National Artist Spotlight Presents: Brandon Mezzelo


See Brandon and many other artists at The Jazz Eureka Festival, Eureka Springs, AR September 9th-14th!

Brandon Mezzelo is a professional saxophonist and composer living and working in Springfield, Missouri. Brandon has also just recently joined the team at Palen Music as a saxophone/clarinet instructor.  He has been featured annually in the Springfield Jazz Festival and also performed on Ozarks Live! KOLR10.  Brandon lived abroad in Budapest, Hungary performing with the top tier of Hungary’s jazz elite for two years.  His band did a reissue of the classic jazz song “Moanin” and was featured on the ‘Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show BBC 6’ in London.  After returning  to Missouri in 2012 he has been a mainstay of the growing jazz scene in Springfield.  The ‘Triptet’ has also played in Kansas City and is plays a monthly show on First Fridays, at the Springfield Brewing Co.

brandon mezzelo 1 Brandon Mezzelo was born in Peoria, Ill. He began his career playing with jazz and blues bands at the age of 16. After a brief apprenticeship with local bands and the legendary drummer Buddy Miles in Chicago, he joined the U.S Army band in 1992. During the next eight years he would be the lead tenor player for 3 Army bands; Wurzburg, Bamberg, Weisbaden: Germany. He has traveled most of Western and Eastern Europe playing hundreds of concerts for large audiences. During this time he co-founded the Acid Jazz group “Superfro” with his long time friend and trumpet player Keith Moyer. This band had success in venues that many jazz bands were unable to perform in, dance clubs and festivals specifically. This group is still together today carried on in great tradition by the other three original members.  it was also in Germany that he built a life long friendship and musical partnership with well known German guitarist/producer Uwe Bossert (Stereolove, Reamon)

Brandon was one of the regular monthly hosts of the prestigous jam session at the Budapest Jazz Club, playing with the top tier of Hungary’s jazz scene, such artists include; Tzsumo Arpad, Balazs Elemer, Balazs Joseph, Boglarka Csemer, Emilio and Janos Egri.  He is also a special guest at the very popular ‘Random Trip’ music event held on Tuesday nights at the ‘Instant’ and on the ‘A38′, hosted by Delov Javor (Turbo).  This modern and ecletic series have gave Brandon a chance to play with some of Budapest’s hippest and up and coming artists, such as Julianna Fabian, Pely Barna and Greg Note.  In his own jazz groups Brandon led a quartet, trio and duo.  These formations include; Deszo Olah, Hars Viktor, Szalay Gabor and Kalmar Zoltan.

For more information about Brandon click the link below:



See them at the Jazz Eureka Festival, Eureka Springs, AR  Saturday September 13th performance starts at 8 pm!

“The Last Southern Gentlemen” is a landmark recording for Delfeayo Marsalis, pairing father Ellis Marsalis, Jr. with son on a collaborative album for the first time. Marsalis’ finest outing to date, the superb recording quality and meticulous production showcase his brilliant, classically trained tone as it swings effortlessly through standards and original compositions. The music is relaxed, thoughtful and provocative, acknowledging the love and respect of all people shared by Louis Armstrong and most early jazz entertainers.

Delfeayo Marsalis is one of the top trombonists, composers and producers in jazz today. Known for his “technical excellence, inventive mind and frequent touches of humor” (Leonard Feather, Los Angeles Times), he is “one of the best, most imaginative and musical of the trombonists of his generation.” (Philip Elwood, San Francisco Examiner.) Born in New Orleans on July 28, 1965, Marsalis was destined to a life in music. “I remember my dad (Ellis Marsalis) playing piano at the house, and me laying underneath the piano as a child, listening to him play. After briefly trying bass and drums, in sixth grade I gravitated towards the trombone, which was an extension of my personality. Early on my influences and inspirations included J.J. Johnson, Curtis Fuller, Al Grey, Tyree Glenn and Tommy Dorsey.” Marsalis attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts high school, was classically trained at the Eastern Music Festival and Tanglewood Institute, and majored in both performance and audio production at the Berklee College of Music.delfeayo marsalis

Marsalis is an exceptional trombonist who toured internationally with five renowned bandleaders. “Art Blakey taught me a lot about patience and how to construct a solo. My compositions are influenced by Abdullah Ibrahim’s harmonies. Slide Hampton inspired me with the relaxation that he displays in his trombone playing along with his command of the instrument. With Max Roach, I learned that I had to be on top of my game every moment. And Elvin Jones, who I worked with for seven or eight years, taught me about humanity, expressing myself through my instrument, and how to keep time without relying on other players.” During a tour with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, he was filmed as part of the Ken Burns documentary, Jazz and he was an integral part of Marsalis Family: A Jazz Celebration, a DVD that assembled all of the musical Marsalis’ for the first time and was featured on PBS.ellis marsalis 02

As the father of some of New Orleans’ most renown musicians, Ellis Marsalis started his musical journey in junior high school at the age of 11. Graduating from Dillard University with a degree in Music Education, Ellis went on to play with the Corps Four, a Marine Corps’ jazz quartet that appeared on CBS television and radio nationally. Ellis returned to New Orleans after completing his Corp duties, where he married Dolores Ferdinand. Together they raised six sons, Branford, Wynton, Ellis III, Delfeayo, Mboya and Jason. Moving to the country just outside New Orleans, Ellis became a school band director for a couple of years, but soon returned to The Big Easy to become a free-lance musician. He performed at all the top clubs, and soon got teaching jobs, including twelve years as an instructor at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. He eventually became the Chair of Jazz Studies at the University of New Orleans, retiring in 2001.

In January 2011, the Marsalis family (father Ellis and brothers Delfeayo, Branford, Wynton and Jason) earned the nation’s highest jazz honor – a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award.

2014 Jazz Eureka Festival in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Sept 9 to Sept 14

Jazz it up in Eureka Springs During Jazz Eureka

The annual Jazz Eureka festival will take place in Eureka Springs from Tuesday, Sept. 9 to Sunday, Sept. 14. The exciting week-long event will feature live music, delicious food and exciting attractions and events.fayetteville-jazz-collective

The Fayetteville Jazz Collective, an 18-piece big band, will perform on Friday, Sept. 12 in The Auditorium at 36 S. Main St..   The FJC, under the direction of Ben Harris will present new, original material.  The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $12.

The Last Southern Gentlemen Tour brings two members of America’s jazz dynasty to The Auditorium.  Jazz legend Ellis Marsalis, Jr., along with his son, Delfeayo Marsalis, will headline the festival, appearing at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13.  This tour marks the first time the father and son have performed and recorded together on a project. Ellis Marsalis is the premier, modernist jazz pianist of New Orleans and the patriarch of the Marsalis family, father of jazz musicians Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo, and Jason Marsalis.Delfeayo-and-Ellis-345x290

The tour’s album, “The Last Southern Gentlemen,” features standard and original compositions and is “relaxed, thoughtful and provocative, acknowledging the love and respect of all people shared by Louis Armstrong and most early jazz entertainers.”

Tickets to the show range from $25 to $47.50 and are on sale now for both Auditorium shows at

Free, outdoor concerts of jazz music will be presented in Basin Spring Park on Spring Street as well.  On Friday evening, trumpeter Rodney Block will perform a free concert beginning at 5 p.m. and lasting until 7 p.m.

On Saturday, there will be more music in the park all afternoon with Matt and Gus Smith, Brandon Mezzelo, Walter Savage and Northeast State University Jazz All Stars, featuring Tommy Poole, from noon until 6 p.m.tommy poole 1

New events have been added for Jazz Eureka 2014.   On Tuesday, Sept. 9, The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow, located at 515 Main St., will host The Speakeasy from 7-9 p.m.  Food and drinks will be served and admission is $10.   For reservations, call 479-253-7444 or email

Wednesday evening, a Great Gatsby-style lawn party with live jazz music, games, food, fire dancing and a performance by Intrigue Theater will take place at the gardens of the Crescent Hotel at 75 Prospect St. from 7-10 p.m. Admission is $10 and light hors d’oeuvres will be served. For more information, call 479-253-9766.

Saturday morning, the White Street Farmer’s Market, located in the Ermilio’s parking lot at 26 White St., will present “Jazz at the Market” with music from Bossa Screwnova and J Funk from 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Saturday evening, art galleries on Main and Spring streets will be open late for their monthly Second Saturday Gallery Stroll, with jazz music, art and refreshments from 6-10 p.m.

After the Marsalis concert on Saturday evening, DeVito’s at 5 Center St. is hosting the Jazz Martini After Party. Beginning at 9 p.m., there will be live jazz, food and drinks, including a special “Marsalis Martini.”

Sunday September 14th, the Crystal Dining Room at the Crescent Hotel will have a Sunday Jazz Brunch from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a Jazz trio and dancing from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.  Adults are $24.95, children ages 5-12 are $9.95 and 4 and under are free.

For further information, visit or call 479-253 7333.

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Sarah Maud Performs at The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

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As one of the most prominent of the young musicians currently impacting Tulsa’s jazz scene, vocalist Sarah Maud can be seen and heard around town in varied musical settings. One of the most engaging is Maud Squad, an inventive avant-garde trio that features Maud exploring the use of her voice as an instrument, in tandem with Jordan Hehl’s bass and Nicholas Foster’s drums.
That idea – along with Hehl and Foster – carries over into her Sunday Jazz Depot show, Sarah on Sarah: Celebrating Sarah Vaughan. As the title indicates, the concert will consist of numbers associated with the late jazz star, and Maud, who admits to liking “more obscure songs,” has selected at least one tune that will allow her to illustrate how a voice can also be an instrument.
The song is “Shulie a Bop,” the first track on Vaughan’s 1957 LP Swingin’ Easy. Co-written by Vaughan and her then-manager and husband, the trumpeter George Treadwell, “Shuile a Bop” is, Maud notes, “a really big scat number, which is something I’m not sure people expect me to do.”sarah vaughan swingin lp
That kind of frustrates me,” she adds, “because vocalists have the ability to be instrumentalists. But that’s one of those things people just don’t think about.”
Chances are, the Jazz Hall audience will be thinking a lot about it after they hear her perform the challenging tune, accompanied not only by Hehl and Foster, but also guitarist Josh Westbrook and saxophonist Mike Cameron.
“I’m really excited about that one,” she says. “It’s going to be fun.”
In fact, she’s excited about the whole concert, which gives her a chance to acknowledge one of her biggest musical heroes.
“When I started doing jazz, Sarah Vaughan was a huge influence on me,” she explains. “It’s just the thickness of her voice, that smooth, warm sound she had. Also, I realized through time that I basically stole her vibrato.” She laughs. “I stole her vibrato, but I took Ella’s timing on when to use it. I didn’t realize I was doing it. I guess when you listen to someone so much, it just happens.”sarah maud 2

Maud started listening to jazz as a kid, but she didn’t really begin sorting out the approaches and styles of the different vocalists until she was in high school – only a few years ago.
“That was really when I started paying attention,” she says, “because I realized that this was exactly what I wanted to do.”
As she began singing for audiences and putting together her own shows, she usually included a few songs associated with Vaughan, including Vaughan’s take on Ray Noble’s famous big-band tune “Cherokee” (from the 1955 disc Sarah Vaughan in the Land of Hi-Fi) and the Vaughan version of the classic “All of Me” (because, notes Maud, “that scat solo is just awesome”). Then came the opportunity to do a full-length Vaughan concert, thanks to Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame CEO Jason McIntosh.
“I was talking to Jason, and he was asking me what I would like to do for a show,” she remembers. “He first suggested Blossom Dearie. I thought, no, I didn’t really want to do that, because I’d done a Blossom Dearie show with Annie Ellicott [at the Jazz Depot in November 2012]. So I thought about who the huge influences have been in my life. I didn’t want to do Ella, because that’s done so much, so I asked him, `How long has it been since someone’s done a Sarah Vaughan show?’
“He said, `It probably hasn’t been done for a long time.’

“I thought that would be perfect. I’d love to do her music, and it would be a good opportunity to pay tribute to her – and to kind of thank her for letting me steal her stuff,” Maud concludes with another laugh.
Sarah Maud’s Sarah on Sarah: Celebrating Sarah Vaughan is set to begin at 5:00 p.m. Sunday, August 24, at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, located in downtown Tulsa’s Jazz Depot, 111 E. First St.
Tickets can be purchased at the Depot, from, or by calling Bettie Downing at 918-281-8609. General admission is $15, reserved table seating $20. Seniors and Jazz Hall members are admitted for $10, and high school and junior high students for $5.
The show is a part of the Jazz Hall’s 2014 Summer Concert Series.

The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame is a 501(c)(3) non-profit cultural and educational organization, with a mission to inspire creativity and improve the quality of life for all Oklahomans through the preservation, education, and performance of jazz, our uniquely American art form.

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The Jazz Jam at The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

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The Jazz Jam at The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame is one of the few open jam sessions in the area where jazz musicians and singers can show case their talents. The Jam has many benefits and one our favorites is that it’s very “open and welcoming”.

All artists  regardless of skill level, race, gender, or age, are truly embraced and blend together to create an atmosphere of musical openness and creativity. To truly understand how special this event is, you’ll just have to come experience it for yourself.

The Jam happens  every Tuesday night  starting at 5:30 pm and ending around 8:00 pm.

Here are some pictures from a recent Jam, courtesy of  Bill Gaddis Photography.

Dean Demerritt Performs at The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

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First of all, here’s the reason for the unusual name of the Sunday concert featuring veteran bassist Dean DeMerritt and his group of equally top-notch jazz players:

“I’m calling it Bass Face, because I met a great bass player out of Detroit, Ray McMurtry, in Atlanta one time, and he asked me to sit in,” explains DeMerritt. “I was kind of nervous, because he was a great musician. So after I got done playing with him, I asked him what he thought about my playing. And what he said to me was, `I’ve finally met someone who makes uglier faces than I dowhenI play.’” He laughs. “So, you know what? I’ll take that.”

Until about a month ago, DeMerritt was living and performing in the city where he metMcMurtry, having moved to Atlanta in 1996. If you’re a jazz fan, however, you can hardly miss noticing DeMerritt’s recent impact on the Tulsa scene, where he seems to be featured on some stage or other just about every night.

“It’s been great so far,” he says. “I’ve been really fortunate to hook up with some great musicians here in Tulsa. I’ve been playing with Mike Cameron, Scott McQuade, Frank Brown, and, gosh, Cindy Cain and Tim Shadley, just to mention a few.”

DeMerritt’s move to Tulsa is of the circle-closing variety.  The son of a Tulsa jazz pianist and graduate of the University of Tulsa’s music program, DeMerritt had barely finished taking his finals when he was invited to go on the road with the Texas-based, hard-touring western-swing andboogie-woogie outfit, Asleep at the Wheel. That was in 1979, and during his years in the group he would be joined by several other Tulsa musicians, including piano player Falkner Evans, saxophonist Pat “Taco” Ryan, and drummer Billy Estes.asleep at the wheel

“I played with Asleep at the Wheel four years or so, and then I came back to Tulsa briefly and played in a few bands,” DeMerritt recalls. “Then I moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth area and played gigs down there. I played with the Fort Worth Symphony for a little while.

“That was 30 years ago, so it’s been 30 years since I lived in Tulsa full-time. I have family here, so I’ve come back and hung out and played, but I haven’t actually lived here since 1984.”

The reason for his return to Tulsa, he adds, has to do with both aesthetics and finances.

“I’ve finally reached a point in my life where I have so few debts, my overhead is so low, that I can finally afford to be a jazz musician full time – and Tulsa’s inexpensive to live in. Extremely inexpensive. Food and shelter and fuel costs are very, very little. So finally, I don’t have to have a dreaded day job. I can play music, write music, breathe music all the time.”

It’s a good thing, too, because he’s getting the opportunity to do just that.

“I’ve lived in Tulsa a month now, and I’ve had more informal people, calling me at midnight and wanting to come over for a jam session, than I had in years in Atlanta,” DeMerritt says. “The scene in smaller and people can get to my house in 15 minutes rather than being an hour away in another part of town.

“The venues are really good in Tulsa, considering the size of the city, but the camaraderie, the people who are willing to come over and bring an instrument or sing until the sun comes up – that’s really nice.”20140710_224436

”It’s great to have him back in town,” says Jason McIntosh, Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame CEO. “We’re looking forward not just to Dean’s shows, but to the impact he has on music education, and our next generation of Jazz Hall inductees.”

For Bass Face, DeMerritt will be joined by saxophonist Cameron and guitarist Brown, along with Jeff Newsome on piano and Michael Bremo on drums. Together, he says, “We’ll do one original and some little-known jazz nuggets. Because these Tulsa musicians can play so many different kinds of things, we’ll do everything from gypsy jazz to Snarky Puppy, and we’ll do some stuff by Oklahoma composers like Sam Rivers, a great sax player, and Oscar Pettiford. We’re doing “The Plain But Simple Truth,” an Oscar Pettiford song he did with Lucky Thompson. We’ve also arranged a Beatles tune for jazz improvisation. So it’s going to be very eclectic.”

Dean DeMerritt’s Bass Face concert is set to begin at 5:00 p.m. Sunday, August 17, at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, located in downtown Tulsa’s Jazz Depot, 111 E. First Street.

Tickets can be purchased at the Depot, from, or by calling BettieDowning at 918-281-8609. General admission is $15, reserved table seating $20. Seniors and Jazz Hall members are admitted for $10, and high school and junior high students for $5.  Refreshments will be available for purchase.

The show is a part of the Jazz Hall’s 2014 Summer Concert Series.

The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame is a 501(c)(3) non-profit cultural and educational organization, with a mission to inspire creativity and improve the quality of life for all Oklahomansthrough the preservation, education, and performance of jazz, our uniquely American art form.

jazz hall at night


Angie Cockrell and Mike Leland Perform at Bluestone Steakhouse August 14, 2014


This lovely lady with her “buttery” voice  will be performing with the incredible Mike Leland at  Bluestone Steakhouse and Seafood Thursday August 14th  from 6-9 pm. They will perform many of your favorites as you dine on the the wonderful offerings of the Bluestone menu and relax in an elegant, intimate, atmosphere.

Are you a wine lover? Bluestone has a great selection to choose from as well as offering a wonderful wine “experience”.

Owner  Bill Tackett  says: Wine lovers will appreciate the Bluestone’s dedication to the best wine drinking experience. Wine is decanted in lead-free crystal  imported from Reidel, a 300-year old Austrian crystal maker. “The serious wine person ,” says Tackett, “can taste the difference between wine served in glass and wine served in crystal. It tastes different. It tastes better.” Wine seminars and wine dinners will be added to their calendar in the very near future.

Come out bring your friends and family and enjoy an evening of good music, good food, and good fun :-)

This show is a Tulsa Jazz Production.

Date/Time: August 14th, 2014

Location: 10032 S Sheridan Rd, Tulsa, OK 74133

Phone: 918-296-9889