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Austin, Stripling and all that jazz

ASO pays tribute to Ella and Louis.


Patti does Ella.
  • Patti does Ella.

Patti Austin and Byron Stripling have been singing and playing the best of jazz greats Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong for fans worldwide, and the duo will perform their show with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra in two concerts this weekend.

Showtimes for the Pops, Live! series finale are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Robinson Center Music Hall. Tickets range from $16 to $60 and are available through the ASO box office, 666-1761.

Austin’s one-woman show that she wrote, created and recorded, “For Ella,” was nominated for a Grammy Award. She has quite a music pedigree, being the god-daughter of Quincy Jones and Dinah Washington. She was singing professionally at age 4, recording as a teen, and has recorded 16 solo albums and guest-starred on numerous others.

Austin’s voice has been described as “absolutely beautiful” by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, while USA Today says of Austin: “Singing the works of Ella Fitzgerald is one thing. But trying to pull off a credible note-for-note recital … is a challenge few pop singers would dare. Austin dares and succeeds.” She covers the best work of Fitzgerald, who reigned as “America’s First Lady of Song” for more than a half century.

Meanwhile, Stripling has been dubbed Broadway’s “Satchmo” and is one of today’s outstanding young trumpeters, following in the footsteps of Armstrong, who is credited with putting jazz on the American map. Stripling’s work, in fact, has been compared to Armstrong’s in his later years.

The show wraps up the ASO’s 2005-2006 regular season. The Symphony will be back on stage at Riverfest Amphitheatre for “Pops in the Park” on July 4. The 2006-07 Pops, Live! series begins Oct. 6-7 with the vocal group Five by Design.


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