Featured performers were The Joe Robinson Quartet, Melva Houston and Bertha Young, the Showtime Dancers as well as performers Matthew Wiley as Cab Calloway, Todnee Jefferies as Ethel Waters, Jonathan Bethea as Nat King Cole, Tameka Allen as Billie Holiday, Indira Roberts as Lena Horne with host Woodrow Bumbry offering the history of each performance.
The evening began with the soulful singing of Melva Houston and How High the Moon. Her earthy talent never fails to move a crowd to their feet. In 2006 Melva received a Telly Award for her short-form documentary promo – Melva Houston: Keeping Jazz Alive. When she is not traveling the world to share her passion she volunteers her time to the young members of the Triad Youth Jazz Society.
Bertha Young, lead singer of Sweet Dreams, offered a dynamic performance of I’ve Got Rhythm and Satin Doll. She has opened for Patti Labelle, Frankie Beverly & Maze and performs regularly in N.C.
The Joe Robinson Quartet followed these two talented ladies to wow the crowd with Take the A Train , All of Me and provided the driving rhythm for each performance. Joe, a graduate of Berklee School of Music, began playing the trumpet at the age of thirteen at Atkins High School and has worked with a host of Jazz greats such as Lou Donaldson , Dannie Richmond and Donald Byrd.
One of my favorite performers was Matthew Wiley as Cab Calloway. He lit up the ‘Cotton Club’ with electric renditions of The Hi-De-Ho Man and It Don’t Mean a Thing that brought a cheering audience to their feet.
Harlem Nights, arranged by Platinum Entertainment, benefited One Step Further, a private, nonprofit United Way Agency.