Driftwood Players benefit with Overton Berry this Saturday

Jazz master Overton Berry

Many area jazz fans already have tickets for Saturday night’s show featuring Overton Berry. The Earshot Hall of Fame inductee is performing as a benefit for the Driftwood Players’ capital campaign to fund a new roof. My Edmonds News recently spoke with Driftwood Players fundraiser, Kathleen Huston, about the jazz master and the custom piano coming to the stage. Here is what Huston told us:

“Did you know that Overton Berry is a Voting Member of the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (Grammy’s) and is a member of the American Federation of Musicians?

“I can now tell you that Overton Berry (even though he is a Grammy voting member) is not a diva. I kid him about this daily. He fires back and tells me that (he needs) ‘to slow down and start working at the speed of light.’ He is a very hands-on performer and has made working this event a joy! I think he sits on his e-mail and phone, since when I call I get an immediate response from O.B. (or so he calls himself). Sean, his son and manager, says his dad answers all his own mail and is everyone’s friend on Facebook. The man does not cease to amaze me!

“If you have not read the book ‘Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet,’ you should. It is a great read and Overton Berry is mentioned in it. The book is about the jazz scene in Seattle at the time of the Japanese population internments. When I asked O.B. if he had read the book and knew he was mentioned in it, he laughed and said yes. In fact, he knew some of the real jazz people’s relatives. I guess I should not have been surprised.

“(Regarding the piano) Ira Langlois and a crew of three others will be driving the custom piano to the theater Saturday. They are coming on the ferry into Edmonds and will be taking a loop to avoid the Main Street construction. I cannot believe we will have such a fine instrument sitting on our stage Saturday night. Again, this connection was provided by Overton Berry. Ira Langlois & Sons have been crating fine pianos for five generations since 1865. Again, pinch me!”

Saturday’s event with Overton Berry and his ensemble of Mike Eytcheson on bass, Rick Spano on drums; and Kate Wirth, vocals, is Saturday, 7 p.m. at the Wade James Theater. Tickets here.

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