Sheridan Road Christmas Concert at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame



According to their director, Dr. Barry Epperley, members of the three-man, three-woman vocal-jazz group Sheridan Road went through “at least 100 different pieces” of Christmas music before selecting the material they wanted to perform in their Sunday Jazz Depot concert. And what they came up with, notes Epperley with a chuckle, was “some music that’s really sweet, some really hot jazz, and some that’s just completely goofy.”

It’s hard to know which of those categories applies to the group’s planned opening number. Epperley first encountered it during his days of working with the Walt Disney Company at Disneyland in the early 1970s, when he produced a musical program with the veteran actor and musical performer Elsa Lanchester.

“It’s a street cry from London; she had heard a street vendor selling lavender, and for her, it was a Christmas thing,” he recalls. “So I adapted that to the show we were doing, and she sang it, sort of. It was called `Won’t You Buy My Sweet Blooming Lavender.’

“I remembered it, and we found it and rewrote it for our group. So [Sheridan Road member] Steve Raiford is going to start the evening going through the audience singing `Won’t You Buy My Sweet Blooming Lavender.’”

And while that sounds pretty off-trail for a Christmas concert, it’s far from the only unusual song on the bill.

“We’re doing a little set of Alfred Burt carols,” he explains. “Alfred Burt’s father was a minister in the Midwest, and every year he and his church organist, Wilha Huston, would write a Christmas carol, put it on a card, and mail it to the people on their Christmas list. In 1942, Alfred started writing the words. You may not know the titles, but you’ll hear them playing when you walk through a mall: `We’ll Dress the House,’ `Caroling, Caroling,’ ‘`Some Children See Him’ – which is probably his most popular. They’re all straight-ahead and pretty sweet.

“From there,” he adds, “we’ll go to a very raucous and jazz-filled `Jingle Bells,’ and it kind of changes everything.”549366c5af0de.image

The group plans to end the first half of the show with a musical arrangement of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” originally performed by the big-band-era act Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians and arranged by Harry Simeone, who would later become famous for another Christmas evergreen, “The Little Drummer Boy.”

“When I was a little kid,” Epperley recalls, “my father was the choir director at Stillwater High School, and one of the early things I remember with him is `Twas the Night Before Christmas.’ When my family gets together for the holidays, we always sing, and we always close with that. It tells the story humorously and with a good deal of fun.”

Other unusual holiday songs that Depot patrons can expect Sunday include one from PeterSchickele, aka P. D. Q. Bach, called “Throw the Yule Long on Uncle John”; “Hard Candy Christmas,” a Dolly Parton composition from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; and the Harry Connick Jr. arrangement of “(It Must’ve Been Ol‘) Santa Claus.”

Epperley himself created a kind of “Carol of the Bells” medley for the show.

“We have the old Peter Wilhousky arrangement, which he brought over from Russia. That’s the one everybody knows,” he says. “Then I happened on to the Jay Rouse arrangement, which is real swingy and just builds toward a screaming end. I put them together, adjusted the keys, and we just elided them. It’s really, really fun to sing.”

Scheduled to join Epperley on stage for all the fun are the other members of Sheridan Road, minus one.

“Because of some previous commitments and other things in her world, Jenn Green is not going to be with us,” he says. “Brenda Bussman, whom I’ve worked with for a long time, is filling in, and she’s got a really sweet kind of midrange soprano. I did a gospel octet over at Christ United Methodist Church for probably 10 years, and she was one of my folks there, so I know her capabilities. She’s got the second soprano role, and I’ve moved Marla [Patterson] up to first.”

In addition to Patterson, Bussman, Raiford, and Epperley, the group includes Brian and Jennifer Wilson (who are not related). The band is the same trio that played with the group at its October Jazz Depot show: pianist Rob Muraoka, bassist Jim Loftin, and drummer George Toumayan.

“We all like each other,” Epperley says. “You can tell it on stage.”

“Sheridan Road is a relatively new act, and this is their first Christmas show,” says Jason McIntosh, Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame CEO. “But I expect it to be an annual concert, and to quickly become a sure tradition for many families.”

The Sheridan Road Christmas Concert is set to begin at 5:00 p.m. Sunday, December 21, 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 918.928.JAZZ. 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 2014-5 Winter 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.

The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame



TulsaJazz.Com Presents Cynthia Simmons and Randy Wimer at The Hutch Pantry Bistro and Bar

the hutch grand opening

The Hutch Pantry Bistro and Bar is so very excited to announce their Grand Opening this Monday, September 22nd, 2014. Come out for a thrilling evening of food, drink, and music in the newest upscale restaurant to hit the Broken Arrow/Tulsa area.

LIVE MUSIC: Cynthia Simmons and Randy Wimer from Tulsa Jazz.Com will be jazzin’ it up from 7pm – 9pm with all your jazz favorites from the past and present.

Their ice bar is fully stocked and ready to wine & dine you, and sports fans can catch the Monday Night Football game as well.

The doors open at 4pm, reservations are available until 9pm, and they will be open until 10pm. Reservations are limited to 10 per hour, and will be taken starting at 11am Monday morning. Please reserve your reservation until then. Call 918-913-3800 for details.

This is a Tulsa Jazz.Com Production.

The Hutch Pantry Bistro and Bar

Address: 3302 W Kenosha St, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma 74012

Phone: 918-913-3800



Koan Collective Perform at The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame



On its surface, the content of Saturday’s Koan Collective performance sounds pretty familiar to those who enjoy live jazz: several specially arranged standards, spiced up with original tunes. A little deeper digging, however, reveals some intriguing, even audacious, content that audiences aren’t likely to get anywhere else — including a few numbers played on dual melodicas. Melodicas, once used widely in primary schools, are essentially keyboards with mouthpieces, Still important parts of some school music programs around the world, they become, in the hands of Koan Collective’s Jonah Wei-Haas and Nate Wong, offbeat instruments for jazz duets.

“We had to practice a bit at first to try to get the balance right, because not only are they harmonically in the same frequency range, they also have kind of a harsh sound. They don’t sound pretty, so making the other person sound good while he’s trying to solo was an interesting, and kind of fun, endeavor,” says Wei-Haas with a chuckle. “We have a fun arrangement of `Take the “A” Train,’ and there are also some French songs, like `La Vie en Rose’ and a Django [Reinhardt] song Nate taught me that fit with that sound, which is more of an accordion sound.20130728_201957

“In addition to the double melodica stuff, I’ll be playing some solo pieces in the show. I’ve taken on a project of making solo piano arrangements of popular electronic dance music songs. That sounds like a stretch, but in many ways, the aesthetic lends itself to a very classical kind of style. I’ve got some funky originals we’ll play, and Nate has a bunch of originals, too. We’ll also throw some of our own arrangements of songs we’ve grown up loving,” he adds.

Wei-Haas tends to use the word “fun” when he talks about the music created by the Koan Collective. It’s clear from his conversation that he and Wong are not only having a blast with their current shows, but that they’ve also been getting a charge out of their musical partnership from the very beginning. Both were students at Berklee College of Music in Boston when Wei-Haas, a Tulsa boy, met Wong, who hails from Hong Kong. Soon, they were making music together.

“Nate would come over to my apartment late at night, and we’d write these really silly songs on the piano,” Wei-Haas recalls. “He’d write a melody, and I’d start accompanying him, and then we’d switch, right in the middle of the song, and trade solos. It was just a fun way of writing songs together.

“Then we started playing together more, and it clicked and made sense. Musically, we understood each other, and on a bigger level, there was that camaraderie that’s really important when you play, so that you understand one another.   Just having the right vibe is very, very important – being able to hang out and laugh, outside of the bandstand, I hold as very important, too.”

After Berklee, Wei-Haas moved to Chicago with the rest of the members of a jazz group, which ultimately broke up. Now contemplating a move back to his hometown, he was in the meantime delighted to reunite with Wong, who’d relocated to Fayetteville, Ark.

“He approached me a few months ago and he was like, `Man, I just realized: Fayetteville’s two hours from Tulsa. Let’s book some shows and see if we can make this happen,'” remembers Wei-Haas. “We treated it as an experiment. We did some duo shows with just drums and keys, and then we found a bassist, and the first time went so well and was so positively received that we did it again.”

For the Jazz Depot show, Wong, whose primary instrument is drums, and keyboardist Wei-Haas will be joined by the busy bassist Jordan Hehl, a fixture on the Tulsa jazz scene.20130728_201752

“Every time I go back to Tulsa, it’s so cool to see how the town is growing,” says Wei-Haas. “There’s always a new bar, a new spot, where live music’s happening. And the coolest part to me is that there are people at the shows. In Boston, and even in Fayetteville, that’s not necessarily true. You have to do a little more promotion and hustle a little bit. But every time I’ve gone back to Tulsa, I’ve seen people coming out and really appreciating live music. Its incredible how much of an impact the Jazz Hall of Fame has had on Tulsa’s vibrant music scene.”


              The Koan Collective is set to begin at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, at theOklahoma 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 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.

               jazz hall at night


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Mischievous Swing performs at Tulsa Performing Arts Center


Rooted in tradition, but also deeply committed to innovation, Mischievous Swing is a refreshing voice in both jazz and acoustic genres. Covering the rich scope of jazz, the quartet’s music invites you to experience the rhythms of Latin America, the sounds of French cafes and gypsy camps, and the swing of jazz clubs in New York, Chicago and Kansas City.

Mischievous Swing is made up of Isaac Eicher, known nationally for his prowess in mandolin contests; violinist Shelby Eicher, who was a member of Roy Clark’s band for 15 years; virtuosic gypsy-jazz guitarist Ivan Peña; and bassist Nathan Eicher, who holds a master’s degree in jazz studies. Bound together by family and deep musical friendship, this is a tight band that celebrates the joy of making music.

Mischievous Swing
SummerStage Festival
July 13 at 7:30 p.m.; July 14 at 2 p.m.
Charles E. Norman Theatre
PRESENTED BY: Mischievous Swing

Click link to purchase tickets:

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