The Detroit Symphony Orchestra will celebrate two American jazz icons — Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong — with “Ella & Louis” on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

In a year when Fitzgerald would have turned 100, soloists Carmen Bradford and Byron Stripling will reprise some of the pair’s most-famous duets and other songs in the orchestra’s PNC Pops Series.

Bradford and Stripling, said Pops Principal Conductor Jeff Tyzik, are phenomenal talents, both of whom worked for Count Basie in his celebrated orchestra.

“Byron played lead trumpet,” he said, “while Carmen was the last vocalist Basie hired while he was still alive.”

Audiences at the four weekend performances will be treated to about 16 songs, including some of the pinnacles in the American repertoire, including “What a Wonderful World,” “Love Is Here to Stay,” and selections from “Porgy and Bess.”

Tyzik promises the soloists won’t disappoint.

“Carmen’s one of the most amazing voices singing jazz today,” he said, “and Byron’s just a phenomenal artist. Nobody on earth does Louis like Byron.”

Indeed, much like Armstrong himself, Stripling, who’s artistic director and conductor of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, plays and sings. In 1988, he toured the country playing Armstrong in the musical “Satchmo: America’s Musical Legend.”

Bradford has recorded with George Benson, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and performed with the David Murray Big Band and the Doc Severinsen Orchestra.

“I work with Carmen and Byron all the time,” Tyzik said, “and there’s nothing like being on stage with them. When they perform it’s all about the music. They’re not trying to impress anybody. They’re just consumed with the beauty of the music.”

(313) 222-6021

Twitter: @mhodgesartguy

‘Ella & Louis’

with Carmen Bradford and Byron Stripling

Detroit Symphony Orchestra — PNC Pops Series

Orchestra Hall, 3711 Woodward, Detroit

10:45 a.m., 8 p.m. Friday; 8 p.m. Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday


(313) 576-5111

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