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VOL 3. NO. 26 Monday, July 9 - Sunday, July 15, 2001
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Local "Sunny" Ray Shines On Artscape 2001
By Yonah COX

Sunny Sumter, courtesy photo

"If velvet were human it would sing like Sunny," wrote Gordon Chambers, entertainment editor for Essence Magazine. Sunny Sumter has even been likened to such jazz greats as Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn by both laymen and music connoisseurs.

Sumter brings her classic form and repertoire to the Decker Stage at Artscape on Friday, July 13. This performance comes on the heels of her new CD release Rite of Passage. This, her sophomore release, has been described as "a collage of world music beats, jazz, and captivating stories." The fusion is intentional. Sumter has said of this project, "I wanted to bring a global sensibility to this project, so I invited musicians and singers from Puerto Rico, Curacao, Brazil, Israel, Austria, Trinidad, and South Africa to participate."

This fresh young jazz vocalist began her singing career at the tender age of 12. And several years ago when we had an opportunity to interview the hometown artist, she said she knew, even as a child, music would be her future, even in the face of objections. "I've always loved jazz," said Sunny. "Even when my first voice teacher asked me `why are you listening to that old people music? Why don't you sing more pop?'"

"I started listening to Sarah Vaughn and Ella Fitzgerald--their phrasing, the way they told their story, the way they worked the lyrics of a song. Billy Holiday, in one note you could hear her pain and Ella Fitzgerald, in one note you could hear her joy," stated Sunny.

Although these jazz icons planted the love for jazz deep within her, Sunny says she continually strives to develop and cultivate her own style. "You listen to their recordings and you emulate them, but I really feel that I'm unique. It's something I'm constantly forming...It's really important to have your own sound; it's my tone that distinguishes me," explained the Howard University alumnus.

But her originality is not limited to her vocal technique, this multi-talented artist also writes and produces her own music. She also brings her eloquence and understanding to the small screen, serving as host of Jazz Central on the BET network.

On Friday, July 13, 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. Sunny will perform at the 20th Annual Artscape Festival in Baltimore, Md. (Mount Royal Avenue between North Avenue and Preston Street at Baltimore's Cultural Center near the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, the Lyric Opera House, the Maryland Institute College of Art, and the University of Baltimore). Sunny opens for Motown legend Smokey Robinson on the Decker Stage. Joining Sunny are Edsel Gomez, piano; Leonardo Lucini, bass and Alejandro Lucini on drums.

The free three-day festival will feature over 150 performing, literary, and visual arts programs and family activities. Performers will include Etta James, Koko Taylor, Ray Charles, Cassandra Wilson, Joe Sample and Lala Hathaway. A complete schedule of performers is provided below. For more information about the festival call 410-396-4575 or visit Artscape's website at www.artscape.org.

(Performances will take place on three different stages: DECKER, SUN & GORDON)
* Performers are subject to change without notice *
FRIDAY, JULY 13, 2001
6:30DeckerSunny Sumter, jazz vocals
6:45SunCarl Filipiak, WAMA award winner, jazz guitar
8:00DeckerAT&T Presents Smokey Robinson, Grammy Legend Award, Grammy Award, Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, Songwriter's Hall of Fame, "The King of Motown"
8:15SunShemekia Copeland, 2 W.C. Handy Awards, soul & deep blues
12:00GordonMarian Licha, Latin American storytelling
12:15SunPearlie Homicile, winner of 12th annual Mayor's Billie Holiday Vocal Competition
12:45DeckerNuance, R&B vocal harmonies
1:00SunThe William Goffigan Trio, traditional swing
1:00GordonJay Kishor, sitar
1:45SunLea Gilmore & Eric Byrd, gospel and R&B
2:00DeckerJulie Dexter, cool urban soul
2:15GordonSahffi, folk rock
2:35SunNiki Lee, Poetry of Dorothy Parker
3:15DeckerHugh Masekela, legendary South African flugelhorn, jazz, Afropop
3:15GordonSoul Creation, rock regg
3:45SunKoKo Taylor & Her Blues Machine, 3 Grammy Awards, "Queen of the Blues"
4:15GordonCompanion Trio, jazz improv
5:00DeckerCassandra Wilson, Grammy Award, jazz vocals
5:15GordonAmirah, neo soul
5:30SunO'Malley's March, Hiz'onor's Irish boogie
6:15GordonThe Phillips Kruzberg Trio, mixed popular
6:45DeckerGary Bartz Quintet, Grammy Award, jazz sax
7:00SunGreat Big Sea, JUNO Award nominee, Celtic pop & folk
7:15GordonChristopher James, roots rock
8:15DeckerBon Secours Baltimore Health System Presents Etta James and The Roots Band, Grammy Award, Blues Hall of Fame, R&B
8:30GordonDaniel Alexander con Peligro Orquesta, salsa & merengue
8:30SunThe Baltimore Sun Presents Arturo Sandoval, 3 Grammy Awards, jazz & traditional Cuban trumpet
SUNDAY, JULY 14, 2001
12:00SunMary Byrd Brown, folk
12:00GordonPoe's The Raven, marathon reading
12:30DeckerMohori Ensemble, Cambodian vocal & percussion
12:45SunAloha Boys, rhythms of Hawaii
1:00GordonJay Kishor, sitar
1:20DeckerThe Bowie State Band, soul
1:30SunRailroad Earth, bluegrass
2:15DeckerJunior Brown, "guit steel" country
2:15GordonIda Selenkow, yodeling
2:35SunFertile Ground, urban world soul
2:45GordonMariachi las Estrelles, Mexican country
3:35SunNew Orleans Klezmer Allstars, Old World/New Orleans fusion
3:55DeckerJoe Sample & Lalah Hathaway, smooth jazz
4:00GordonAnointed Voices, youth gospel
5:00GordonJunkyard Saints, roots party music
5:05SunNorth Mississippi Allstars, W.C. Handy Award, country blues
5:40DeckerRay Charles, Kennedy Center Honoree, 12 Grammy Awards, Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, Internat'l Jazz Hall of Fame, global legend
6:00GordonK'Alyn, neo-classical folk
6:30SunCherish The Ladies, traditional Irish & stepdance
7:00GordonJah Works, Baltimore and Reggae
7:20DeckerMarshell Jones, swing jazz
7:45SunKarl Denson's Tiny Universe
8:30GordonCathy Ponton King, down home blues
8:30DeckerWBAL-TV 11 Presents Ruben Blades & Editus, 3 Grammy Awards, salsa

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