New York's Broadway has for decades been synonymous with the culture of American musical theatre. But it is also the birthplace of popular music as we know it today. There, at the beginning of the 20th century, began the music industry that still lays down the economic conditions according to which music is produced. In their conveyor belt-like work for the emergent musical theatre business, songwriters such as Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and George and Ira Gershwin – ever in pursuit of the balance between artistic ambition, innovation and commercial potential – created the Great American Songbook, the canon of standards that every jazz musician must have at his command, indeed the very nucleus of American songwriting. At the House musicians of highly divergent styles will show what the songs of Broadway mean today.
Jimmy Scott has been at home in the Broadway idiom for a good six decades. Touched by Scott's soulful voice for the first time, the listener understands just how angelic a voice can be. Scott stepped forth in the 1940s with Lionel Hampton's band. He counted Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington among his friends. He earned very little from his recordings until the end of the 1980s, when Lou Reed paved the way for his comeback. Jimmy Scott is accompanied by the quartet The Jazz Expressions, who have toured with him worldwide for fifteen years and who respond to the grain of his voice solidly and sensitively.
Opening the concert, the duo of Roswell Rudd, avantgarde trombonist, and Duck Baker, one of the world's most compelling fingerstyle guitarists, will perform undeservedly forgotten Broadway compositions.