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Wesla Whitfield with the Mike Greensill Trio
January 09, 2013
Celebrating the release of "The Best Things In Life"
Wednesday, January 9
Rarely do two shining stars come together and stay together in the way that Wesla Whitfield and Mike Greensill have done, and tonight you’ll hear selections from the rich storehouse of musical treasures born of their long collaboration. Mike studied piano in England, and Wesla began singing at home in Santa Maria, California, thousands of miles apart. Destiny brought them both to San Francisco, where they met and began to share the music they both loved.
Each is a major talent - together they interpret and perform some of the greatest popular music ever composed in a style and with substance seldom encountered. A relaxed, unpretentious performer, Wesla’s clear, exquisite voice, riveting style and sardonic wit are matched superbly with Mike’s sophisticated arrangements and elegant phrasing. She inhabits that magical zone where jazz and cabaret meet, with her deft timing and uncanny ability to connect with the emotional truth in a lyric.
Trained in classical music and opera, she toiled for more than three decades to become one of the most gifted performers breathing life into Broadway tunes, movie songs and beloved numbers known collectively as the Great American Songbook. Wesla and her husband Mike Greensill have worked with major symphonies, orchestras, bands and solo performers from Marian McPartland to Joe Wilder. Together they brought down the house in their Carnegie Hall debut participating in the Tribute to Frank Sinatra, and appeared in tributes to Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, and Judy Garland. The duo was invited in 1996 to perform at the White House for Hillary Clinton. Both artists support dozens of worthy causes in benefit work around the country and are always on the giving side of the challenges facing each of us.
New York Times reviewer Stephen Holden says, “Ms. Whitfield combines ruthless insight, intense emotion and highly evolved jazz phrasing into a musical evening that goes beyond mere entertainment to flirt with profundity.” S.F. Chronicle Executive Datebook Editor David Wiegand called Wesla “...an indoor landmark. Every great city deserves a signature chanteuse, and San Francisco is fortunate to have Whitfield as its resident voice.”
Their talents combined have garnered numerous national television, radio and written media credits, including “All Things Considered”, “Fresh Air” with Teri Gross, People Magazine, CBS’ Sunday Morning, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, a DownBeat Magazine profile and a feature in O Magazine. Well-known in his role as musical director and husband to Wesla, with whom he has recorded over twenty albums, Mike is also the resident pianist on Sedge Thomson’s weekly Public Radio Show to the World, “West Coast Live.” As an arranger, he has had the opportunity to write for big bands and symphony orchestras including the Boston Pops and the San Francisco Symphony. In addition to the musical partnership with his wife, Mike has taken pleasure in accompanying a diverse roster of artists including Rita Moreno, Margaret Whiting, Broadway stars Lillias White and Franc D'Ambrosio, and jazz singers Madeline Eastman, Ann Hampton Callaway and Opie Bellas. Mike is currently in the middle of writing his magnum opus Art of the Accompanist.
Tonight, Wesla Whitfield along with the Mike Greensill Trio, which includes Vince Lateano on drums and bassist John Wiitala, take the Yoshi’s stage to celebrate the release of their newest CD, The Best Things in Life. Don’t miss this extraordinary opportunity to hear the singer of whom the Village Voice wrote, “...Is she the best singer - jazz or whatever - around today? No disagreement here."