LIVING LEGEND RUSSELL GARCIA TO BE HONORED AT 95th BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION/CONCERTS
Due to Doctor’s Order, Garcia Will Celebrate in New Zealand While Vocalists Shaynee Rainbolt and Terese Genecco Host Tributes at Yoshi’s Oakland on November 1 and at Iridium Jazz Club in New York on November 6
New York Tribute Concert, Featuring Billy Stritch with Shaynee Rainbolt and Terese Genecco, Will Be Streamed Live from Iridium at www.iridiumlive.tv
Legendary composer, arranger and conductor Russell Garcia has been ordered by his doctor to give up his travel plans to participate in his three-city 95th Birthday Tour. Although disappointed by the decision, Garcia will celebrate from his home in New Zealand while vocalists Shaynee Rainbolt and Terese Genecco host tributes at Yoshi’s Oakland on November 1, and at New York’s Iridium Jazz Club on November 6. The New York celebration features special guest star Billy Stritch.
The concert scheduled for October 26 at Catalina Bar & Grill in Hollywood has been cancelled.
Garcia, who suffered from collapsed vertebrae last week, is on bed rest and unable to travel, but it doesn’t stop him from celebrating with Rainbolt and Genecco. Since stricken with the painful condition, Garcia has been on the phone and e-mail to assist his musical partners with arrangements and to encourage his friends, family and fans to come out to celebrate in his absence. In New York, the concert will be streamed live, allowing Garcia to not only watch the concert, but also to participate. Tune in to www.iridiumlive.tv
“We are all so sad that Russ can’t join us in person, but we are thrilled that we are able to celebrate his birthday and present his music with fabulous musicians in these wonderful venues,” said Shaynee Rainbolt, who released Charmed Life, a CD of Garcia originals in 2007. “I have been in awe of Russ and his talent since meeting him while working on the CD. To hear Russ in the midst of severe pain encourage Terese and me to move forward with the concerts is a testament to his dedication to music and music lovers. Russ wouldn’t have it any other way, so we will do our best to present memorable evenings of his music, surrounded by friends, family and fans who love him.”
Joining Rainbolt and Genecco at Yoshi's are Larry Dunlap, piano; Daniel Fabricant, bass; Tom Duckworth, drums; Rich Armstrong, trumpet; Tony Malfatti, tenor saxophone; and, in Garcia's four-trombone signature style, Doug Beavers, Don Benham, Greg Saúl and Floyd Reinhart.
In New York, Rainbolt and the Iridium’s own Genecco will perform Garcia originals plus classics from The Great American Songbook arranged by Garcia and accompanied by their high-voltage, 9-piece Little Big Band featuring pianist Billy Stritch along with bassist Tom Hubbard, drummer Ray Marchica, trumpeter Bud Burridge, tenor saxophonist Cliff Lyons and trombonists John Fedchock, John Allred, Nate Mayland and George Flynn.
“In addition to celebrating the genius of Russ Garcia, performing his music is very special for many reasons,” said Terese Genecco. “In 1956, Russ did orchestrations of Porgy and Bess for Mel Tormé and Frances Faye. Two years later, Russ orchestrated a ground-breaking version of new arrangements of the music for Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. I am a huge Faye fan, Billy Stritch is a fan of Tormé and everyone loves Louis and Ella. In our tribute to Russ, Billy and I will present our rendition of Bess, You Is My Woman Now. I truly wish Russ could be with us to guide us through one of his most memorable musical contributions. Thanks to technology, he will be with us in spirit and via Internet.”
“It is fitting and fantastic that Russ can ‘conduct’ the band while recuperating in New Zealand,” added Rainbolt. “He has always been on the cutting edge in the entertainment industry, with his film scores and the outstanding music he has composed and arranged for some of the world’s greatest artists. He has seen tremendous changes throughout his 75-year career, and he is excited that with the support of today’s technology, he will be able to enjoy and participate in the concert.”
Whether Russ Garcia (born April 12, 1916 in Oakland, CA) was working on a sound stage at MGM Universal, a major-label recording studio in Hollywood, a concert hall conducting a symphony, a jazz club or festival around the world, his body of work speaks for itself. He hesitates to toot his own horn, saying he feels like he’s name-dropping; but to this day, people continue to drop his name. Over the years, he has worked Sammy Davis, Jr., Anita O’Day, Bud Shank, Julie London, Sarah Vaughan, Cleo Laine, John Dankworth, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Judy Garland, Count Basie, Miles Davis, Johnny Hodges, Maynard Ferguson, Stan Kenton, Harry James, Bill Holman, Jayne Mansfield, Bette Davis, Ira and George Gershwin, Fred Astaire, Eleanor Powell, Mickey Rooney, Henry Mancini, Elizabeth Taylor, Charlie Chaplin, Marvin Hamlisch, Clint Eastwood and numerous others.
Now living a relatively quiet life in New Zealand but still continuing to work at home and abroad, at 95, Garcia's life is far from the glamorous world of Hollywood he and his lyricist-wife Gina used to lead. From radio and television to theatrical films and recordings, Garcia has been active in virtually every area of the entertainment industry since the late '40s. His early 1960s scores for George Pal's "The Time Machine" and "Atlantis: The Lost Continent" virtually created the music template for science fiction films that followed, and his un-credited work on Charlie Chaplin’s Oscar-winning score for the film ‘Limelight’ has fans launching a grass-roots campaign to set the record straight (http://www.jazzwax.com/2008/09/the-case-of-the.html). His jazz arranging and composing is legendary in its own right and can be heard on recordings by Stan Kenton, Roy Eldridge, Stan Getz, as well as a classic version of "Porgy and Bess" featuring Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. When describing the orchestral sounds that emerged from the West Coast jazz scene during the 1950s, the name Russell Garcia always comes to mind. Not only did he provide arrangements for many singers and instrumentalists, he recorded more than 60 albums under his own name. As if all that wasn't enough, his book, The Professional Arranger-Composer, has been a valued tool for both beginners and veterans since it was written in the mid-'40’s. In 2009, he and his wife Gina were awarded The New Zealand Order of Merit from the Queen of England for their Service to Music.
Shaynee Rainbolt (www.shayneerainbolt.com), one of today’s rising jazz singers, first worked with Garcia in 2007 when he entrusted her with the first-ever album of all Garcia originals entitled Charmed Life. Arranged by Garcia for his signature four-trombone band, this collaboration garnered two MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) Awards for Best Jazz Recording (Charmed Life) and Best Song (I Remember, Music by Garcia and Lyrics by Rainbolt & Garcia.) A top seller on CDBaby, the album was also chosen by TalkinBroadway.com as one of their Top 10 CD’s of 2008 and the press also took notice saying, "Rainbolt breathes joyful new life into his oeuvre...her interpretations plugging straight into the core of Garcia's artistry. Beautifully sung...remarkable..." Jazzwise Magazine (UK); "This happy collaboration features Shaynee Rainbolt in inspired form…hear the magical combination of Shaynee Rainbolt and Russ Garcia." LA Jazz Scene; "When Shaynee Rainbolt navigates the shoals of Russ Garcia's arrangements, a beautiful artistic union forms - that of an emerging voice and an orchestral master." Downbeat; “The classic sounds of Garcia are alive and well in the capable hands of Rainbolt and should remain there for a long time.” Jazz Improv Magazine
Terese Genecco (www.teresegenecco.com), who Will Friedwald of the Wall Street Journal said “…if Frank, Dean and Sammy ever returned from the Great Casino in the Sky, the first youngish female singer that I'd recommend to join their clan is this high-voltage entertainer,” has the Longest Running Nightclub Act on Broadway at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City. In her third year of an open-ended run of shows, she is a critic and audience favorite. Genecco and Garcia have a special connection due to Genecco’s award-winning, one-woman tribute show, “Drunk with Love: A Tribute to Frances Faye!” Faye is Genecco’s idol and was one of Garcia’s favorite collaborators as well as a close personal friend. Since relocating from San Francisco, where Genecco won the Bay Area “Entertainer of the Year” Award, there is hardly an award or accolade she hasn’t garnered. Terese is described as “addictive” and her fans call themselves “Geneccoholics.” The critics agree. This high-powered entertainer has won the 2009 MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs) Award for Outstanding Vocalist, a 2009 OUT Music Award for Outstanding Cabaret/Comedy/Theater Song; a 2008 MAC Award for Best Recording for her Live CD of “Drunk with Love: A Tribute to Frances Faye!” (which was also chosen as one of TalkinBroadway.com’s Top 10 CD’s of 2007) and the show itself won her the 2007 Bistro Award from Back Stage Magazine and a Top 10 Best Cabaret Show from Time Out New York Magazine for two years running (2006 & 2007).
TUESDAY NOVEMBER 1, 8 pm:
Yoshi’s Jazz Club, 510 Embarcadero West, Jack London Square, Oakland, CA 94607; 510-238-9200; Tickets: $20.00; www.yoshis.com/oakland
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 6, 6:30 pm: