Great American Songs and Stories

A tribute to some of America’s greatest composers and musicians
Great American Songs and Stories is a night spent in the company of some of America’s musical heavy weights. Jazz/classical fusion great, Dr Allan Zavod takes audiences on a uniquely personal journey into the lives and times of legendary musicians he has been associated with including: Duke Ellington, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, George Gershwin, George Benson, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Frank Zappa, Eric Clapton and Sting just to name a few. Zavod talks of his experiences with each musician and performs their most well known pieces.

‘I met Duke Ellington in 1969 and on his recommendation and support I left Australia to study at the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston. We will be playing Duke’s Take the A Train, Mood Indigo and My One and Only Love. He was great musician – he could play anything,’ says Zavod.

‘Another very close friend is George Benson. He is one of the greatest singers in the world. We will perform Masquerade and On Broadway. I have known George for over 35 years and jammed with him countless times around the world – he has a velvet voice,’ says Zavod.

‘Not only does he do Australia proud [George Benson on Zavod], he does jazz music proud. He’s a favourite son of everyone who knows him,’ The Age 2002.

‘Working with Topol (star of Fiddler on the Roof) was amazing – he is an incredible performer who has bought Fiddler on the Roof to the forefront of great American musicals. We will perform a few songs from Fiddler on the Roof as jazz interpretations. I will also be playing Tinseltown Rebellion by the legendary Frank Zappa who I toured and recorded with in 1984. Zappa’s music is so fresh, every day was different and he would change his arrangements constantly. Then there is the Glenn Miller Orchestra I toured with in the 70s – we will be playing In the Mood, Pennsylvania 65000 and Little Brown Jug,’ says Zavod.

Zavod is renowned for his jazz/classical works. He received a Doctor of Music, the highest degree awarded in recognition of his international achievement for classical jazz fusion composition. He will perform a number of George Gershwin’s pieces including Rhapsody in Blue. ‘I love the work of Gershwin and on the 100th anniversary of Gershwin’s birth I was invited to play an art deco grand piano built by Steinway in Palm Beach, Florida – I spoke to Gershwin’s sister in law, the only surviving Gershwin family member about the program,’ says Zavod.

The musical cocktail is topped off with hits by Cole Porter (My Heart Belongs to Daddy, I Love You) and Irving Berlin’s (Alexander’s Rag Time Band). ‘With the same Russian Jewish background I have an affinity with Berlin’s music,’ says Zavod.

Zavod is joined on stage by jazz vocalists Nichaud Fitzgibbon and Bobby Valentine and the Zavod Jazz Ensemble. Nichaud is recognised as Australia's premier jazz stylist – her natural charisma and feisty elegance brings sophistication to performances. Bobby has been called Australia’s answer to Michael Buble and has appeared on Good Morning Australia, In Melbourne Tonight, The Midday Show, Tonight Live and Live and Kicking.

‘Don’t miss this evening spent in the company of these very talented musicians performing some of the greatest American music ever written,’ says Zavod.

Date:Sunday 25 July at 6.30pm
Venue:Skycity – Mindil Beach, Darwin
Email: info@3ctpresents.com