Patti Austin

Friday, September 1, through Sunday, September 3, at Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 713-224-7575

It takes a lot of nerve to do an Ella Fitzgerald tune. Most singers know to leave perfection alone. So why is Patti Austin doing a whole show based on Fitzgerald's greatest hits? Because Austin has one of the few voices around that can do them justice. For Ella began with a live recording in Germany and quickly grew into a worldwide tour with Austin appearing with full symphony orchestras. Wait, wait. Don't let the word "symphony" scare you off. This is Patti -- and Ella. This is jazz. At its blissful best. Full-voiced, with incomparable timing and phrasing, Austin is perfection on stage. Expect flawless renditions of "How High the Moon," "The Man I Love," "Satin Doll" and other Ella classics, all an exquisite mix of Ella's spirit and Patti's style. The Houston Symphony's principal pops conductor Michael Krajewski leads the orchestra. Let's hope he's been working out -- it ain't gonna be easy keeping up with Patti once she gets her Ella on.

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