ALTON — The Jacoby Arts Center will honor the musical legacy of Miles Davis with the appearance of Jared Hennings and a special exhibit of album covers on Friday, Sept. 11.
Well-known as a versatile performer, Hennings has sung as a soloist and acted extensively in musical theater, including appearances with Alton Muny Band, Katherine Dunham School of Performing Arts, Missouri Botanical Garden, Lewis and Clark Community College and Alton Little Theater. Hennings is also a respected music history educator.
“We will do a presentation of classic songs from the American Songbook with a sprinkling of patriotic tunes,” Hennings said. “We’ll do favorites like ‘Summertime,’ ‘Mack the Knife,’ ‘Making Whoopee’ and offer music to inspire love of our country, too. ‘America the Beautiful’ and ‘God Bless America’ will definitely be on our set list.”
Although Hennings does not plan to play any of Miles Davis’ greatest hits on the program, he said his music has been greatly influenced by the Alton native’s “cool jazz” sound. Hennings will be performing as part of the Miles Davis celebration scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 12, in Downtown Alton, coinciding with the unveiling of the commemorative statue on Third Street.
In collaboration with the Miles Davis Committee and Pride Inc., the Jacoby Arts Center will have a special display of Miles Davis’ most popular album covers mounted on a wall in the East Gallery. Titles include Davis’ groundbreaking album “Kind of Blue.”
The exhibit has been made possible through the generous loan of Pete Basola’s collection of vintage Miles Davis albums and with special thanks to Quint Long and Dr. Tony Phillips, the new owners of Picture This and More, for supplying the frames.
Accompanying Hennings are the husband and wife duo of Marty and Eric Johnson on piano and bass, respectively, and percussionist Peter Hussey.
“I met the Johnsons from a performance at the Unitarian Church, so there’s familiarity there,” Hennings said. “Marty has an insistence on getting tunes right when we rehearse and Eric is solid on the bass.”
Hussey is an associate music professor of music at Lewis and Clark Community College.
The group will perform as part of Jacoby’s Friday Nites Live! at 8 p.m. Doors will open at 7:30, with seating available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The arts center is located at 627 E. Broadway in Alton.
“Friday Nites Live! has gained tremendous momentum, and we are proud to support the efforts of the Miles Davis Committee and Pride Inc. for bringing a statue of this hometown legend to Alton,” said Denny Scarborough, Jacoby’s president. “By showcasing Alton’s musical heritage and a diverse array of contemporary talent, we are helping the community’s efforts to establish Alton as an arts center for the region.”
The concert will also feature gourmet popcorn from PopUtopia, formerly The Hive. Both savory and sweet autumnal flavors will be available, including pumpkin spice, caramel, candy corn, turtle and kettle corn.
Tickets can be purchased at the door for $10, and no reservation is required. Food and drink are available at an additional cost.
For information on the series, call (618) 462-5222 or visit www.jacobyartscenter.org.