Though she’s never before performed in Spokane, jazz singer/trombonist Aubrey Logan, a Snohomish, Washington native, visited the city a handful of times as a young girl.
What does she remember from her time in town? Mary Kay and marmots.
The jazz singer and trombonist would visit Spokane when her mother participated in Mary Kay cosmetics functions and remembers being obsessed with the marmots she saw around town.
Logan will add another Spokane memory to that list when she performs with the Spokane Symphony, with conductor Morihiko Nakahara at the helm, as part of Pops 6 at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox on Saturday.
The daughter of a choir director mother and band director father, Logan said it was impossible for her to avoid music growing up.
She started emulating the eclectic group of artists she heard, everything from Stevie Wonder and Céline Dion to Frank Sinatra, James Taylor and Dolly Parton, and eventually began performing at church and school and in musical theater productions at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre and the Village Theatres in Issaquah and Everett.
She began playing the trombone in middle school, and she’s sung the national anthem at Mariners games nearly 20 times, beginning when she was 9 years old.
“I was incredibly active as much as I could possibly be from as early as I can remember,” Logan said from her home in Los Angeles. “(My parents) were so excited for me to get my driver’s license.”
Logan won the vocal competition at the 2009 Montreux Jazz Festival, and since graduating from Berklee College of Music in 2010, she has continued to be “incredibly active,” performing with the likes of Pharrell Williams, Sheila E, Quincy Jones, Smokey Robinson, Burt Bacharach and Josh Groban.
She began performing with Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox in 2015 and has since put a jazz-y touch on the group’s covers of Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood,” Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Give It Away,” Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” and more.
The YouTube sensations, currently boasting more than 3.3 million subscribers, performed at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox in November 2016. Logan wasn’t part of that tour, though she has performed with Postmodern Jukebox before and appears on the group’s live album “The New Classics.”
Logan finds hip-hop and pop songs in particular lend themselves well to jazz or swing makeovers.
She leaves the rhythm mostly as is but changes the feel to something jazzier. She then reharmonizes the song, so it’s more complex.
“Even though there is a formula to it that I’ve accidentally made, I still try to make sure it’s emotionally compelling and entertaining and has a showmanship factor to it,” Logan said.
In 2017, Logan placed first in the jazz category of the U.S.A. Songwriting Competition, and third place overall, with “Pity Party,” which she wrote with Lisa Cole Bass.
She released her debut album, “Impossible,” a mix of original songs and covers, in September.
Despite her years of performing, Pops 6 is only Logan’s third time performing with a symphony, though she said there was never a question in her mind that it would eventually become part of her career.
“It’s always been part of the vision,” she said. “I don’t think that I’ve ever not wanted to sing with symphonies. It’s so important to me to do it or so part of who I am that it’s like ‘Duh! Of course these songs need to be written with symphony. Of course these should be presented with symphony.’ ”
Symphonic arranger Joshua Washington arranged string quartet versions of a few of Logan’s songs about four years ago and has since expanded those arrangements for full orchestra.
Washington’s arrangements were “so heartfelt and emotionally real and obviously professional,” Logan said. “I just lost it when I heard what he had done. It took me to another place.”
Logan said audience members can expect to hear songs from “Impossible” and fan favorites, plus a few surprises, including a new song or two from her upcoming album, at Pops 6.
Though she’s still new to the symphony stage, Logan has no plans to stifle the energy of her regular shows, jokingly warning that no one is safe from her playful teasing.
“The symphony might get a run for their money,” she said. “They might get picked on just as much as the audience but it’s all in good fun. It’s all tongue-in-cheek.”
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