Tucson jazz and R&B singer Ada Redd Austin performs her biggest concert since the pandemic on Saturday, September 10 at Dunbar Pavilion.
The “Paint the Town with Sound” concert is presented by Tucson-based podcaster and entrepreneur Jennifer Davis-Paige as a benefit for independent Phoenix-area jazz and blues radio station KRDP Jazz 90.7 FM, the only station in black owned and operated radio. .
“I’m really looking forward to this gig,” said Davis-Paige, CEO and founder of Boom Goddess Radio, which creates nationwide podcasts for women over 50.
Austin will perform a mix of jazz, R&B, pop and blues with his all-star band which includes his longtime keyboardist Doug Martin, saxophonist Michael Moynihan, Mike Levy on bass, Carl Cherry on drums and Steve Smith on guitar. .
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“I like to receive; that’s what I do,” said Austin, who has performed a few small gigs since the pandemic, including shows for the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance. “It’s my gift and I can’t use it as much as I would like.”
Davis-Paige, who moved to Tucson from Chicago eight years ago after retiring from her management position at Amtrak, met Austin two years ago when Austin was a guest on her Black History podcast Month.
Austin said she had never heard of KRDP until Davis-Paige invited her to headline the benefit concert. The hope, Davis-Paige said, is to one day get an FCC license to expand the station’s reach in Tucson.
KRDP launched online in 2008 as Radio Phoenix until EVIT, a technical high school in Mesa, offered the frequency to KRDP owners, Desert Soul Media Inc., in December 2021.
The station’s format is a mix of community news, jazz, blues and soul music, public affairs and specialty programming, including a travel and food show every other Saturday with Davis- Paige, who also has a Boom Goddess radio show at 3:30 p.m. pm Sunday on KXCI.
Austin said she would like to see the station find its way to the Tucson airwaves. She also hopes her concert on Saturday will introduce her to new audiences and reconnect her with old fans who haven’t seen her perform much since the pandemic.
A native of Tucson, Austin, a retired Tucson teacher, has been performing since the 1970s, but local gigs, especially since the pandemic, have been rare.
“In the 1990s and early 2000s I played St. Philip’s Plaza, Westward Look (Resort) and the jazz festival, but that dried up a lot,” she said, adding that his early resume also included performances with the Barbea Williams. Performing Company and musicals with black theater company Ododo Theater in the 1970s. “It’s hard to get gigs in Tucson.”
Her Saturday show, which begins at 7 p.m. at Dunbar Pavilion, 325 W. Second St., will include a bit of everything, she said, from country and rock to covers of jazz great Nancy Wilson to catalog blues by Bonnie Raitt and “Summertime” by “Porgy & Bess”. She also starts
a bit of Anita Baker, original jazz and R&B and a bit of gospel, she says.
Tickets are $30 through brownpapertickets.com; VIP tickets are $250 via listen2kdrp.com.
Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at [email protected] On Twitter @Starburch