Sweet and swinging standards from the Great American Songbook

Vocalist Lauren Koval and the Paul McDonald Sextet, next at the Idyllwild Summer Concert Series, will serve up swinging and sultry jazz and pop standards from the Great American Songbook.

Jazz is legacy and lineage — an illustrious line of singers, bandleaders and instrumentalists whose music chronicles periods of time in our cultural life.

The female singers whose songs framed moments in the lives of millions are revered throughout the world — Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Peggy Lee and Rosemary Clooney, to name a few.

Lauren Koval is in that line. Her smokey alto voice has been compared to Clooney. “I met Rosemary Clooney in 2001,” said Koval. “I was not only blown away by her performance, but also by her professionalism with her musicians and crew. She showed me the true meaning of how to be an artist. When I heard her sing ‘When October Goes,’ I knew at that moment that I wanted to sing jazz.”

When someone says, “They don’t write tunes like that anymore,” chances are they’re referring to popular songs and jazz standards from the 1920s through the 1950s that have endured and become part of the cultural vernacular — the “Great American Songbook.”

Pianist Paul McDonald arranges for Koval, creating soundscapes that perfectly suit Koval’s voice and style.

The tunes they’ll present in Idyllwild are part of the Songbook legacy — “Old Devil Moon,” “All the Things You Are” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.”

Joining Koval and McDonald are Ernie Nuñez on bass, Steve Pemberton on drums, Dave Thomasson on sax, Jon Pappenbrook on trumpet and Duane Benjamin on trombone.

Koval grew up in a house filled with music. Her dad sang and played guitar. Her dad and mother loved Doris Day movie musicals and early on encouraged Lauren to share in that love.

Koval will sing a special song, Hoagie Carmichael’s “Skylark,” in honor of her father, who recently passed away. “Dad was the main inspiration for my singing,” she remembered. “We would sit while he played guitar and we’d sing songs like ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ and the Carpenter’s ‘Top of the World.’”

Koval released a CD “No Complaints, No Regrets” with legendary pianist Page Cavanaugh and his trio. It received great notices. She has toured and sung with Bill Tole and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, loving every moment of it. “He was a true gentleman and every show with him was an incredible experience.” Other credits include the Jimmy Dorsey Big Band, the Catalina Bar and Grill, Vitello’s Jazz and Supper Club, The Montage Hotel and the Queen Mary’s Sir Winston Lounge.

So, dust off your memory book, take out your dancing shoes, and make sure to be in the audience to appreciate this graceful and elegant musical experience.

Koval and McDonald take the stage at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 2, at the stage below Idyllwild Brewpub. Robbie and Bill open at 6:15 p.m. There is no charge to attend but this series depends on the contribution and sponsorships of audience members.

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