Tulsa Jazz.Com’s Jazz Legend Spotlight: Marshall Royal

A Leader, Follower, Team Player and Friend…What a Musician, What a Career!

For close to 20 years — from the early ’50s until 1970 — the characteristic sax sound of Count Basie’s big band was topped by the clear, vibrating lead alto of Marshall Royal. Royal was, by all accounts, a competent swing-based soloist, but his strength was first and foremost as a team player. Royal’s style became the prototype for swinging a sax section; his slightly behind-the-beat phrasing, pronounced vibrato, and aggressive leadership influenced a subsequent generation of ensemble players.

Listen to Marshall Royal and Gordon Jenkins play Blues for Beverly:

Royal was born in Oklahoma, the elder brother of trumpeter Ernie Royal, and learned to play violin, guitar, as well as clarinet and sax while still a child. He first performed in public at the age of thirteen, starting his professional career with an eight-year stint with Les Hite’s band (1931–1939), during which time he also recorded with Art Tatum. He spent 1940 to 1942 with Lionel Hampton, until the war interrupted his career. After his military service (during which he played in a Navy band), Royal played with Eddie Heywood, then went on to work in studios in Los Angeles, California.

In 1951 Royal replaced Buddy DeFranco as clarinettist with Count Basie’s septet, which Basie had formed after circumstances forced him to dissolve his big band. When the Basie band was reformed the following year, Royal stayed on as lead alto saxophonist and as music director — not to leave until 1970. Though he was admired as an occasional soloist, his main rôle was as an important part of the reeds section, and as a leader who helped to give Basie’s sound its distinctively precise yet swinging character.

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Eric Himan Performs at Main St Tavern for “Wine and Jazz Night” September 16th


Eric Himan sings Jazz and many of his favorites at Main St Tavern

GRACEFULLY by Award-Winning nationally touring artist, Eric Himan, brings the songwriter/acoustic guitarist to a brand new place: the piano bench.

After releasing and selling his music (over 40,000 cds sold independently) through his record label, Thumbcrown Records, licensing original music to MTV, E!, and heavy rotation on satellite radio (SiriusXM’s The Coffeehouse), Eric delivers his latest, GRACEFULLY, his most ambitious album to date. Well known for writing and performing on the acoustic guitar, GRACEFULLY is the first full album written and recorded with Eric on piano. A horn section, a new element in his recordings, was brought in and arranged by saxophonist, Ryan Tedder, with Dave Johnson on trumpet. This album has one last feature: the album was fully funded through his listeners via the crowd-sourcing website, PledgeMusic. Eric was able to bring in some heavy hitters such as drummer, Brandon Holder (current drummer for Leon Russell) and bassist Matt Hayes (Jacob Fred Jazz Odessey, Wayne Newton) thanks to the support of his many generous listeners. This album was recorded in Eric’s hometown of Tulsa, OK by Rockwell Ripperger (of the platinum selling band, Stephen Speaks) and Brandon Holder, mixed by Ripperger, and mastered by the grammy-award winning Chris Bellman (Alanis Morissette, Ani DiFranco, Katy Perry) at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Los Angeles, CA.Gracefully eric h

A collection of songs gathered throughout the past three years, GRACEFULLY holds elements of pop, soul, rock, R&B, and even a bit of a latin feel with its entrance, RED HOT TEARS. WAITING FOR THUNDER inspired by the story of Malala Yousafzai, the 14 year old Pakistani student who was shot by the Taliban for promoting girls’ education, brings the rock genre into light on GRACEFULLY. Other highlights of the album are the gospel tinged, HOW CAN YOU SLEEP?, bringing back the horn section for a swinging tale of love on its way out, the pop-driven-perfect-for-a-sunday-morning, EVERYTHING TO YOU, and the title track, GRACEFULLY, a tribute to Eric’s grandmother, Grace, who raised Eric with his grandfather and father. Grace who passed away last Fall at the age of 97, led a full life of motherhood, a careers in photography, and at one time, a colorist for DC Comics in the 1930’s. Smiling from the cover art of this new record, Grace gives the stamp of approval for the grandson she encouraged artistically as Eric puts it ” to live life like you taught me, GRACEFULLY”.

More accolades for Eric Himan:

  • As heard on XM/Sirius The Coffee House (recorded live sessions for them, as well)
  • Recently added to HOLLISTER’s In-Store Playlist nationally
  • As seen in The Huffington Post, American Songwriter Magazine,Towleroad, Out Magazine, and The Advocate
  • Opening Tour dates this spring for Ani DiFranco and Leon Russell.
  • Opened for Patty Griffin, India.Arie, Leon Russell, Edwin McCain amongst others.
  • Featured at Songwriter’s Festivals around the country including the 30A Songwriter’s Festival alongside Ani DiFranco, Loudon Wainwright III, Matthew Sweet and more.
  • Endorsed by Fender Guitars
  • Winner of The Singer/Songwriter Awards (WeAreListening.Org)
  • Licensed songs to E!, MTV, Vh1, and The Discovery Channel.
  • *Best of the Best-Okahoma Magazine three years in a row
  • *Winner-Artist of the Year/Best Male Vocalist-Urban Tulsa Weekly’s Music Awards

Eric’s Latest Album:

playingcards-600x600 eric h

This show is a TulsaJazz.Com Production

Additional Show Information:

Date/Time: Wednesday September 16th, 2015 6 pm-9 pm

Location: 200 S. Main St Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Phone: 912-872-1414

Eric’s Website: http://www.erichiman.com/

Eric’s Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/EricHimanMusic

Eric’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/RealEric_Himan

Main Street Tavern: Main Street Tavern on Facebook

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Music Legend Spotlight: Roy Milton

Roy Milton small

Roy Milton (July 31, 1907 – September 18, 1983) was an American singer, drummer and bandleader.

As in-the-pocket drummer of his own jump blues combo, the Solid Senders, Roy Milton was in a perfect position to drive his outfit just as hard or soft as he so desired. With his stellar sense of swing, Milton did just that; his steady backbeat on his 1946 single for Art Rupe’s fledgling Juke Box imprint, “R.M. Blues,” helped steer it to the uppermost reaches of the R&B charts (his assured vocal didn’t hurt either).

roy milton 2

Milton spent his early years on an Indian reservation in Oklahoma (his maternal grandmother was a Native American) before moving to Tulsa. He sang with Ernie Fields’s territory band during the late ’20s and began doubling on drums when the band’s regular trapsman got arrested one fateful evening. In the mood to leave Fields in 1933, Milton wandered west to Los Angeles and formed the Solid Senders. 1945 was a big year for him — along with signing with Juke Box (soon to be renamed Specialty), the band filmed three soundies with singer June Richmond.

Additional information on Roy Milton:
Roy Milton – The Real Solid Sender
Roy Milton: Wikipedia Bio

Luisza Cornelius In Concert At The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame


Luisza Cornelius Debuts Own Show Sunday at the Jazz Depot

Vocalist Luisza Cornelius may be a newcomer to the Jazz Depot stage – and to the rest of the Tulsa jazz scene as well – but anyone who hears her sing will realize immediately that she’s hardly a rookie. In fact, as recently as last year, she was a featured performer in a jazz show at the House of Blues on L.A.’s Sunset Strip.

Later in 2012, however, she returned to the town of her birth, after following her jazz dreams to the West Coast, Paris, and back to California. Now, she’s exploring the Tulsa scene for opportunities to establish herself as an artist in her hometown.

For that, she couldn’t have found a better person that the veteran pianist and vocalist, Joe Wilkinson, whom she met, more or less by accident, not long after coming home for the holidays.

“I’d just gotten here, and I thought, `You know, I’d really love to hear some jazz during this Christmas time. I just don’t know where to go to hear it,'” she remembers. “So I looked in the paper, and I saw that there was going to be jazz at this church. I was kind of shocked that there was going to be jazz at a church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but my brother and I went, and that’s how I met Joe. I told him I sang, and he told me about the jam sessions [at the Jazz Depot].”Luisza_Corneilius-1

The event she attended was Jazz to the World, a holiday concert organized by Wilkinson at the First Christian Church in downtown Tulsa. A performer since his World War II days, Wilkinson has had untold numbers of people come up to him and introduce themselves as singers, so he can be forgiven for being skeptical.

But then he heard her sing.

“He said, `It seems like you’ve done this before,'” Cornelius recalls with a laugh. “And I said, `Yes, I have.'”

She did not do it while she was growing up in Tulsa, however, although she did participate in school music programs.

“That was it, because my dad wouldn’t allow me to do anything else,” she explains with another laugh. “It was just school and church.”

Then, in the 1980s, she took off for California, where she found work for the first time in clubs and similar venues.

“I’ve sung with people who are famous now, like Billy Childs, the jazz artist,” she says. “He used to back me up at a club called the Comeback Café, in California. I’ve sung at all the various clubs: the Roosevelt Hotel, the Roxy, the Troubadour. From there I went to France, because I’d heard how beautiful it was, and I sang at famous hotels there as well. That was in the ’90s.”

billy childs

After another stint on the West Coast, Cornelius came back to Tulsa. And now, with the help of Wilkinson and her own substantial talent, she’s worked her way up from the jam sessions to featured spots in Jazz Depot shows, notably the most recent Memorial Day concert, which Wilkinson produced. Last month, she shared a bill with vocalist Darell Christopher. Sunday, she’s got one for herself.

“Luisza is quickly becoming a crowd favorite here at the Jazz Depot,” says Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame CEO Jason McIntosh. “And she’s a vocalist musicians love to play music with.”

“I’ll do jazz, but I’m going to mix a little R&B in there as well,” she says of her show. “People should expect the unexpected. Sometimes I’m not even sure what’s happening – it’s in the moment, and it is what it is. That’s what beautiful music is about: improvisation. You just improvise, and beautiful things usually come out.”

She’ll be working with a band Sunday, she adds, but there’ll also be a guest appearance by the man who helped her get her foot in the door in Tulsa.

“I’m going to have Joe come up and do a guest number with me, and tell the people how I came to perform there, and how I got there because of him,” she says. “He’s just been so helpful, pointing me in the direction of different things. He’s a kind-hearted person, and he and his wife have been very good to me. I appreciate that.”

Luisza Cornelius is set to begin at 5:00 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, 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 www.myticketoffice.com, 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 2013 Autumn 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 preservation, education, and performance of jazz, our uniquely American art form.               

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 preservation, education, and performance of jazz, our uniquely American art form.


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