Critic Walter Kerr once said taste is a matter of affinity and exposure.
In that sense, pop music legend Natalie Cole had an affinity for music in her genes, and as the daughter of iconic singer Nat King Cole, exposure to the music scene came at an early age.
So did success, followed by five decades of stardom, addiction and recovery, and finally health issues which led to her untimely death in 2015. But, her music lives on, and local premier jazz vocalist Ginger Commodore is bringing together a few of her starry friends to pay tribute to Cole at the Dakota Jazz Club, 7 p.m. Sunday.
Cole has a deep well of musical stylings to draw from, with pop-jazz-and-blues hits such as “Sophisticated Ladies,” “I’m Catching Hell,” “I’ve Got Love on My Mind,” and “Someone That I Used To Love” in her canon. Ardent fans the world over will also recall her “Unforgettable … with Love” album, in which she memorably dueted with her late father. In total, she earned nine Grammy awards, sold (literally) millions of records, and made more than 300 television appearances.
Commodore is the ideal performer to spearhead head such a tribute, with an extensive career covering many musical styles. She’ll be joined by Yolande Bruce, Tonia Hughes-Kendrick, Ash Smash, and Dennis Spears, backed by Brian Ziemniak on keys, Jay Young on bass, Deevo Dee on guitar, and Daryl Boudreaux on percussion. The event has simply been entitled “Tribute to Natalie Cole: Ginger Commodore & Friends.”
The gifted performers won’t be the only pals there that night; the music they’ll be doing is like an old friend, too.
The intimacy of the setting, the vocal prowess of the performers, and the timelessness of those tunes are almost assured to make the night, in a word, unforgettable.
If you go
What: Tribute to Natalie Cole by Ginger Commodore and Friends
When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: Dakota Jazz Club, 1010 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis
Ryan Stotts is a Rochester freelance writer.