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Sunday, jazz lovers from all over the world celebrate International Jazz Day, which offers hundreds of performances in over 195 countries. In Lansing, singer Naima Shamborguer will celebrate the day with a tribute to one of the great ladies of jazz, Sarah Vaughan.
“Well, I guess she’s my idol,” Shamborguer said. “I’ve always loved her singing.”
The concert, titled “Sarah & Me,” is arranged and funded by a variety of local and national arts groups, including Jazz Alliance of Mid-Michigan and Michigan ArtShare. The latter group, now part of MSU Extension, organizes a variety of music performances, visual art exhibitions and other events.
“We look for opportunities for artists to show their work and to perform,” said Diane Wilson, executive director of Michigan ArtShare.
A Detroit native, Shamborguer grew up in family of professional musicians, so pursuing music was a no-brainer. She said her voice is similar to that of Vaughan’s, so
she drew a lot of musical influence from the jazz legend.
“She’s the singer I listened to and I just learned a lot a lot from. She was an instrument, and I guess I would call myself an instrument, too,” Shamborguer said with a laugh.
Shamborguer is backed by a band that features pianist Sven Anderson, bassist Ibraheim Jones, drummer George Davidson and Vincent Bowen and Cassius Richman on woodwinds. “Sarah & Me” also features narration by actor John W. Hardy, which explores Vaughan’s off-stage experiences.
“She had a very exciting, dramatic life,” Shamborguer said. “And that’s what this this narrative is about.”
In addition to starring in the tribute, Shamborguer also wrote the narration and composed three original musical selections — “Miss Sarah,” “Everyday is Yesterday” and “Land of Illusion” — in Vaughan’s honor. Shamborguer developed the show to celebrate Vaughan’s career and share her music with a younger generation.
“It’s very important for me to do this program to extend the legacy and to leave a part of myself with people, so they won’t forget,” she said. “It’s a history.”
A busy artist and jazz educator, Shamborguer considers herself “blessed” to be able to use her artistic ability to spread her love and knowledge of jazz. Wilson and Shamborguer both emphasized that “Sarah & Me,” with its mix of education and classic jazz, is something that local jazz fans should check out.
“It’s not like anything that Lansing has ever seen before,” Wilson said. “We have a lot of jazz aficionados here, so it’s not new to Lansing to have jazz here, but we’re bringing something a little different.”
“Sarah & Me” With Naima Shamborguer and John. W. Hardy 6 p.m. Sunday, April 30 $20/$15 JAMM members/$10 students and youth MSU Community Music School 4930 Hagadorn Road, East Lansing (517) 898-4046, tributetosarahEL.brownpapertickets.com