An acoustic jazz ensemble that has performed at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, and for Hollywood actress Julia Roberts at her surprise 35th birthday party, will kick off the second season of the Mooresville Concerts series on Saturday.
But forget the major venues, the famous people. The Noel Freidline Quintet is most at home in a smaller, more intimate setting like Joe V. Knox Auditorium in the Charles Mack Citizen Center, the band's leader and namesake said in an interview last week.
“We've had our opportunities to play at large venues, but I'd much rather be in an atmosphere where the audience is close,” Noel Freidline said.
Freidline is a composer, arranger, pianist and vocalist who has led the ensemble since 1992. He is a full-time lecturer in music at UNCC, directing vocal and instrumental jazz ensembles and teaching such varied subjects as music business and the history of rock music.
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He has written and recorded music for ESPN, ABC and Walt Disney Co., with his most recent work featured on Monday Night Football, at the NBA All-Star Game and almost weekly on SportsCenter.
The band's repertoire is an eclectic mix of old and new, from Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra standards to adaptations of Simon and Garfunkle and Lennon and McCartney.
The band spent three years in Las Vegas performing as a house group at the Bellagio, where it was involved in the shooting of the remake of “Ocean's 11.” The group also can be seen in the Robert Redford film, “The Legend of Bagger Vance.”
While he and his band have performed all over the country, Freidline said, he's happy to now call the Charlotte area his home. It's a great place for his family of four, he said.