SALT LAKE CITY — Following his stellar performance at last year's Capitol Theatre concert, GAM Foundation/Jazz SLC founder Gordon Hanks invited pianist Benny Green to return to this year’s concert series.
“I asked Benny to come back and bring somebody with him. He didn’t hesitate before saying Veronica Swift," Hanks said. "To be honest, I wasn’t that familiar with Ms. Swift’s work but I’ve known Benny for over 20 years and trust his judgement.”
Hanks is not alone.
“Mention Veronica Swift’s name and people don’t immediately respond, but that’s going to change,” Hanks said. “I’ve listened to everything she has out and she’s going to be big very soon. Extremely big.”
At 25, Swift is considered by jazz insiders to be one of the top jazz vocalist of the new generation. Just follow the trajectory of her career beginning with a second-place award at the celebrated Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition in 2015, and then, the next year, with a solo concert at the Tribeca Performing Arts and wrapped up the year as a headliner for the Telluride Jazz Festival in Colorado.
“She’s one of those few artists that is absolutely comfortable on stage and in front of a crowd,” Green said in a recent interview. “When we met, things just seemed to click and the idea of working together really appealed to me.”
Having the Benny Green Trio as your backup band speaks to Green’s confidence in Swift’s talent.
“I had a lot of people really help me early on in my career and I strongly believe in the importance of extending myself out to other musicians,” he said.
Hanks remembers a similar story about another singer who was, many years ago, first starting out — Diana Krall. “When I first tested the water to see if a concert series might work in Salt Lake City, I was in Moscow, Idaho, at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival," he said. "I was visiting with bassist Ray Brown who introduced me to his new piano player, Diana Krall. I remember how nervous she was but Ray told her she’d do just fine. It was the first time she sang professionally and we all know the rest of that story.”
There is no lack of confidence with Swift. She knows when to attack her repertoire and when to hold back. When she scats on a song you can hear the influence of some of the female jazz greats of the past in her voice.
This concert could very easily be one of those evenings that you’ll look back fondly on and say, “I remember the first time I heard Victoria Swift sing.” And chances are that it will be done with a smile on your face.
If you go …
What: Veronica Swift and the Benny Green Trio
When: Monday, March 25, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South
How much: $24.50 for adults, $10 for students with valid ID
Phone: 801-355 2787 or 1-888-451-2787