OKC Jazz Fest Brings World Class Talent To New Festival Venues This Year

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Al Jarreau, Color Me Badd and The Gap Band will headline the 3rd Annual OKC Jazz Fest May 31-June 4 in Bricktown and Deep Deuce in downtown Oklahoma City.

The 2016 festival will feature jazz, jazz rock, hip hop, rhythm & blues and other genres of music. Local and national artists will perform on both indoor and outdoor stages during the five-day festival run.  Festival headliners Jarreau, Color Me Badd and The Gap Band will perform at the new Criterion Music Hall located in the Bricktown Entertainment District.

“The OKC Jazz Fest is excited to showcase this impressive group of award winning headliners, as well as other accomplished musicians as we continue to grow this event into a major music festival for Oklahoma City,” said Mike McAuliffe, OKC Jazz Fest founder.

The official kickoff event for the festival will be on Tuesday, May 31 at the Aloft Hotel, where a new outdoor stage is being constructed to accommodate music fans.

“Jazz on Deep Deuce” will take place on Saturday, June 4 with bands performing throughout the day at various Deep Deuce and Bricktown establishments including Deep Deuce Grill, The Wedge, WSKY, Slaughter’s Hall, Urban Johnnies and WXYZ Lounge at the Aloft Hotel.

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Al Jarreau is the only vocalist in history to net Grammy Awards in three different categories including jazz, pop and R&B. His long list of hit songs includes “We’re In This Love Together” and he is also recognized for the popular theme song for the television show “Moonlighting.”GAP BAND (003)

The Gap Band, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, is an American R&B and funk band that rose to fame in the 70’s and 80’s.  The band is known for such songs as “You Dropped A Bomb On Me” and “Early In The Morning.” Local singer Darla Z will also be performing with the band.

Color Me Badd

One of the highlights of the 2016 jazz fest is the homecoming of “Color Me Badd” as part of their 25th Anniversary National Tour.  Formed in Oklahoma City in 1991, Color Me Badd is an American contemporary R&B group that has sold over 12 million records worldwide.

The music festival will also feature Los Angeles violinist, singer, songwriter and actress Lucine Fyelon.

Major supporters of the festival include the Chickasaw Nation, Saint Anthony, Criterion Music Hall and Aloft Hotel.

Tickets for the OKC Jazz Fest are available through Ticketmaster beginning May 9.   For sponsorship information contact Mike McAuliffe at 405-630-7668.  For the festival schedule and additional information visit www.okcjazzfest.com.

Jazz Fest Runs May 31-June 4 In Bricktown/Deep Deuce

Tulsa Jazz Music Group Website: http://www.tulsajazzmusicgroup.com

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2015 Starlight Band Summer Concert Series at The Guthrie Green

 

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Since 1947, Starlight has presented quality, live music to Oklahoma audiences each summer. Currently, their concerts are held at Guthrie Green. Located at 111 E. Brady Street in Tulsa, Guthrie Green is located in the heart of the vibrant Brady Arts District. Crowds of music lovers from all walks of life attend each of their FREE, family-friendly concerts.

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For more information:

Phone: 918-798-7827

Website: www.starlightbands.net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Starlight-Bands/107923841675

Twitter: https://twitter.com/StarlightBands 

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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

The Live Jazz List For The Week of July 2, 2014

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The Live Jazz List

For the Week of 7/2/2014

By

Jim & Jeanine

 

Brought to you Courtesy of the

Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

 

July 2

WEDNESDAY

 

Pam Van Dyke Crosby and Scott McQuade – Main Street Tavern,Broken Arrow, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

 

Amanda Preslar with Shelby Eicher and Mark Bruner – Full Moon on Cherry Street, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

 

7 Blue – Hey Mambo, 114 N Boston, 7:30 to 10:00 p.m.

 

Mike Cameron CollectiveNick Mancini on vibes,  Scott McQuade on keys,  Jared Johnson on drums and Mike Cameron on sax – Cellar Dweller, 417 W. 7th, 9:30 to 11:30 p.m.

July 3

THURSDAY

 

JazzwichBrown Bag or Food Truck Lunch and Jazz with Tim Shadley, Jordan Hehl and Nicholas Foster – Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, 111 East First Street, Upper Level, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., FREE!

 

Angie Cockrell and Mike Leland – Bluestone Steakhouse and Seafood Restaurant, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

 

Jordan Hehl featuring Clay Welch and Zach Miller on guitar – The Vault,620 S Cincinnati, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

 

Hefner Grill Trio with Nathan Eicher – Hefner Grill, Oklahoma City,6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

 

Mike Cameron Collective featuring Rachel Bachman on vocals, Jordan Hehl on bass and Mike Cameron on sax –Tallgrass Prairie Table, 313 E. 2nd,8:00 to 11:00 p.m. 8

 

July 4

FRIDAY

 

Hefner Grill Trio with Nathan Eicher – Hefner Grill, Oklahoma City,6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

 

First Friday Concert featuring Tim Shadley, Jeff Shadley and Rebecca Ungerman – Center of the Universe, 5 N Boston, 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.  FREE

 

7 Blue – Hey Mambo, 114 N Boston, 7:00 to 9:30 p.m.

 

Terry Cooper Blues Band – Pepper’s Grill 91st & Delaware, 8:30 to 11:30 p.m.

 

Reggae and Jazz Jam – Hibiscus Caribbean Grill, 3316 S Peoria, 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.  $5 cover includes entry and one beer.

 

July 5

SATURDAY

 

Mark Bruner and Shelby Eicher – Infuzion Ultra Lounge and Bistro, 101st and Mingo, 6:00 to 8:30 p.m.

 

Hefner Grill Trio with Nathan Eicher – Hefner Grill, Oklahoma City,6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

 

Danny Timms Blues Band – Pepper’s Grill 91st & Delaware, 8:30 to 11:30 p.m.

 

July 6

SUNDAY

 

Myron Oliver – Jazz Brunch at Infuzion Ultra Lounge and Bistro, 101st and Mingo, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

 

Jazz Brunch presented by Tulsa Jazz, Bluestone Steakhouse and Seafood Restaurant, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

 

Mark Bruner – Sunday Brunch, Polo Grill, Utica Square, 11:30 to 1:30 p.m.

 

Prentice Vincent: The Colors of Me. In his first headlining performance at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, vocalist and pianist Prentice Vincent takes the Jazz Depot stage in a R&B and Gospel concert event. – Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, 111 E First, Upper Level.  Sunday, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Purchase your tickets at the door or call Bettie Downing at (918) 281-8609.   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.  This event is a part of the Jazz Hall’s Summer Concert Series.  Free parking.

 

Shelby Eicher and Mark Bruner – Full Moon Café on Cherry Street,6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

 

Travis Fite Duo – Bodean’s, 51st and Harvard, 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.

 

July 7

MONDAY

 

Rebecca Ungerman with Jordan Hehl – Musical Mondays at Whole Foods, 41st and Peoria, Monday, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

 

Amy Cottingham’s 47th Monthly Musicale – Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, 111 E First, Upper Level.  Monday, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  Admission is free.  Food and donations are encouraged.

 

Cypher 120 with Written QuinceyMusic by Paul Humphrey, Ricky Skawinski and Jordan Hehl – Creative Room, 1317 E 6th, 8:00 p.m. to midnight.

 

Mike Cameron Collective: Jordan Hehl on bass, Jared Johnson on drums and Mike Cameron on sax – Hodge’s Bend, 815 E 3rd, 9:00 to 11:30 p.m.

 

 July 8

TUESDAY

 

Mark Bruner and Shelby Eicher – Ridge Grill, 9999 S. Mingo, 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.

 

Jazz Depot Jazz Jam Session – Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, 111 E First, Upper Level, 5:30 to 8:00 p.m.   Come play, come sing or come listen – FREE

 

Jazz Depot Blues Jam Session – Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, 111 E First, Upper Level, 8:00 to 10:00 p.m.   Come play, come sing or come listen – FREE

 

Rebecca Ungerman – The Tulsa Sound Sampler at Whole Foods, 41st andPeoria, 6:00 p.m.

 

Kings of Musica 7 piece band that plays every Tuesday for ballroom dancing – Moose Lodge, 11106 E. 7th Street, 7:30 to 9:45 p.m.

 

 

Please support clubs and restaurants that hire jazz musicians!

 

Jim and Jeanine

 

The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame is a 501© (3), non-profit, cultural and educational organization. It exists to provide a system in and for the State of Oklahoma to preserve, promote and illuminate the true art forms of jazz, blues and gospel music; also identify, document and honor the artists who have made a significant contribution locally, regionally, nationally and internationally to its development. Additionally, the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame promotes learning, training, classes, performances and cultural events with and on behalf of disadvantaged youth of all races, creeds, religions and ethnic heritage and provides scholarships to graduating students. We celebrate the music of America.

 

Bass Summit hosted by Nathan Eicher at The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

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NATHAN EICHER HOSTS BASS SUMMIT SUNDAY AT JAZZ DEPOT

 

It’s been a little over a month since Nathan Eicher accompanied Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame drummer Washington Rucker in a Jazz Depot concert. But it’s clear that the experience, and Rucker himself, continue to impress the young bassist.

“The guy was amazing – just so much experience,” says Eicher. “I could see, given his experience, where it would have been frustrating to play with someone like me, because I don’thave the experience. I haven’t seen all the situations, musically, that he’s seen. So things I might be doing that are maybe new, that I’m doing for the first time, are things he’s probably heard guys do before. Anything I could throw at him, he’s heard.

“But he was just so nice about it, you know? He was like, `Be free. Explore, and express yourself.’ He was reassuring, and he seemed to enjoy watching the process unfold with a younger guy. That was inspiring. He was just so far beyond me, and I got the opportunity to play with him and learn from him and I thought, `Man, I want to try to share that experience in the other direction.’”

To that end, the band Eicher’s bringing to the Depot Sunday will not only feature Depot regular Tim Shadley on piano, but a couple of high school musicians: bassist Byron Crenshaw and drummer Jonathan Haywood.    Crenshaw has been playing at the Tuesday evening Depot Jams, while Haywood is the drummer for the Tulsa Jam’bassadors, the award-winning all-city jazz group that’s a project of the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. A combo made up of Jam’bassadors will also be on the bill Sunday.tulsa jambassadors web

In addition to his experience with Rucker, growing up in a musical family – his mother is the well-known vocalist Janet Rutland, his father the noted multi-instrumentalist Shelby Eicher – also contributed to his yen to work with youthful players.

“I want to reach out to kids who are young, because when I was young I had that opportunity,” he explains. “I was very fortunate, with my parents being musicians, to be able when I was in high school to go out and play gigs and sit in. And I’m always inspired when I hear these younger kids playing.”

Sunday, two of those younger kids, along with Shadley and Eicher, will be performing in a quartet that’ll look s a bit unusual. Added to the standard rhythm section of piano, bass, and drums will be a second bass, played by Eicher as a lead instrument, using a bow.

“I drew my inspiration from a bassist named Arni Egilsson,” Eicher says. “He has an album I heard several years ago called Basses Loaded, and it was the same kind of combo. After I heard it, I said, `Man, I want to do that. I want to develop my ability to play this instrument as a lead instrument, so much that I could step in front of a band and do it.’”nathan eicher

He adds that the groups he’s in, including the Tulsa-based string-jazz quartet Mischievous Swing and the trio that works regularly at Oklahoma City’s Hefner Grill, give him plenty of chances to experiment with bass solos.

“The past couple of years, particularly at Hefner Grill, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to work with a bow and develop that,” he notes. “So, now that I’m finally feeling comfortable with it, I thought, `Hey, I want to try leading a band with this.’ The bass might step into that [lead] role occasionally in the other bands I’m in, but in this [concert], it’s going to be every song, basically. It’ll be sort of like a bass violin.”

He laughs. “I guess I’m trying to be the Stephane Grappelli of bass.”

The Bass Summit with the Nathan Eicher Quartet and the Tulsa Jam’bassadors combo is set to begin at 5 p.m. Sunday, March 30, 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 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.  Refreshments will be available for purchase.

The show is a part of the Jazz Hall’s 2014 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 Oklahomansthrough preservation, education, and performance of jazz, our uniquely American art form.

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Nathan Eicher Quartet Performs at The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

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Nathan Eicher Quartet Maiden Concert Set for Sunday

Bassist Nathan Eicher has shared the Jazz Depot stage with a number of top-notch musicians, playing there twice with his string-jazz band Mischievous Swing and, most recently, making a big impression alongside Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame drummer Washington Rucker, an experience Eicher calls “really a special evening for me.”

Now, it’s his turn to lead his own group into the Depot. Sunday marks the maiden voyage of the Nathan Eicher Quartet, whose members, in addition to Eicher, include Ryan Hatcher (trumpet), Stephen Schultz (guitar), and Mark Giammario (drums).

“I’vc played with all these guys individually, but this is the first time for this specific group to come together,” notes Eicher. “I put it together with the intent of all of us being able to play some original material we had composed. We’re going to play some familiar favorites, too, to kind of ease the listener in. I think we’ll do `Caravan’ and `Girl from Ipanema,’ `Just Friends’ and the tune `Pure Imagination’ from [the movie] Willy Wonka – we’ve got a nice little 5/4 arrangement of that song, which Ryan did.

“Then, we’ve got 10 to 12 original pieces; each person in the band has composed at least one of them.”

Those numbers, he adds, “really come out of the jazz tradition.”

“We don’t get into any free jazz, but we play a fusion tune, and we play a couple of tunes in odd meter, what I call post-bop. Ryan has a piece that has a lot of what I call Kansas City mute effects; it pays homage to that sound. We have a lot of Latin-influenced material, and swing material, and a couple of my own tunes have melodies that are almost like vocal melodies. They come very much out of that old swing vocal-tune tradition. But then I also have a tune in 7/4 [time], that has a very discernable melody, but it’s kind of ethereal in the sense of creating an atmosphere. It’s called `The Circus Comes to Town,’ and I attempt to create, with this little bit of an off-kilter rhythm pattern, thefeeling of the circus. So we have a big variety of stuff that comes out of so many of the traditions of jazz.”

Like Eicher himself, the other musicians in the Nathan Eicher Quartet play a lot at the other end of the Turner Turnpike, in the Oklahoma City area. In fact, he got acquainted with two-thirds of them via the University of Central Oklahoma‘s well-known jazz studies program, located in the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond.nathan and mark

“I met Mark there; we were both doing our master’s at roughly the same time,” says Eicher. “Stephen is currently going to UCO. And I met Ryan, who went to school at Stillwater, through a mutual friend.”

Eicher and Giammario have a steady gig playing together at Oklahoma City’s Hefner Grill in an outfit called, appropriately enough, the Hefner Grill Trio. The two often work with another Oklahoma City performer who’s played the Jazz Depot himself, vocalist Justin Echols.

“I play with Mark all the time,” says Eicher. “I’m playing with him three times a week most weeks, and I’ve developed this very, very nice relationship as a player with him. I think we have a good sense of what we’re going to give one another, how to complement each other. Having a drummer and bassist paired like that brings, I think, a lot of cohesiveness to a group.”

Both Oklahoma City and Tulsa, he believes, have “a tremendous amount of very, very good players.”

Justin Echols“But,” he adds, “with the exception of places like the [UCO] Jazz Lab and Hefner Grill, where I perform all the time, I don’t think there are as many venues in Oklahoma City that consistently have jazz as there are in Tulsa. I’m impressed by the fact that every night of the week I can go and hear jazz in Tulsa. In Oklahoma City, to my knowledge, that’s just not happening. It’s possible that it’s there and the word just hasn’t gotten out. There are a lot of great players, a lot of people I love playing with down there. But I think the main difference is that there just aren’t as many venues and nothing like the Jazz Hall.”

The Nathan Eicher Quartet is set to begin at 5 p.m. Sunday, March 9, 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, fromwww.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 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

 

Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame
918-281-8609

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Cynthia Simmons Performs at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

 

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Vocalist Cynthia Simmons Celebrates the Season

with Jingle Bell Jazz at the Jazz Depot

As the co-producer and star, with fellow vocalist Pam Van Dyke Crosby, of last month’s Tribute to Cole Porter concert, Cynthia Simmons was looking forward to presenting a few Porter songs to the Jazz Depot crowd.

But then, things happened.

“I twisted my ankle the week before the show,” she explains, “and then theday before, when we were getting ready to rehearse, I got ill on top of that. So I had to say, `I need to stay home, Pam. I’m sorry.'”

Undoubtedly, there were several Simmons fans in the audience who were sorry, too. But if they come out to Cynthia Simmons Presents Jingle Bell Jazz Sunday, they’ll hear her do at least a couple of the tunes she had all ready for the Porter show, including “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” and “Miss Otis Regrets.”IMGP4875

“I happen to love Christmas songs, so this show is an opportunity to do some of my favorites,” she says. “But I’ll also throw some regular jazz songs in, including some of the ones I didn’t get to do at the Cole Porter show.”

This is the fourth time in a relatively short stretch that Simmons has headlined her own Depot concert, which gives testimony to her popularity with area jazz fans. An Oklahoma City native, she moved to Tulsa a few years ago and happened to connect on Facebook with noted jazz pianist Scott McQuade, who had himself recently arrived in Tulsa from his native Canada. That led to a meeting at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, and from there to her subsequent performances on the Jazz Depot, both in ensemble casts and headlining her own shows.

For this one, she’ll be backed by two players well known to Depot audiences, bassist Nathan Eicher and drummer Wade Robertson. Her pianist for the evening, though, may not be quite as well known at this end of the Turner Turnpike as he is in his hometown.

adam ledbetter 1“He’s Adam Ledbetter, who’s from Oklahoma City,” notes Simmons. “I met him through [saxophonist] Mike Cameron when we did the Don Byas tribute at theJazz Hall last year. He’s worked with Rebecca Ungerman a little bit, and some of the other people around town. I just did a show in Oklahoma City, and he’s the person I used; he and I have just kind of connected. He’s come in and done some things at Main Street Tavern with me, too. And he’s just an excellent, excellent musician.”

In addition to the straight jazz tunes, Simmons plans to give jazzy twists to holiday classics, including the likes of “Santa Baby” and “The Christmas Song.”

“I know Mel Torme wrote `The Christmas Song,’ but whenever I think of it, I usually hear Nat King Cole,” Simmons says. “It just gives me chills to hear him singing it — and it gives me chills to sing it. It’s one of my favorite songs to sing.

“I’m also going to do `What A Wonderful World,'” she added. “I know it’s not a Christmas song, but you hear it so much at Christmas, and it’s just a great song.”

At least one number on her Sunday playlist may be a bit of a surprise, however, veering Simmons at least temporarily away from the style of music she’s known for.

“I’m probably going to do `O, Holy Night,'” reveals Simmons. “My background is not pure jazz; in my past, I used to do more gospel and classical things. I love Mahalia Jackson – who I learned recently also sang jazz at one point in her career. I just love her voice. She was my mother’s favorite gospel singer, and I grew up listening to her do `O. Holy Night’ on a Christmas album my mom had.mahalia-jackson

“It was really an album, too,” she adds with a laugh. “You know, an LP, where you have to put the needle down. And now, I’m dating myself.”

  Cynthia Simmons Presents Jingle Bell Jazz is set to begin at 5:00 p.m. Sunday, December 15, 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, fromwww.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 2013-14 Winter Concert Series.

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

jazz hall at night