inviting, and Carmen really worked the crowd,” Elliott said.
Stoll also paid homage to his school roots by having the Springfield High School Jazz Band play. He played at the old North High and his father before him played at the old South High, the building in which the John Legend Theater is now located.
It was the first live show in two years for the band, under the direction of Brad Dragics and featuring 10 musicians.
After the show, Stoll said he was tired but happy to have the season in and going forward.
“We want to continue to do that from a music and community perspective. We are happy with the very diverse crowd that attends our concerts,” he said.
Stoll said the Jazz Orchestra would like to expand and add a third concert for its 2022-23 season and continue its educational outreach opportunities.