On the heels of her two sold out WMNF Tribute to Aretha Franklin shows last fall, her “Sweet Nancy: A Toast to Nancy Wilson” performance last March and “Last Dance: A Tribute to Donna Summer” in May,
musical showcase producer and jazz/R&B/soul song stylist Katt Hefner will be presenting another new legends tribute concert in July at Manatee Performing Arts Center, paying homage to the rich melodic legacy of R&B/Pop icon Natalie Cole.
“Sophisticated Lady: The Songbook of Natalie Cole,” written and produced by Hefner, will be presented on Saturday evening, July 13, at Manatee Performing Arts Center’s Stone Hall. During this special tribute evening, Katt will be performing many of Cole’s most loved songs, accompanied by a full big band sound including some of the Tampa Bay area’s most respected players. In addition, Hefner’s daughter Dana Merriwether, an accomplished vocalist in her own right, will also be featured in the show, appearing as Natalie in her early years.
Cole’s career spanned several decades and genres from R&B to pop, including her eternally popular tunes This Will Be, Sophisticated Lady, I’ve Got Love on My Mind, Our Love and Pink Cadillac. Her greatest success was her “Unforgettable… with Love” album, featuring songs originally made popular by her father Nat King Cole, which sold over seven million copies and garnered several Grammy awards.
Katt Hefner is considered by many to be one of today’s international sirens to be watched. Her credits include musicals, television, movies, records and concerts that span the world, including the renowned Jazz in the Heritage Gardens festival in Moscow, the Clearwater Jazz Holiday, Sarasota Jazz Festival, Ringling International Art Festival’s Jazz by the Bay and at many regional jazz clubs throughout the country. She has shared the stage with such musical greats as Patti LaBelle, Ronnie Spector, Al Hibler, The Four Aces, The Count Basie Quartet, The Temptations, Sandra Reaves, Luther Vandross, Dick Hyman, John Lamb, Buster Cooper, Roger Humphries and the Bay Area’s Fred Johnson, Kenny Drew Jr., Richard Drexler, The Warren Covington Orchestra, The 42nd Street Big Band, SRQ Project Big Band and the Tomkats Jazz Orchestra. From dark sultry jazz to energetic pop, Hefner has produced goosebumps from Japan to her hometown of Ford City, Pennsylvania, through a passionate ebb and flow of sonic energy, engagement and a voice that comes right out from her soul directly to her audience.
In addition to her upcoming Natalie Cole tribute, Katt has also just launched two new musical nights at The Venue on St. Armands Circle. “Lady K’s Jazz Cookbook +” happens every Thursday evening from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. where one can listen and dance to a wide array of live jazz, blues, R&B and more. Beginning July 10, The Venue Talent Showcase “Bring It or Hook It“ will be a Wednesday night regular feature hosted by Katt Hefner and The Hook. All talent is welcome and sign ups and reservations can be made in advance by calling The Venue at 941-388-1555.
Tickets for Hefner’s Natalie Cole tribute performance are available online at Manatee Performing Arts Center, or by calling the MPAC Box Office at (941) 748-5875 which is located at 502 Third Avenue West in downtown Bradenton.
Photos courtesy of Katt Hefner.