Brooklyn Jazz Café Honors Legendary Etta James

On the evening of January 25, 2011, Dallas’ best jazz and blues artists united at the Brooklyn Jazz Café to honor legendary singer Ms. Etta James, on her 73rd birthday.  

The Dallas lineup included an appearance by Grammy nominated blues artist Mr. Lucky Peterson (multi-instrumentalist), Grammy nominated Ms. Breggett Rideau (vocalist), Martha Burks (vocalist), Candy Williams (vocalist), Liz Mikel (vocalist), Rob Holbert (saxophonist), Eric Willis (composer and keyboardist), Derrick ‘Domino’ Winding (guitarist), Andrea Dawson (vocalist), Naida and Nelda Washington (vocalists) and many more. 

Etta James was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2009, and has been suffering from dementia. However, it was also just recently confirmed that Etta James is severely ill with leukemia.

Etta James (born Jamesetta Hawkins) is best known for her success as a blues and R&B singer. However, she also sings rock, gospel, and jazz. James has won four Grammys and seventeen Blues Music Awards during her music career.  She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Grammy Hall of Fame in both 1999 and 2008. James is most commonly known for her signature songs “At Last” and “Trust in Me”, which were hits recorded in 1961 with Chess Records.   

The idea of honoring Ms. Etta James on her birthday, originated from Jazz vocalist Ms. Loretta Dunaway. Ms. Breggett Rideau produced the event, and teamed up with music composer and keyboardist Mr. Norman Williams, who wrote the music charts, and served as the music director.  Brooklyn Jazz Café owner Mrs. Lorna Tate supported these artists with no hesitation and hosted this local tribute, which she said “brought me to tears”.

 The evening started with a stellar performance by jazz vocalist Ms. Martha Burks. Her powerful vocal range and playful finesse was given a standing ovation after performing Etta’s famous song ‘At Last’.  Ms. Liz Mikel beautifully sang James’ second 1961 hit song, ‘Trust in Me’ and Ms. Candy Williams the classic jazz standard, ‘Sunday Kind of Love’.  

Upcoming jazz vocalist Ms. Nelda Washington, shimmed her hips and rocked the audience with a touch of jazz, when she performed the blues hit, ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’.  Then, blues singer Ms. Andrea Dawson captured the audience’s undivided attention, when she illustrated the emotional lyrics from the song ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’. Dawson walked off the stage and down the aisles singing to the audience, “I’d rather go blind boy. Then to see you walk away, see you walk from me, yeah…” giving us a memorable performance.  Another, evening highlight was when Mr. Lucky Peterson stopped the band to rejoined the stage, and took the guitar from player (Derrick ‘Domino’ Winding), and lead the band playing the blues hit ‘Confessin The Blues’  featuring Miss Marcy on vocals.  Mr. Peterson has performed and recorded with Ms. Etta James and many other famous artists all over the world for years. Peterson’s talented performance and rare appearance made this an unforgettable event.

 The legendary Etta James and her family are in our prayers here in Dallas. We will honor her always…

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