Tally-Ho: Ellington to perform

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

Very seldom can a restaurant offer a great meal, great music and a trip back in time all in the same evening.

But this weekend, the Tally-Ho will give customers all three.

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The Steve Ellington Showcase will be performing this weekend. Ellington promised a show sure to please fans of all kinds of musical genres.

“We’re going to be performing music from the 20s to the current times,” said Ellington. “Everything from ‘Sitting on the Dock of the Bay’ to Miles Davis to Hank Williams. People can expect an evening where they can dance if they’d like to. We’re going to play rock and roll, blues, Sinatra and, of course, Duke Ellington.”

The showcase will be a duo featuring Ellington and Atlanta musician Jim Bell. The two will be performing Friday, April 14 and Saturday, April 15 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. both nights.

Tally-Ho assistant manager Chris Kelley happened upon Ellington’s band when he was with his friends at a club in Montgomery.

They talked following the set, and not long afterward Ellington agreed to come to Selma to perform.

“It’s great; it keeps people from having to drive an hour to listen to good jazz,” Kelley said. “It’s especially good for the kids. Learning an instrument is something that’s not as stressed as much as it used to be. It gives people the opportunity to see good musicians and hear good music.”

Ellington – the nephew of famed bandleader Duke Ellington – has worked with artists such as Hampton Hawes, Dave Holland and Kevin Eubanks. He has worked on more than 30 albums, 400 single recordings and is in the select musical fraternity of Grammy winners.

He has performed for audiences that range from intimate gatherings in clubs to international dignitaries.

Ellington, however, is more than just a passerby. He has strong roots in the Black Belt community.

He is restoring a house in the area and will soon begin restoring another.

“I chose this area because, in my opinion, Selma and the Black Belt region have some of the best architecture in the country,” Ellington said. “My mother is from Atlanta. I’m an ‘AlaGa’ and proud to be one. I tell people that when I tour worldwide. I came here 12 years ago, and it’s where I plan to stay.”

His efforts go beyond music, though. Ellington said he has helped draw various businesses to the area and plans to bring in even more.

Not only does he intend to return to play at the Tally-Ho, he wants the event to grow.

“It’s very exciting,” Kelley said. “To me, he’s someone who is a big-name musician that can bring other musicians along.”

Ellington also said the venue is a great place to expose local musical talent.

As far as he is concerned, an enjoyable listening experience and an enjoyable dining experience go hand-in-hand.

“My concept is that it’s not the technique of the music that’s most important, but how you make people feel with the music,” Ellington said. “There’s good music, the food is exquisite – it’s a good environment. I want this to be an ongoing thing for the people of Selma.”

Anyone interested in the weekend’s events can call 334-872-1390 for more information or to make reservations.