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Arts and Entertainment

Maria, Keith and Noel: This jazz show’s a long time in making
Keith David joins collaboration at Middle C
 
Published Thursday, October 8, 2020
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

COURTESY MARIA HOWELL
Keith David, Maria Howell and Noel Freidline play Middle C Jazz Oct. 8-10.

A show 20 years in the making premieres on Oct. 8 at Middle C Jazz.


Vocalist Maria Howell and pianist/arranger Noel Freidline will be joined by three-time Emmy Award winner Keith David for five performances at Middle C Jazz in Uptown from through Oct. 10 with a 7 p.m. show each night, and two 9:15 p.m. performances Oct. 9-10.


Howell, Freidline and David collaborated on the 2018 film “Bewildered,” in which Howell and David were costars. Yet, Howell and David met long before that when they portrayed Goldie and King Oliver in the 1993 television series “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles” in an episode titled “Young Indiana Jones and the Mystery of the Blues.”

“I feel like this appointment has been 20 years in the making or more,” David said. “Maria and I met during an episode of ‘Young Indiana [Jones],’ if anybody even remembers what that series was about, and ever since then we have been planning to do something together, and here is our opportunity.”


Howell and Freidline also collaborated throughout the pandemic with a series titled #NotesFromMiddleC where they livestreamed hour-long performances on Wednesday nights. The shows were first streamed from Middle C Jazz, and later from Freidline’s home to adhere to social distancing guidelines. However, the shows continued to be streamed from Middle C Jazz’s Facebook page. The upcoming performances will also be streamed, however, as North Carolina is in Phase 3 of its reopening plan, the 200-seat venue will host in-person performances as well on Oct. 9-10.


“We thought it was going to be a one-off,” Freidline said. “The people who were helping us out [during the first show] looked down at their computer and said, ‘wow, 8,000 people showed up for your livestream.’ We had 8,000 views at the end of an hour and 15 minutes. So Maria and I looked at each other and said, ‘well this sounds like a hit. Let’s do this again next week.’ We were fortunate enough to do 13 weeks. Over the period of 13 weeks we were averaging about 5,000 people per week.”

David’s birthday coincided with their 13-week run, and Howell and Freidline dedicated songs to him. After their performance they called him, saying they needed to get him to Charlotte for the performance which had been intended for prior to the pandemic. While in-person performances are slowly returning, the number of people permitted for an in-person audience will be significantly smaller for the foreseeable future.
“It’s the same way with acting and any other platform that we’ve been exposed to,” Howell said. “We don’t have that number of folks there that we’re used to. It definitely makes you more grateful.”

Listen to the entire conversation with Howell, Freidline and David on The Creatives podcast.

For more information: https://middlecjazz.com

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