Rita Coolidge to perform with Allen Toussaint at Telluride Jazz Celebration

Rita Coolidge to perform with Allen Toussaint at Telluride Jazz Celebration

[click “Play” to hear Rita Coolidge speaking with Susan]


Rita_piano_colorized2 Just like Telluride Bluegrass regular, superstar Emmylou Harris, Rita Coolidge is ageless.

The last time Rita Coolidge showed her face in Telluride was in 2001. The legendary performer was, as always, larger than life – but on the silver screen. The film, “Christmas in the Clouds,” which screened at Mountainfilm in Telluride that year, is a classic comedy of mistaken identity and romance set during the holiday season at a ski resort owned and operated by a Native American nation. “Christmas in the Clouds” featured Rita, a Cherokee by birth, in the role of the leading lady’s mother. It also showcased her music.

This time, two-time Grammy winner Rita Coolidge returns to Telluride in person, performing for the first time ever with another iconic entertainer, Allen Toussaint , at the 35th annual Telluride Jazz Celebration, August 5 – August 7.

Rita Coolidge began her recording career as a back-up vocalist in Memphis in the 1960s. After a move to L.A., she became the first-call background singer for the likes of Ray Charles, Jackie Wilson and The Temptations. Once she joined Delaney and Bonnie’s band, however, Rita stepped into the limelight, beginning a career in rock ‘n roll that would lead to stardom and a friendship with guitarist Eric Clapton.

In the summer of 1969, Rita joined Joe Cocker and Leon Russell’s “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” tour, one of the seminal musical events of that era. On that road trip extraordinaire, Russell dubbed Rita “Delta Lady” and wrote a song of the same name in her honor. Others tributes followed:  two more by Russell, “A Song for You” and “Hummingbird” and then “Cherokee,” “The Raven,” and “Sugar Babe” by Stephen Stills .

Shortly after the Mad Dogs tour ended, Rita signed a solo recording deal with A&M Records, ultimately recording 15 albums spanning two decades with the label and charting several hit songs, among them “(Your Love Has Taken Me) Higher & Higher,” “Superstar,” “We’re All Alone,” “The Way You Do The Things You Do.”

During the 1970s Rita married songwriter and film star Kris Kristofferson, together the duo won two Grammy Awards ®.

Today, Rita Coolidge and AIX Records are set to release a monumental audio/video recording, a 14-song set of Memphis-tinged sounds that have influenced her life and career.

To learn more about Rita Coolidge and her storied life, click the “play” button and listen to her interview.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.