Editor's note: Director's Chair is a column where Kris Sabel, who is in charge of cultural programming for the Vail Valley Foundation, gives his expert take on shows not to be missed at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek.
Tonight marks the final performance of our seven-week 2012 Underground Sound Series at the Vilar Performing Arts Center, and it has truly been a season of highlights.
Top talent and variety are two key elements that we strive for, while keeping the shows at an affordable price for our local residents. I can honestly say that we held to that commitment, with artists as varied as singer-songwriters such as Gregory Alan Isakov, Danielle Ate the Sandwich and William Fitzsimmons alongside well-known pop artist Paula Cole and jazz legend Leon Redbone, who provided a look at a nostalgic era and style of music that resonated with the younger and older audiences alike. And then just this past Sunday, the Motet celebrated the music of Parliament-Funkadelic with a Halloween dance party that was a far departure, albeit a fun one, from the rest of our series.
And now we come to Jaimee Paul, our series closer. It is easy to overlook this show as we rapidly approach our winter season, but I have to tell you that in many ways, I believe we've saved the best Underground Sound artist for last.
If you have gone to no other Underground Sound show this year or in past years, I strongly encourage you to give this one a try. Jaimee Paul has a rare talent, with a smoky, sultry delivery and serious pipes that will have you thinking she was born in another era.
Jaimee plays tribute to the American songbook and the great female artists who defined the meaning of jazz, gospel and pop songbirds. Performing the music we all know from Woody Allen films to "When Harry Met Sally," her set list includes her take on the classics from such legends as Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Etta James, Natalie Cole, Rosemary Clooney and Lena Horne. Her fresh takes on "At Last," "Ain't no Sunshine" and "People Get Ready" are paired with the classics from the turn of the century that are featured on her latest album including "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" and "Shine on, Harvest Moon."
I am as excited and honored to share an artist like Jaimee with our community as I am with anyone we've had at the Vilar Center. At the beginning of this series, I shared my story of discovering her when she was a backup vocalist for Wynonna Judd who had a voice that drew me out of my office during sound checks. She has the talent to be on par with our most popular, sold-out shows. If you love great female vocalists like the legends I've mentioned above or contemporary artists such as Diana Krall and Renee Olstead, I can promise you that you'll be swept away by Jaimee Paul.
Tickets to Jaimee Paul tonight at 7:30 p.m. are still available online (vilarpac.org) and through our box office (970-845-TIXS) for $30. To sum up her talent, I'll leave you with this quote from Christopher Loudon of "Jazz Times."
"Paul is blessed with a glorious voice (indeed, there's significant evidence of [Aretha] Franklin's raw majesty), one that deserves to travel under its own powerful steam ..."
I'll see you at the show!