“Bill and Pam Crosby’s Excellent Adventure” A Musical Celebration Of Their 33 Wedding Anniversary at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

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BILL & PAM’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE CELEBRATES 33 YEARS OF JAZZY TOGETHERNESS

In addition to all the live music from some of the areas top jazz performers, there’ll be something else of interest on display at the Jazz Depot Sunday: A blowup of a photo from September 5, 1982, taken by renowned Tulsa photographer Gaylord Herron.

“He’s my brother-in-law, and he took that picture with one of those cameras that had an 8″X10″ negative,” explains Bill Crosby. “So it’s a great big photo of our wedding, showing all the people who were there, out in our backyard.”

Central to the shot are Crosby and his then-new bride, Pam Van Dyke, who celebrate 33 years as a married couple at Sunday’s show. And while their personal lives had only intersected a year or so before Herron snapped that photo, bassist Crosby and vocalist Van Dyke had both been professionals on the Tulsa music scene for decades by then.

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“We’d known each other a long time before we ever got together,” Crosby says. “I remember years ago, when I was working at the Hilton with [pianist] Bob Clear, she was working down the street with a group called the Sound of Four. When we’d finish, we’d go over and listen to ’em. More than likely, she sat in a few times with us, too.”

Later, he adds, “I was [bandleader and keyboardist] Sammy Pagna’s bassist; I’d worked with him off and on ever since I was a kid, almost, going back to the ’60s. In 1981, he was doing a benefit of some kind at the Old Lady on Brady and he wanted a singer. Kenny Mills was his guitar player, and he and Pam had been working together a lot. So Kenny said, `Why don’t you get Pam to sing?’ At that time, Sammy was doing dances every Wednesday night at the Caravan [Ballroom], and they invited her over to the next one and she sat in. That’s when Pam and I got started.”

The song Pam ended up singing with Pagna’s band at the benefit was Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour.” Thirty-four years later, it’s also going to be one of the numbers she performs at their wedding-anniversary concert on Sunday.

“We’ve gone through our list and found some of the old songs we started out with,” her husband says. “We’ve got so many that we won’t have time to do them all, but besides `My Cherie Amour,’ we’ll do stuff like `Without A Song,’ `Caravan,’ `[Take the] “A” Train,’ `On A Clear Day,’ and ‘This Masquerade,’ which is the best song Leon Russell ever wrote.”

Crosby actually played some jobs during the late 1950s with Russell and drummer Chuck Blackwell. Russell was a student at Will Rogers High School then, still using his given name of Russell Bridges. The three had met earlier at a legendary Tulsa jazz club.

“When I was working at the Rubiyat, Leon was in high school, and he and Blackwell would come out and sit in. He was a jazzer. He didn’t play rock ‘n’ roll back then. But he got smart,” notes Crosby with a laugh.

Among the guests scheduled to take the Jazz Depot stage Sunday are Sonny Gray, the well-known Tulsa pianist who owned the Rubiyat. He joins an impressive lineup that includes fellow keyboardists Tim Shadley, Charles Gardner, and Jack Wolfe.

Other well-known performers on the bill include drummers Anthony Yohe, Wade Robertson, and Ron McCrory; trumpeters Mike Bennett and Mike Moore; vocalists Sandy Gardner and Cindy Cain; saxophonist Victor Anderson; and bassists Jim Bates and Dean DeMerritt, along with Crosby himself. In addition to being the top jazz names in town, “these are just people we play with these days,” notes Crosby.

Many of them, however, go back with one or both of the Crosbys a long time. And in at least one case, the connection is intergenerational.

“Dean DeMerritt’s mom and dad were both at our wedding,” Crosby points out. “His name was Dean DeMerritt too, a jazz piano player. Tony[Yohe] and I worked with him a bunch, back in the day.”

 

Bill & Pam’s Excellent Adventure is set to begin at 5 p.m. Sunday, September 6, 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.jazzhalltickets.com, 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 2015 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.

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A Day In The Life of A Tulsa Jazz Fan

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If you are a jazz fan in Tulsa, Oklahoma Sunday June 28th must have felt like Christmas.

To start your day you had the choice of going to the Polo Grill at 10 30 am, for and early brunch while listening to Mark Bruner or if you wanted to sleep a little later  head over to Hey Mambo, closer to noon, for a Gypsy Jazz brunch with Jordan Hehl and the crew.

After filling your tummy with all sorts of deliciousness, you then had the choice of swinging over to the Guthrie Green to hear Shelby Eicher and others perform or heading down to the Tulsa Spotlight Theatre and lend your support to their “Jazz on the River” fundraiser, a quality event for a quality group of people.

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Now it’s 4 oo pm and you have some more choices to make. You could either walk off the late brunch by  strolling along Riverside Dr enjoying some absolutely beautiful weather or find a spot for a early dinner somewhere among all the choices in the Blue Dome District….decisions, decisions. 🙂

At 5 00 pm the music resumes at The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame with the Modern Oklahoma Jazz Orchestra featuring Greg Abate and his Quartet. As if that weren’t enough there was more jazz at 5 30 pm with the Mike Cameron Collective featuring Annie Ellicott at East Village Bohemian Pizzeria, so many options, so much fun, the music seemed to just kept going, and going, and going…

Some people just couldn’t get enough and went to both events, since the Oklahoma Jazz HOF’s concert ended at 7 00 pm and the show at East Village Bohemian Pizzeria ended at 8pm. Yes sir, Tulsa Jazz fans are something else aren’t we? 😉

Wait, we’re still not finished…

Bodean Seafood Lounge rounded out the day by serving up some delicious jazz from 7 00 to 10 00 pm with the Jack Wolfe Quartet which included Dean Demerritt and Wade Robertson who earlier in the day performed at the Tulsa Spotlight Theater.

So there you have it, a day in the life of a Tulsa Jazz fan, does it get any better than this?…we don’t think so 🙂

For more upcoming “Christmas like” days check out our Events Around Town  page so you won’t feel left out any more. Wait are those tears of joy on your face, we understand and you’re not alone, we feel the same way…you’re welcome 🙂

Stay Jazzy

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The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame Presents “Tin Pan Alley Magic” Sunday April 19th

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Pam Crosby and an All-Star cast take you on a musical journey this Sunday at 5 pm!

Produced by Pam Van Dyke Crosby, the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame presents Tin Pan Alley Magic. Featuring Darell Christopher, Cindy Cain, Larry Cochran, Joe Wilkinson, Sandy Sterling, Angie Cockrell, Cynthia Simmons, Barry Hensley, and Pam Van Dyke Crosby. The performance will also include Scott McQuade on keys, Bill Crosby on bass, Wade Robertson on drums, Tim Shadley on trombone, and Tom Sterling on sax.

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To enjoy the jazz, call at (918) 928-JAZZ or visit www.JazzHallTickets.com. Members and Seniors enjoy discounted ticket prices at $10.00 each.  General Admission tickets are only $15.00, or $20.00 for Reserved Table Seating. High school and middle school students admitted for only $5.00.

The event is a part of the Jazz Hall’s 2015 Spring 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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CynSings Ella: Cynthia Simmons Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald. Another look at a very special night…

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“This was just one of those moments in time where you just wished time would stand still and this would go on forever”. That’s how several people in attendance described Cynthia Simmons and the band’s performance Sunday night at The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. This was a much anticipated event and it didn’t disappoint, once the downbeat hit the magic began. The night started with one of Ella’s most popular songs A Tisket A Tasket and then took you on a melodic journey through Ella’s life. You may have hopped on the A Train , In a Sentimental Mood, but that didn’t last long because the show was Too Darn Hott!

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One of the reasons this show was so successful was the all-star line up of musicians. Dean Demerritt, Frank Brown, Wade Robertson, and Dr. Mike Moore made the music come to life. Each musician, highly talented  and respected in the jazz community, could  have headlined this or any other show, but the crowd was treated to the collective sounds of this incredible group…and a treat it was.

The Ear Candy just kept coming with songs like Paper Moon, Puttin’ on the Ritz, Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered, Do Nothing Til You Hear from Me, Cry Me a River and a wonderful rendition of Can’t We be Friends  performed by Cynthia and Darell Christopher.CynSimm_116

 

Cynthia also shared with the audience a brief history and some little know fact about Ella’s life, her struggles and her triumphs. The room was filled with smiling faces, tappin’ toes, boppin’ heads, and joyous applause, like we said at the start of the post, it was truly a special evening 🙂

Photos courtesy of Bill Gaddis Photography.

This show was a TulsaJazz.Com Production.

Just in case you had the misfortune of missing this show, here is a video of Cynthia and the band performing Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered…Enjoy 🙂

 

 

TulsaJazz.Com Presents Cyn Sings Ella: A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald at The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

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CYNTHIA SIMMONS PRESENTS ELLA FITZGERALD TRIBUTE SHOW SUNDAY

 

The late Ella Fitzgerald remains one of the most high-profile and beloved jazz and pop singers in history, selling more than 40,000 records, winning 13 Grammy Awards as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and even appearing on a postage stamp in 2007, celebrating the 90th anniversary of her birth. In addition, she’s popularly known as “The First Lady of Song,” a title that’s hardly thrown around.

So shouldn’t it be more than a little intimidating for a vocalist to produce and sing a show full of Ella’s songs?

“Absolutely,” says Cynthia Simmons with a laugh. “But, you know, I went into it with the same mindset I had with the Nina Simone show, which I did back in March of last year. I’m not Ella Fitzgerald. I’m not going to sound like Ella Fitzgerald. But I’m going to give the best tribute I can to a musical phenomenon, somebody who had a fifty-year-plus career in music, who kept going even after major illnesses. She was awesome, I love her, and I’m going to give her my best possible tribute.”ella-fitzgerald

That five-decade career began for Fitzgerald in 1934, when she won an amateur-night contest at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. Four years later, she had her first No. 1 hit, “A-Tisket A-Tasket,” which she recorded with Chick Webb’s big band. Throughout the 1930s, she worked extensively with both Webb and the Benny Goodman Orchestra, as well as with her own band. Then, in the mid-1940s, during a stint on the road withDizzy Gillespie, she began scat singing during a stint on the road with Dizzy Gillespie. That wordless vocal style soon became a major element in her music.

“I think my biggest challenge was to do an Ella show when I’m not a scatter,” says Simmons. “A lot of people compare my voice to hers, but I don’t scat. I’m working on it, though.”

In the 1950s, Fitzgerald broke into the mainstream in a big way, recording a number of big-selling albums as a solo performer. She was a double winner at the very first Grammy Awards event, in 1958, scoring Best Individual Jazz Performance honors for Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Song Book and Best Female Vocal Performance for Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Irving Berlin Song Book. For the next three decades, she also toured extensively and was a regular guest star on national television, which is where Cynthia Simmons first encountered her.Ella F singing

“I remember being a kid and seeing her on variety shows,” Simmons recalls. “She was this very elegant older lady, just standing there and singing, and as I got older, I just kept watching her age in front of the world, still doing her music. It was one of those things that just struck me. I always thought, `Oh, yeah, Ella Fitzgerald. She sang jazz.’

“The very first show I did for the Jazz Hall was three or four years ago,” she adds. “It was two other gentlemen and me, and I spotlighted Ella in my part. So I’ve been performing her songs for my entire jazz career.”

For Sunday’s Jazz Depot show, which she’s titled Cyn Sings Ella: A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, Simmons will be backed by a trio of musicians very familiar to area jazz fans: Frank Brown on Guitar, Dean Demerritt on bass, Mike Moore on trumpet and Wade Robertson on drums. She also plans to have another well-known Jazz Depot performer, Darell Christopher, on hand to recreate a few of the famous duets Fitzgerald did with Louis Armstrong.

And along with all the music, Simmons says that she’ll present a few biographical facts about Ella that will help the audience see her as a person in addition to a great performer.

“She did fabulous music,” notes Simmons. “Everyone listens to her, but most people don’t learn about her. I’ve been learning about her, so I’m going to share a lot of what I’ve learned.”Cynthia 50

Cyn Sings Ella: A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald is set to begin at 5:00 p.m. Sunday, January 25th, 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 918-928-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 Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fameis 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 Darell Christopher Performing Live at Main St. Tavern

 

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The smooth, velvety, voice of Darell Christopher will be enjoyed by all at Main St. Tavern this Wednesday November 19th, 2014.
Darell has performed in various venues throughout the city including the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame and Bluestone Steakhouse, and Cain’s Ballroom.

Aaron Hendersom, an incredibly talented and accomplished musician will be accompanying on keyboard.

Grab some friends and join Darell and Aaron at Main Street Tavern for a night of good food and good music.

This concert is a Tulsa Jazz.Com production.

Date/Time: Wednesday November 19th, 2014 6 pm-9 pm

Location: Main St. Tavern 200 S Main St, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma 74012

Phone: (918) 872-1414

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarellChristopherBand

 

TulsaJazz.Com Presents Darell Christopher and The Ingredients at the Back Alley BBQ & Burger Competition Collinsville, OK

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Back Alley BBQ Cookoff w/ a Side of Blues!

Backyard barbeque masters, as well as, competitive cooking teams from all over Green Country will work to perfect the thrill of the grill at the 2nd Annual Back Alley BBQ Cook-Off in historic downtown Collinsville on October 18th.

Coordinated by Collinsville Downtown, Inc. as a fundraiser for the downtown revitalization organization, the Back Alley BBQ hopes to bring 20 plus teams to Collinsville to compete for money and bragging rights. This non-sanctioned event is open to anyone wishing to compete no matter what their experience level.

Back Alley BBQ CookoffRibbons will be given to the 1st, 2nd, & 3rd places in each category and one Best All Around will be chosen from all BBQ categories and will receive a $500 cash prize and a trophy. Adding to the excitement of the BBQ competition, a Gourmet Burger competition has been added this year. This first year competition hopes to fire up the creative juices of local chefs to dream up unusual burgers that look and taste great. The Gourmet Burger Competition will be proof that not all burgers are created equal. Winner of the Gourmet Burger Competition will receive a $250 cash prize, as well as a trophy.

The Feed Store will be the Premier Sponsor for this event but additional sponsorship opportunities are still available to any businesses or individuals who would like to be a part of this event concept pairing the enthusiasm of barbeque cooking with the new found popularity of our downtown shopping district.

Back Alley BBQ Cook-Off

The event will be free to the public, and those wishing to purchase a “Tasting Kit” for only $10 will be able to sample the wares of those competing and vote for the People Choice Award for their favorite entries.

The site of the cook-off, will be as the name represents, off of Main Street, as to not disrupt downtown shopping activities taking place. Event organizers will be using the City Plaza and surrounding parking areas and even space provided by the back allies of downtown Collinsville.

For more information call the C.D.I. office at (918) 371-5530.

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