Prescott jazz fans were in for a rare treat at this past Sunday’s matinee show at the Elks Theater featuring Swedish singing and instrumental sensation, Gunhild Carling In Concert. Dubbed a “national treasure” by the King of Sweden, Gunhild brought the audience to its feet in one show stopper after another of jazz classics. She sang, she danced, and she played half a dozen instruments including a very hot trumpet, trombone, recorder, and even the bagpipe in a jazzed up version of "Amazing Grace". Something of a sensation in her native Sweden, she has toured internationally, and is now based in California. She has appeared on America’s Got Talent and took third place in the 2014 celebrity version of the Swedish television show Let's Dance.
Brought to the Elks Theater by Khris Dodge Entertainment, music director Dodge describes Gunhild as “…a force of nature”, with an encyclopedic knowledge of jazz, performers, and the history behind the songs. All of this was on full display in her singing, instrumentals and stage patter. This amazingly talented and versatile performer came across as a consummate pro. She was very ably backed by a five piece band featuring Khris Dodge on piano, Mike King on bass, Rylande Dodge on drums, Paul Brewer on clarinet and saxophone, and Charles Hopkins on trombone. For readers who missed the show, several of her most popular performances are posted on Facebook and YouTube, including a definitive version of La Vie en Rose.
The afternoon’s play list of 22 jazz classics included "Dream a Little Dream", "Don’t Mean a Thing", "Bourbon Street Parade", and "When the Saints Go Marching In". A particular highlight of the show was trumpeter Mike Vax, founder of the Prescott Jazz Festival, and long- time leader of the Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra who joined Gunhild on stage in a rip-roaring rendition of "Basin Street Blues". Local jazz fans will be happy to know that Mr. Vax has assured us that plans are underway for another summer season of the Prescott Jazz Festival.
Khris Dodge Entertainment is also planning a summer series at Prescott’s Elks Theater. Their next show is The Chicago Experience—A Tribute to the Legendary Band, on June 6th, and Tapestry: The Album featuring the music of Carole King, on July 17th. Tickets may be purchased at prescottelkstheater.com or by calling 928.777.1370.