Nnenna Freelon grew up immersed in music but it wasn't until she was in her mid 30s that she made her "big break", or at least a big break in jazz. This happened partly because she met Ellis Marsalis, patriarch of the Marsalis Jazz Family, who introduced her to record executives at Columbia Records. Since then she has performed throughout the country with Aretha Franklin, Ramsey Lewis and James Moody. Lena Horne was not just another singer and performer; she was the first African American performer to sign a long-term contract with a Hollywood studio, and is known for the most famous recording of 'Stormy Weather'.
For Nnenna, performing this tribute to Lena Horne is more than just singing record copies to a room of Lena fans. Freelon is going to emulate Lena's spirit and channel that into her own musical interpretations, weaving the audience through Lena's life and its impact on her own. Throughout the show Freelon will pay homage to one of her icons and still make time to give some standards the "nonstandard approach" just like she has done with 'Nature Boy', 'Prelude to a Kiss', and 'Skylark'. June 22 is Nnenna's chance to evolve jazz music yet again and to honor the legendary Lena Horne.