To celebrate the paperback release of James Gavin’s acclaimed biography “Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne” (one of Oprah’s Top 25 Summer Reads of 2009) and to launch the new Verve CD “Lena Horne Sings: The M-G-M Singles Collection,” the downtown Camden Opera House will host a unusual new concert presentation Sunday, April 25 at 4 p.m., sponsored by Camden Harbour Inn.

“Stormy Weather: The Life and Music of Lena Horne” combines live performances and Gavin’s narration to salute the musical legacy of Hollywood’s first African-American goddess, a true living legend. The show unites two eminent jazz singers whom Horne inspired.

Rebecca Parris, New England’s First Lady of Jazz, has won nine Boston Music Awards; her earthy voice and interpretive depth made her a favorite of Stan Getz, Carmen McRae and Sarah Vaughan. She shared a CD, “It’s Another Day,” and a public television special with vibraphonist Gary Burton.

Paula West’s dusky contralto and her engagements at Manhattan’s Algonquin Hotel have brought her annual raves in the New York Times. West has toured the world and appeared onscreen in “Bicentennial Man” (with Robin Williams) and “Teknolust” (with Tilda Swinton).

Apart from years of work with West and Parris, Grammy-nominated musical director/pianist George Mesterhazy accompanied Shirley Horn in the last phase of her career. Mesterhazy has written stunning new arrangements of a dozen Horne trademarks including “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Yesterday When I Was Young,” “Bein’ Green” and “Stormy Weather.”

Gavin’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, Vanity Fair, and the Huffington Post; his books include “Deep in a Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker.” “Stormy Weather ” has been hailed a definitive. Gavin co-produced Verve’s new Horne CD, the first complete reissue of her historic work on the MGM label in the late 1940s during her reign at the “dream Factory” of movie musicals.

Horne went on to become a fabled nightclub seductress and civil-rights icon; in 1981, she opened the biggest one-woman smash in Broadway history, “Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music.” Now 92 and in reclusion for years, Horne remains a towering role model. Janet Jackson, Halle Berry and Alicia Keys are only three of the younger stars who revere her.

Tickets are $25 or $22.50; $22 for senior citizens/younger than 12. Advance tickets may be purchased online at and at the Camden Town Office weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to