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The Cooke Book: Darrian Ford And The Music Of Sam Cooke

January 18, 2023

Darrian Ford, a Chicago native began his professional theater career at age 13 in Oscar Brown Jr.'s THE GREAT NITTY GRITTY. At 15, the dance prodigy joined The Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theater and at 19 moved to New York City to dance in the companies of Alvin Ailey and Donald Byrd/The Group. He made his Broadway debut as Charlie in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s STATE FAIR, about which the New York Times said “...note the irrepressibly comic Darrian Ford.”

He also appeared in The Who’s TOMMY (B’way/First National), SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE (First National), for which he won The Black Theater Alliance Award for Best Actor in a Musical and the First National tour of THE COLOR PURPLE. He finally re-debuted in his first Chicago Production since 1998. Of the Court Theater's 2017 production of FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE, The Chicago Tribune said "Little Moe (Ford) lends High Tenor zest to these songs... the long-time dancer has lost nothing to the years." Get a load of that! Darrian also co-starred opposite Halle Berry in HBO’s INTRODUCING DOROTHY DANDRIDGE as Fayard Nicholas of the legendary Nicholas Brothers and recurred on Disney's THAT'S SO RAVEN!

In addition to a dozen appearances on daytime talk shows as musical guest, he has been featured on several of his Broadway colleagues’ albums, original workshop recordings and concept albums. Since its 2006 debut in New York City, Darrian continues to tour and perform his original concept concert, THE COOKE BOOK - The Music of Sam Cooke, around the country. The reviews everywhere have been stellar and along the way he's initiating a whole new generation of Sam Cooke fans. As a performing Singer/Songwriter, you can catch him in top Jazz Venues, Performing Arts Centers, Cabarets and Clubs around the country with the most refreshing, exciting and new voice in Jazz. Prior to the release of his latest album, he released two EPs, EVERYTHING and HEAVY DEMONSTRATION. In February of 2018, he gratefully released his first full-length album of original vocal Jazz, NEW STANDARDS. It debuted at #1 on the NACC Jazz Album Debut chart, #9 on the ROOTS Chart and #11 on the VibeUK Top 20 Jazz Albums of 2018. You will hear influences from his theatrical background and some of his music heroes like Al Jarreau, Mel Torme', Nancy Wilson and Tony Bennett.

On the anniversary of the great singer’s birth, The City of Aventura presents The Cooke Book: The Music of Sam Cooke, a celebration of his innovative (but too brief) career on Sunday, January 22nd, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Cooke blazed a trail for Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, Rod Stewart, Smokey Robinson and many other giants of soul music. The concert delivers songs from the legendary Singer/Songwriter that seamlessly highlight Cooke's musical journey from gospel golden boy to his transition into an international pop sensation as well as his remarkable Jazz and Blues interpretations from his triumphant Copacabana appearance. A Chicago son, like Cooke himself, Darrian Ford performs these timeless and classic melodies with expanded and re-invigorated arrangements that hold stylistically true to the era, while his "... scorching vocals send you searching for your soul," according to The Chicago Tribune.

Ticketmaster is the only official ticketing service of the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center. You can purchase tickets online at: By phone at: (877) 311-7469. Or: (954) 462-0222. Or in person at the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center box office Wednesday through Saturday from 12:00 p.m. Noon to 5:00 p.m. and 90 minutes prior to each performance. For Group Sales, please call: (954) 660-6307.

Free parking is available in the lots adjacent to the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center in front of the Aventura Community Recreation Center and the Aventura City of Excellence School.

Valet service is available for most performances at $20 per vehicle. Valet parking is located at the main entrance of the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center in the circular drive. There is a convenient drop-off area in front of the building.

The Aventura Arts & Cultural Center is located at: 3385 Northeast 188th Street, Aventura, Florida 33180.

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