Jazz@First Series – An Afternoon of Cole Porter
Sunday, September 11 @ 2pm | First Unitarian Church

Series Sponsor: Al Harris

Cole Porter was one of the genius composers of the Great American Songbook, who created songs of exquisitely crafted melodies married to lyrics of uncommon wit. Please join the Phil DeGreg Trio and vocalist Lynne Scott as they perform jazz arrangements of some of his best songs, including infrequently heard verse introductions.

Lynne Scott was born into a musical family. Her mother, Teresa, taught piano and her father, Bruce, was a gifted clarinetist who led an orchestra on radio for many years and was a well-known music educator. Her four brothers are all musical, one of them a highly regarded west coast jazz and classical trombonist.

Lynne is blessed with perfect pitch, and can “sight sing” virtually any music set before her. Her versatility and professionalism have made her a favorite with musicians and audiences alike. Although Lynne’s first love is performing “standard pop” (Gershwin, Kern, Berlin, Porter, etc.) she is quite an adaptable singer and can swing with the best of them.

Lynne has appeared regularly on Midwest radio and TV, and has played most of the top venues in the area. She appeared on the Len Mink Show, the Nick Clooney Show, the Vivian Della Chiesa Show, The Bob Braun Afternoon Show and the 1180 Club Radio show. She spent ten years singing with the Teddy Raymore Quartet and was featured “girl singer” with the Pete Wagner Orchestra/Band for several years, still appearing with them occasionally. She also sang with the vocalese group Close Company for three years.

From 2003 to 2011, Lynne appeared on weekends with the highly acclaimed “Frank Vincent Trio” at the Celestial in the Incline Lounge at Highland Towers atop Mount Adams. She can now be seen regularly at the Cincinnati Netherland Hilton Hotel in the Bar at Palm Court with the Jim Hart Trio.

Phil DeGreg began playing the piano in his childhood and now performs as a jazz pianist internationally. His earliest jazz influences were Bud Powell and Bill Evans, but he is accomplished and comfortable in a wide range of jazz styles, ranging from mainstream to bebop to Brazilian jazz. A graduate of Yale and the University of North Texas, he toured with the Woody Herman Orchestra in the 1980’s, and has 10 CD’s to his credit as a leader. For 13 years he accompanied many national and international jazz artists in the house trio in Cincinnati’s famous Blue Wisp Jazz Club. He has been on staff with the renowned Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops since 1983, and has performed and taught in Europe and South America.

Phil DeGreg is the retired Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts study grants. In 2008 he was awarded a 4 month Fulbright Fellowship as a lecturer in Brazil.

His text “Jazz Keyboard Harmony” is a practical text for teaching jazz harmony for all musicians, and is used all over the world in universities and for private study.

Learn more about Phil DeGreg on his website http://phildegreg.com.

“Night and Day,” “I Get A Kick Out of You,” “You’re the Top,” “Begin the Beguine,” “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” — some of the cleverest, funniest, and most romantic songs ever written came from the pen of Cole Porter. He was unmatched as a tunesmith, and his Broadway musicals — from “Kiss Me Kate” and “Anything Goes” to “Silk Stockings” and “Can Can” — set the standards of style and wit to which today’s composers and lyricists aspire.

Born in Peru, Indiana in 1891, Porter studied music from an early age, and began composing as a teenager. After high school he attended Yale University, where he was voted “most entertaining man.” Though he went on to law school at Harvard University, his interest remained in music. From Harvard he continued to write, and a number of his pieces were used in Broadway musicals.

In 1916, his first full score was performed. The musical, “See America First”, was a flop and closed after only fifteen performances. He soon began to travel around Europe and got an apartment in Paris. This was the beginning of his life long affection for the city, which he would return to in songs such as “You Don’t Know Paree” and “I Love Paris.” During his time abroad Porter contributed to many musicals including “Hitchy-Koo” and the “Greenwich Village Follies”. It wasn’t, however, until his song “Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall In Love” appeared in the 1928 musical Paris, that he had his first big hit.

A contemporary of George Gershwin, Richard Rogers and Jerome Kern, Porter broke from the simple sentimentality that dominated Tin Pan Alley. His urbane wit and musical complexity won him the affection of the nation. Songs such as “What Is This Thing Called Love,” “I Get A Kick Out of You,” and “Too Darn Hot,” became instant hits and have remained classics. While his name was associated with many of these upbeat show toons, a more melancholy side could be seen in such wonderful songs as “Miss Otis Regrets” and “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye.”

Despite a horseback riding accident in 1937 that crippled him for life, Porter produced much of his best work in the 1940s and 50s. He wrote hundreds of songs for dozens of Broadway shows, movie musicals, and television specials. His most successful musical, “Kiss Me Kate”, opened in 1948 and ran for over a thousand performances. A recluse in his later years, Porter died in California in 1964. Today his legacy lives on in productions of his musicals and in recordings of artists such as Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horne.

Bio from pbs.org.