Singing Porter, Ellington and Gershwin

The Sonoma Community Center is hosting Black & White Jazz, a three-concert series on the Rotary Stage in Andrews Hall that begins Saturday, Jan. 18.

Accomplished Bay Area musicians bring to Sonoma the music of the most beloved songwriters of all time, performing songs chosen to evoke an earlier era, a time of black and white photos, black and white movies, smoky clubs and cocktail lounges.

In three separate concerts, vocalists Connie Ducey, Janet Lynn and Dee Dee Pickard will perform signature numbers by George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Duke Ellington on Jan. 18; Harold Arlen, Jimmy Van Heusen and Rodgers & Hart on Feb. 1; and Johnny Mercer, Henry Mancini and more on March 8. They will be backed by the Black & White Jazz Quartet: Tim Wat, piano; Erik Nelson, trumpet and vocals; Andy Dudnick, bass; and Jimmy C, drums.

All three concerts are at 7:30 p.m.

“Black & White jazz brings these great composers to the forefront by sharing their greatest work and, hopefully, sending our audience away with a new understanding and appreciation of both the music and the composers who built The Great American Songbook,” said Toni Castrone, the community center's executive director.

Tickets are $12 general admission at svbo.org, by phone 938-4626, ext. 1, or in person at 276 E. Napa St., Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and 30 minutes before show time. More information is available at sonomacommunitycenter.org.

Pickard, of San Mateo, started her professional career as a background vocalist, sharing the stage with Kenny Loggins, Sophie B. Hawkins, Stevie Wonder, Louis Price (The Temptations), John Mayer and John Legend. She also has taught voice at Blue Bear School of Music, Musicians Institute, Steinlein Productions and Day Jams Music Camp.

Ducey, of Marin, has been singing all her life, working her way through rock ‘n’ roll and blues to jazz. She now performs in venues from San Francisco to St. Helena with C*JAM Jazz Quartet, Namely Us and The Judy Hall Trio/Duo.

Lynn, also of Marin, grew up on the jazz and polkas of her father, a professional accordion and keyboard player. She performs with West Side Jazz Club and the Equinox Jazz Trio in venues throughout the Bay Area.

Lynn, Ducey and Picard are backed up by the Black & White Jazz Quartet.

Pianist and keyboard player Tim Wat, of the East Bay, plays regularly in San Jose, the East Bay and San Francisco, and leads his own contemporary jazz project, Human Nature. He also teaches at California State University.

Bassist Andy Dudnick, of Marin, performs in the greater San Francisco Bay Area with groups that include C*JAM, the Equinox Jazz Trio, Mobius Jazz Quartet and the West Side Jazz Club. He also teaches jazz instrumental and vocal classes at the Crossroads Music School.

Vocalist and trumpet player Erik Nelson, of the East Bay, toured internationally with the professional a cappella group 5th Avenue, which opened for Natalie Cole, Julio Iglesias and the Oakridge Boys. He now performs with the Equinox Jazz Trio, Mobius Jazz Quartet and the East Bay Hextet.

Jimmy C, of Santa Rosa, has been playing drums for more than 40 years across styles that range from rock to blues, Americana to musical theater, jazz to romantic Italian opera. He plays with the Equinox Jazz Trio, Mobius Jazz Quartet, the East Bay Hextet, the Westside Jazz Collective and the Sebastopol-based Don Giovannis. His latest project is Black & White Jazz, for which he has assembled some of the Bay Area’s best vocalists and musicians.

Sonoma Community Center enriches the lives of the people of Sonoma Valley by fostering a broad range of cultural, educational and community services, and by ensuring the preservation and restoration of its historic building.