Take Love Easy: A Tribute to Ella and Joe

Sam Miltich & Charmin Michelle (Photo credit: John Connelley)

Sam Miltich & Charmin Michelle (Photo credit: John Connelley)

Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass, Duets in Hannover, 1975

Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass, Duets in Hannover, 1975

Short Description: Charmin Michelle and Sam Miltich turn to the iconic duo of Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass, who performed many duets throughout the 1970s. Take Love Easy: A Tribute to Ella and Joe includes many covers of Fitzgerald and Pass, as well as original music that captures the spirit of a bygone era.  

Full Description:  In November of 2014 Charmin and Sam were asked to perform as a duo for the fundraising cabaret event held by the MacRostie Art Center in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. They had never performed a formal duo act together, but as soon as the first chords were played and melody sung, there was a mutual recognition of the musical chemistry that was created between two of them when asked to both feel complete musical responsibility and vulnerability that occurs when playing in a duo format. The absence of a traditional rhythm section demands complete command of harmonic and rhythmic structures of songs while also allowing Sam the freedom to depart from the prescribed task of improvised solo lead lines, or accompaniment and allowing him the ability to weave a tapestry of melody, harmony, rhythm, and improvisation. This provides the backdrop to Charmin's complete command, dedication, and integrity of the songs melody. Charmin's masterful interpretation of melody, her incredibly innate sense of phrasing, driving, and swinging rhythmic attack, combined with perfect intonation, and unending, lush and beautiful tone is the perfect melding of artistic skill, aesthetic, and integrity to the genre of jazz, to which both Charmin and Sam have dedicated their lives.

When trying to formulate a program of how to highlight these shared aesthetics, and skill, Charmin and Sam were both drawn to and inspired by the true masters who have come before them, Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass. When confronted with musical questions or looking for creative inspiration they have found all of these things in the recordings made on the Pablo label, and produced by Norman Granz in the 1970's. While many of the songs in their repertoire were taken from these original recordings, Sam and Charmin don't want to simply create a musical review, but rather adopt the true nature, feel, and inspiration that have been left to us by the greats, Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass. Not only will they play songs from this repertoire, but also incorporate other standards into a performance giving credence to their musical heroes, but also bringing their own voice to the table.

The Band


Charmin Michelle lives in Minneapolis, MN. She was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and since moving to the Land of 10,000 Lakes while still a child she calls it home. Charmin has travelled across Europe playing in jazz festivals, and the Star Tribune has described her style as having, "taste and understatement. Swing and savoir-faire. Grace and grooves. Intimacy and panach."  Learn more about Charmin and listen to her music on her website CharmSongs.com

Sam Miltich is a jazz guitarist born and raised in the woods of northern Minnesota. He is a musician by profession and plays regularly in the Upper Midwest as a soloist and with his bands the Sam Miltich Trio and the Sam Miltich Quartet. In addition to gypsy swing and traditional jazz his musical interests include Brazilian choro, French musette, Eastern European tamburitza, and other forms of traditional folk music. Learn more about Sam's and listen to his music on his website, sammiltichmusic.com

Charmin and Sam have been collaborating for the last fourteen years, performing through a variety of settings and styles, ranging from a classic five-piece jazz combo of vocals, electric guitar, saxophone, upright bass and drums, to a hot club jazz ensemble of violin, upright bass, and two acoustic guitars.

Their first duet performance was in 2014, and as soon as the first chords were played and melody sung, they were both struck by a newfound sonic chemistry. They have since continued performing duets, a rich style of making music that they appreciate for requiring an intimate sense of mutual responsibility and vulnerability. 

Past Performances