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'Howlin' at the Highlands' concert offers jazz al fresco



Music in the midst of the forest and mountain air are in store for fans of jazz when they attend the second "Howlin' at the Highlands" concert Saturday, July 20, at the Highlands Center for Natural History.

The program runs from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and are available online at www.prescottjazzcom, at the Highlands Center, 1375 Walker Road, Prescott or at the door.

Featured vocalist for the evening is Sherry Roberson of Phoenix, who will be accompanied by Jack Petersen on guitar, Ted Sistrunk on base, Cleve Huff on drums, Tony Vacca on sax and Mike Vax on trumpet.

Roberson first discovered her gift of song when she started singing in church at a very young age. "I started singing gospel in church with my mother when I was only 4 years old," she said. "I was also listening to my father's jazz collection, and he had all the greats - Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughn, Nancy Wilson, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. "So, during the week it was Ella and on Sundays it was Mahalia Jackson."

Besides her father's jazz collection, Roberson's mother also inspired her music. She was a music teacher and guided the development of her daughter's voice.

When her family moved to Phoenix in 1959, Roberson began working with Charles Lewis and became the front woman for the Astro Sounds band. She has opened for such greats as Larry Coryell, Maynard Ferguson, Arturo Sandoval and Ray Charles.

Roberson has won international recording acclaim and has also performed in Istanbul, Turkey, Bangkok, Thailand, Japan and across the United States. She has two CD recordings: "Sherry Roberson - Sensational Jazz" and "My Shining Hour." Currently, she performs in nightclubs, festivals, concerts and other venues across the greater Phoenix area.

She describes her voice as contralto, in addition to having a three-octave range from low to high.

"The audience will thoroughly enjoy the show," Roberson said of Saturday's "Howlin' at the Highlands," which is sponsored by the Prescott Jazz Summit.

She plans to sing the standards of her favorites - the melodies of stars she heard from her father's collection. "If you want to feel happy, I am quite sure you will enjoy the evening of music," she said. "Music is something that can touch each person's heart."


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