Though the King of Soul, Sam Cooke, is long gone, singer Darrian Ford has a plan to keep his legacy alive. Darrian Ford presents “The Cooke Book: The Music of Sam Cooke” at the Cabaret at the Columbia Club July 8 and 9 in Indianapolis downtown. Tickets to this Indianapolis music event are $35, $45 and $55, plus a $12 food or beverage minimum per person. The show starts at 8:00 pm. Learn about the King of Soul through the eyes of Broadway star Darrian Ford.
Ford came up with the idea for a musical tribute to Sam Cooke when he was between jobs in New York. “As artists’ mature,” says Ford, “we begin to develop our own ideas about what art we think the world needs to see, as well as the temperance and audacity to fight to make it happen.” Ford certainly developed this characteristic, creating a musical cabaret tribute to Sam Cooke called “The Cooke Book.” In it, Ford brings Cooke’s soul, gospel, R&B and pop songs to life.
Cooke was a pioneer of soul music in the 1950s and 1960s. His work brought soul to popular culture and paved the way for legends like Aretha Franklin, Bobby Womack, Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. In addition, he helped to popularize singers like Otis Redding and James Brown. Between 1957 and 1964, Cooke had several major hits including “You Send Me,” “A Change is Gonna Come,” “Cupid,” “Chain Gang,” “Wonderful World” and “Bring it on Home to Me.” Many of these have been rerecorded by popular artists for new generations of soul lovers.
As one of the first modern black performers and composers, Cooke broke new ground in the business side of the music industry as well. He was among the first black entertainers to attend to the business side of his career. Not only did he start a record label, but he also created a publishing company. Because of the courageous stance he took in his personal career, Cooke soon became an active part of the American Civil Rights Movement.
Now Darrian Ford honors the legacy of the “man who invented soul.” Ford, who has performed in numerous Broadway shows including State Fair, The Who’s Tommy and Smokey Joe’s Cafe, sings his and your favorite Cooke songs. The Chicago Trubune said of the show: “Ford’s charisma and infectious high spirits infuse the music of the celebrated Soul Music pioneer affirming Sam Cooke’s legendary status. Ford’s scorching vocals. . . send you searching for your soul.”
In addition to touring the United States with his “The Cooke Book” show, Ford is raising funds for another project connected to Sam Cooke’s legend. He hopes to record the music of Sam Cooke with the backing of a big band. “I don’t have to tell you how music is made these days; sampled, programmed, engineered and auto-tuned,” says Ford. “But that just won’t do for this music. Lush arrangements and orchestrations with the heat of fiery brass sections and the grandeur of sweeping strings is what we think of accompanying legendary singers like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennet and Nat King Cole.”
Ford hopes to record Cooke’s music in this manner and style. To learn more about his project visit his Kickstarter website. Or purchase tickets to his Indianapolis performing arts event at the Cabaret at the Columbia Club for July 8 or 9. Located on Monument Circle, the Columbia Club offers a stunning view of the Solders’ and Sailors’ Monument. Before the show, grab a snack at any of these Indianapolis restaurants. Afterward, unwind with a cocktail from any of these Indianapolis bars.
Darrian Ford’s Cooke Book: The Music of Sam Cooke
July 8 and 9
Cabaret at the Columbia Club
121 Monument Circle
Indianapolis, IN 46204