"This is a way of living out a fantasy," says vocalist Clea Bradford of her Duke Ellington Songbook concert at 8 Saturday night at the Ethical Society.
"I had been introduced to Duke before and he had said, 'Chlo-o-ee,' and this became his kind of lead the next time when he kind of remembered me, I think mostly because I was so long-legged. I walked in to ask him when he would have time to talk with me and he said, 'Talk with me now. Sit down.' I watched him have a shave and a manicure and a haircut and when he got through he said, 'Come on, hang with me.' The next thing I knew it was like talking with a favorite uncle. We went to lunch and then we went to an old clubroom in Chicago where he knew the owner and goofed off at the piano. Later on I did a walk-on thing with the band at the Regal Theater, just a couple of numbers."
For her Duke Ellington presentation Bradford will do the familiar, such as "Mood Indigo" and "Satin Doll," and the less well known, like "Bli Blip." Her accompanists will be pianist John Phillips, bassist Carlos LaGuana, drummer Mike Smith and a horn player. (Call the Charlin Jazz Society at 484-1697 for more information.)