Seven-time “outstanding jazz vocalist” Sheila Landis, heading her self-named trio, is ready to jazz up the holiday season in the upcoming Kettle Concert series presentation Saturday, November 28, at Huron Valley Council for the Arts Center, 205 W. Livingston Road, Highland, from 7-9 p.m.
Seven-string guitarist Rick Matle and drummer Karen Tomalis accompany the performance of both fun and traditional Christmas tunes as well as familiar jazz standards from The Great American Songbook. A short intermission will allow music lovers access to the ensemble’s “Winter Wonderland” and “A Little Something for Christmas” recordings, as well as other available SheLan Records titles.
Landis, augmenting her vocal repertoire with uncanny trumpet and harmonica impersonations, has entertained statewide at some of the most prestigious jazz gatherings such as Schoolcraft College, the Ford International Jazz Festival, the Jazz/R&B Stage at Arts, Beats and Eats and is a frequent performer for special events at the historic Meadowbrook Hall in Rochester Hills.
She applies Agnes DeMille’s philosophy that “To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful,” to her singing. “It just flows through me! I do my best to stay out of my own way and let the music carry me along on a tide of creativity.”
Landis shares that creativity with Rick Matle, a 1986 Oakland university Music Performance graduate, with whom Landis, reminiscent of “First Lady of Song” Ella Fitzgerald, has entwined her musical vision since 1991.
Matle wields his seven-string guitar in a confident yet sensitive harmonic complement to Landis’ vocal prowess, and his dexterity implies the accompaniment of a much larger ensemble. Landis and Matle’s 24-year collaboration has led them on adventures into jazz balladry, swing, blues, Brazilian rhythms, pop, and their own inventive, “elegant yet edgy” stylings.
Setting the pace with grace is drummer Karen Tomalis, a 2005 Jazz Studies Baccalaureate of Wayne State University. She met Landis and Matle at the former hotspot Rusty’s Jazz Café in her hometown of Toledo, Ohio where she began performing as a teen.
Future performances in the Kettle Concert series will showcase British Isles fare: Irish and folk singer/songwriter Dusty Rhodes on March 12, and “Scotland’s Troubadour” Jim Malcolm April 23.
Tickets for the concerts are $15; they are available at Milford Music, Hartland Flowers, Milford Feed, HVCA or online at huronvalleyarts.org.
Based in western Oakland County, Huron Valley Council for the Arts is committed to working with and supporting activities of established and aspiring visual and performing artists and organizations located in and around western Oakland County. For more information, please visit huronvalleyarts.org.