Another great season of live music at Alameda's main library will kick off on Sept. 22 with a performance by jazz singer Kenny Washington.
In addition to Washington, other top Bay Area talent featured at the Live at the Library benefit shows are Jonathan Poretz on Oct. 20, and Paula West on Nov. 17.
"We've been so lucky in the past to get the great talent of top performers donating their time to Live at the Library, and this year is no exception," said Ruth Belikove, co-producer of the shows, which are put on by the Alameda Free Library Foundation.
"All three singers are among the best musicians in the Bay Area and in the country," said co-producer Eileen Savel. "It's wonderful to see this top-notch talent perform in such a small, intimate venue."
Washington will sing classic jazz tunes from the 1930s and '40s with a "modern twist," according to Belikove. "He's performed many times at the Rrazz Room in San Francisco, as have the other two performers. You don't have to go across the Bay or even to Broadway to hear top talent. You will have it right here in town."
Washington, a New Orleans native, studied at Xavier University in Cincinnati. He joined the honorary U.S. Navy Band in 1986 and then performed around the world with the group for nine years before settling in the Bay Area. He's performed with Elvis Costello and Deborah Harry, of Blondie, in London and New York and also at the Top of the Mark in San Francisco.
Poretz will put on a Las Vegas-style performance and specializes in tunes by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bobby Darin and Mel Torme. He began singing in his teens with Charlie Shavers, Chuck Wayne and Joe Puma in his hometown of New York and later appeared in several cities as Sinatra in "A Tribute to Frank, Sammy, Joey & Dean."
West also promises to share her skills at singing from the Great American Songbook of jazz standards when she takes the stage on Nov. 17. West was born and raised in San Diego as the daughter of a Marine and became more familiar with jazz when she moved to the Bay Area in the late 1980s.
Since 2007, she has performed with noted pianist and arranger George Mesterhazy, who accompanied the late Shirley Horn. She's also sung with Mesterhazy's quartet in San Francisco and New York and is set to sing in New York with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at the Lincoln Center Orchestra in February 2013.
"Judging from previous Live at the Library shows, we think this series will sell out," said Savel. "The events really have a nice Alameda vibe to them."
Community sponsors of Live at the Library include Books Inc., Cairdea Design & Marketing, Dewey's Friends Café, Friends of the Alameda Library, Alameda Free Library Foundation, the Alameda Library Board Art Committee, Piedmont Piano and R&B Cellars.
Tickets for the series of three concerts are $90; for individual shows, tickets are $35. They can be bought at Dewey's Friends Café in the Main Library, at Books Inc. on Park Street and online at www.brownpapertickets.com.
Doors open at 7 p.m., and concerts start at 8 p.m. Refreshments, including wine, will be available for purchase before the shows.