Ladies Demand More Respect

The Palace Theatre shows respect to women in music

When Aretha Franklin released her rendition of Otis Redding’s “Respect” in 1967, she transformed the track from a tired man’s plea for his lady’s attention into an anthem for feminism that would find its way into Rolling Stone magazine’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”

That heritage shines through in the lineup for the second annual “Respect: Central New York Celebrates Women in Music” concert, taking place Friday, Nov. 13, 7 p.m., at Eastwood’s Palace Theatre. Local female musicians, plus a few men as “special guests” on the roster, will pay homage to the women who inspired their musical careers.

Last year’s concert was the brainchild of Joanna Jewett, director of marketing, communications and public relations at the Centers for St. Camillus health and rehabilitation center. Jewett is a musician in her own right, having performed in Central New York for more than 25 years.

“There’s something really magical about blending voices and spirits together in a way that’s all about the music and all about supporting each other,” said Jewett. “It’s just been a really, really neat thing to see and experience.”

Jewett’s current outfits include the acoustic trio The Mix Tapes and the group Funkadelphia, which will serve as the house band at Respect. She spoke about a sisterhood that emerged after last year’s event, leading to new collaborations and, in some cases, new friendships.

That sisterhood came to the forefront last January when Respect alumna Donna Colton was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma, a glandular cancer manifesting in malignant tumors throughout her body. In Colton’s case, it was a cancer of the sweat gland. After a months-long parade of MRIs, sonograms, surgeons and oncologists, Colton broke the news on Facebook with a GoFundMe page, prompting Jewett to team up with fellow musician Julie Briggs to organize a benefit concert, aptly named Donnapalooza.

Colton underwent radiation therapy, specifically tomotherapy, at the SUNY Upstate Medical University’s cancer center. She lost her hair in the process and the treatment weakened her immune system, but the gratitude and positivity in her demeanor disguise the struggle of the past year.

“I’m excited to have made it through another year,” said Colton, who spoke enthusiastically about performing at Friday’s concert. “I totally expect it to be a sellout crowd, because everybody that saw it (last year) just talked to everybody else and said, ‘Oh, you’ve got to go. You’ve got to see this!’”

Joanne Perry, Ashley Cox and Robyn Stockdale were three of 18 women who performed at last year’s concert, covering everyone from Billie Holiday and Etta James to Dolly Parton and Alanis Morissette — and Aretha, of course. This year, guests will hear the music of Tori Amos, the Pointer Sisters, Adele and a slew of Motown, jazz and rhythm’n’blues tunes from the 1940s through the 2000s. Perry, Cox and Stockdale will return, joined by Anna Vogel, Maureen Henesey, Lisa Romano, Leila Dean, Miss E, Marcia Hagan, Carolyn Kelly, Terry Kohut, Nancy Kelly, Letizia, Sue Royal, Kim Monroe, Moe Harrington, Kate Kolb, Sarah Hiltbrand, Kat Dooley-Wandersee and the Syracuse New Times’ own Jessica Novak.

Proceeds from the concert will be used to replace the two main elevators at St. Camillus, which Jewett said are vital in caring for their mostly geriatric patients. Last year, Respect brought in more than $8,100 for the healthcare facility, a number that Jewett hopes will only increase.

Colton still sees her doctors for follow-up treatments, but she hasn’t allowed the cancer to stop her music. “I’m just glad to be involved in it again,” she said. “I’m looking forward to the show, for sure.”

“Respect: Central New York Celebrates Women in Music” takes place Friday, Nov. 13, 7 p.m., at the Palace Theatre, 2384 James St. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. For details, call 463-9240 or visit

Jaco Doc on Tap

The new documentary Jaco, which chronicles the legacy of the late jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius, will receive its Northeastern premiere on Friday, Nov. 27, 8 p.m., at Eastwood’s Palace Theatre, 2384 James St. The screening is a communitywide collaboration with the Syracuse M&T Jazz Fest, the Syracuse International Film Festival, the Palace and Armory Square’s Sound Garden music outlet.

Jaco executive producer Robert Trujillo, who also plays bass with longtime rock outfit Metallica, will make a 2 p.m. in-store appearance at Sound Garden during its National Record Store Day festivities. (Vinyl will be celebrated, including LPs of the Jaco soundtrack, as well as picture discs, seven-inch singles and more.) Trujillo will sign DVD and BluRay copies of Jaco, which also goes on sale that day, with a ticket giveaway for the screening taking place. Trujillo will also introduce that evening’s showing at the Palace. For details, visit

“Jaco was the world’s greatest bass player. Period,” said Syracuse Jazz Fest founder Frank Malfitano. “He was to the bass what Jimi Hendrix was to the guitar. Revolutionary. Groundbreaking. Never equaled. A major influence on everyone from Sting to Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and everyone who ever picked up a bass. Jaco was a game changer. We dedicated Syracuse Jazz Fest 25 to him, and later that same year (2007) I had the great honor of emceeing a major tribute to him at the Broward Center in his hometown of Fort Lauderdale. It was a special evening that took place on the 20th anniversary of his sad and tragic passing and it was the single greatest honor of my career in the national music industry.

“But seeing him on stage 20 times topped all of that. He was simply the greatest. For me, and for many, his recordings with Joni Mitchell, Pat Metheny and Weather Report, in addition to his solo albums and big band projects, made him the most important musician of the last half of the 20th century. I know some of the jazzers think they own him, but Jaco was a rock star!”

Header photo: Carolyn Kelly. Michael Davis photo.
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