Weekender

Jazz vocalist Elizabeth Webb returns to music series

Elizabeth Webb will return to The State Theatre’s Jazz in the Attic series.
Elizabeth Webb will return to The State Theatre’s Jazz in the Attic series. Photo provided

After playing to a full Attic a year ago, jazz vocalist Elizabeth Webb will return with her quartet and several new tunes in her repertoire for another performance in The State Theatre’s Jazz in the Attic series.

Following the influences of jazz greats Ella Fitzgerald and Diana Krall, Webb sings a mix of music, including gems from the Great American Songbook and fresh interpretations of songs from some of pop music’s biggest stars.

Joining Webb in the Attic will be Bob Hart on guitar, Jim Robinson on bass and Kevin Lowe on drums.

Hart spent two decades living and working in New York City before moving to State College a few years ago. He recently played the Attic with Molly Countermine’s and Eddie Severn’s groups. Robinson is the longtime orchestra and rock ensemble director at State College Area High School and a creative jazz bassist. Lowe is another fixture on the central Pa. music scene, performing as drummer for the Zeropoint Big Band, the Rick Hirsch 4, Tyne & the Fastlyne and Erin Condo & the Hoofties.

The concert was an idea that Rick Hirsch, who organizes the Jazz in the Attic series, called Webb about last year. Webb had sung weddings and private events with Hirsch’s groups before, and he reached out to her when he first began working on the project.

“I thought it was an amazing idea and I was extremely honored to be asked to be a part of this series,” Webb said. “Jazz is a music genre that this area appreciates and it’s wonderful that it has become such a successful concert series at The State Theatre.”

Webb grew up in Duncansville, and moved to the Bellefonte area in elementary school. For as long as she can remember, music has been one of the most important things in her life.

“My mom says I started singing shortly after I learned how to talk,” she said. “I’ve always had such passion for music — I’m not sure there was ever a moment when I didn’t want to be a singer and a musician when I grew up.”

Webb recalls coming home, sitting on the floor of the living room, and wearing out her Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Torme CDs as she listened to them, trying to imitate every phrase and line they sang.

“Stevie Wonder and Eric Clapton were also two musicians that influenced me in a big way,” she said. “Their music had so much meaning — such incredible songwriters.”

Webb enjoys performing many different styles, including classical, jazz, blues, music theater and her favorite of all — jazz and blues.

“I love how free and expressive you can be with it,” she said. “I love to take a song that is originally classic rock and creating it into something like a bossa nova piece, or taking a contemporary pop piece and making it swing. When singing jazz, I like to incorporate some classic swing with modern day jazz, and throwing in some funk.”

Webb will perform songs from the Great American Songbook, as well as tunes by the Beatles, Stevie Wonder and more contemporary artists such as Adele and Norah Jones.

“One of my favorite things to do is to choose jazz standards and make them my own,” she said. “For my repertoire, I like to make sure I have a variety of tunes that give different emotions and experience to the audience.”

Because of the well-rounded repertoire in the concert, Webb expects her audience will be of all ages and different tastes in music.

“I believe this concert will be enjoyed by not only jazz lovers, but also lovers of rock, blues and contemporary music,” she said.

IF YOU GO

  • What: Jazz In The Attic: Elizabeth Webb Quartet
  • When: 8 p.m. Jan. 20
  • Where: The State Theatre, 130 W. College Ave., State College
  • Info: www.thestatetheatre.org
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