Danita Mumphard will perform a tribute to jazz luminary Ella Fitzgerald at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, at Jacoby Arts Center, 627 E. Broadway.
ALTON — Two music genres have been constant in Danita Mumphard’s singing career and both speak to her soul.
Mumphard will be tapping into one of those with her tribute to Ella Fitzgerald at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, at Jacoby Arts Center, 627 E. Broadway. Green/Perkins Productions is presenting the event in conjunction with the arts center.
Mumphard brings her intricate vocalization to pay homage to “that great lady of jazz” as she performs original songs and jazz standards. Brenda Foster accompanies her on keyboards, Robert Mumphard plays drums and Jeff Anderson is on bass.
“Brenda is such a dynamic keyboard player,” Mumphard said. “She’s been with us a number of years. Robert is a musician in his own right. Jeff is new to our band, but we’ve played together before.”
Mumphard grew up in a household where gospel and jazz were given equal attention. Her mom is a retired music educator who taught at the elementary and middle school levels. She also was the music minister in the church Danita grew up in. Her dad is bassist for the renowned jazz group Trio Trés Bien.
Gospel is her first love but as Mumphard got older, jazz found a place in her heart. She gave her first solo at age 3 in her church. When she was in her early 20s, Trio Trés Bien was looking for a backup singer. That was about 25 years ago, and she’s been singing professionally ever since.
“Gospel and jazz aren’t worlds apart. Both allow for artistic expression and both move people in indescribable ways,” she said.
With a multiple octave voice range, Mumphard is a versatile vocalist who can tap into her audience and give them what they want, even if they don’t know it themselves.
“If you want a peppy or encouraging sound, I can do swing. If you have the blues, I can do blues. If you want an island beat, I can do calypso. I’m very versatile in reaching my audience.”
Mumphard’s four CDs will be available for sale the night of the show for $10 each. Robert Mumphard produced his wife’s second jazz CD, “Love’s Taking Over,” which features eight smooth, jazzy, soulful and passionate songs. The album’s top track can be heard at jacobyartscenter.org/event-2249979. Mumphard’s debut jazz CD was released in 2005 and includes live and studio performances.
In 2002, Mumphard released her debut — and first gospel — CD. “Eternally” contains 11 contemporary gospel songs, eight of which were written by the Mumphards. Her follow-up 2007 gospel CD, “Watch God Work,” has 15 contemporary, traditional and smooth jazz gospel songs. It includes original compositions “Keeps On Blessing Me” and “Worthy Is The Lamb.”
Mumphard is an academic adviser at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and said she loves to help students reach their academic goals. She has three children, Robbie, Amarria and Jared.
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door or at jacobyartscenter.org/event-2249979. Seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis.
Doors open 60 minutes in advance so the public can view the final day of “Natural Force” in the Main Gallery and the opening days of “Art for All,” an open enrollment art exhibit accepting all artists and mediums. A cash bar will be available.