Sue Matthews opens outdoor concert series at Cafe Mezzanotte

Supported by guitar stars Steve Abshire and Steve Herberman, singer Sue Matthews will perform on Sunday May 16 in the first outdoor concert of the season presented by Jazz Beyond Borders at Cafe Mezzanotte in Severna Park. The musical series will take place from spring to fall in a courtyard adjacent to the restaurant. You can enjoy Mediterranean cuisine while listening to international artists and performing artists.

One of Maryland’s foremost jazz singers, Sue Matthews is celebrated on both sides of the Chesapeake Bay. Known for her honeyed voice, she has amassed thousands of adoring fans over her decades-long career and anyone who appreciated her exquisite phrasing and smoky voice can tell you why. She has entertained audiences across the United States and at top jazz clubs, concert halls and festivals in North America, South America and Europe. Known for her renditions of the Great American Songbook, she has been widely praised for her recordings and performances. Its ability to find nuances in classic tunes ensures listeners a new listening experience time and time again.

Guitar virtuoso Steve Abshire has an excellent reputation in the mid-Atlantic. Known as a solo guitarist, collaborator and accompanist, he can do amazing things with six strings. For nearly two decades he performed with the Commodores, the Navy’s premier jazz ensemble. His traditional style developed after years of studying with Herb Ellis, Joe Pass, Barney Kessel and rhythm guitarist Steve Jordan. He has performed with Ellis and other icons such as Charlie Byrd, Bucky Pizzarelli and Frank Vignola. He can be found on numerous recordings, including six of his own. Downbeat Magazine described it as “fluid, confident, directly communicative”.

Steve Herberman is one of the most respected names in the jazz guitar world. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, he began playing the seven-string guitar in 1993. He has recorded numerous CDs as a leader and sideman. He has performed in many major US concert halls and clubs, including Birdland (New York), Spazio (Los Angeles) and Blues Alley, and the Kennedy Center closer to his home. He has performed with renowned musicians such as Keter Betts, Gary Bartz, John Pisano and is featured in the book “The Great Jazz Guitarists” by Scott Yanow.

On May 16, the trio will perform familiar favorites including “Our Love is Here to Stay” by Gershwin, “Do Nothing ‘Till You Hear from Me” by Ellington and “On the Street Where You Live” by Lerner & Loewe. Before the evening is over, Matthews will pay special tribute to beloved multi-instrumentalist and composer John E. Starr Jr., who was killed in a car crash on Easter Sunday. The two met during their freshman year at Washington College in Chestertown, MD, and were longtime friends. She will perform “Stormy Weather”, a tune they have performed in many places over the years. They have performed together in the Annapolis-based jazz fusion group Wooden Hands.

Seating for the outdoor show is from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday May 16 (rainy date May 23). Tickets can be purchased for $ 25 at www.instantseats.com. Participants must wear a mask when not dining, and social distancing guidelines will be followed.

Café Mezzanotte is located at 765 Ritchie Highway. Just 15 minutes north of Annapolis and 20 minutes south of Baltimore City, the venue offers convenient free parking. For more information, call 410-647-1100.

Now in its fifth year, Jazz Beyond Borders is a culturally diverse organization that brings world music and jazz artists to festival concerts, classrooms and airwaves. The events are presented in live, streaming and hybrid formats. The jazz and world music series at Café Mezanotte was created in November 2019.


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