Left Side Right, Right Side Left Perform at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame Sunday August 10th.

scott mcquade

A group called Left Side Right, Right Side Left plays its first official gig at the Jazz Depot this Sunday. And while the band itself is brand-new, the members are all stars of the local scene. They include vocalist Pam Van Dyke Crosby, pianist Scott McQuade, vibraphonist Jay Garrett, bassist Bill Crosby, and drummer Tony Yohe.

The purpose of the group, says Crosby, its bass player, is to expose audiences to some top-notch original material as well as a few seldom-heard but eminently worthwhile tunes from thecatalogues of jazz greats.

“We’d been getting together over at Tony’s, just for fun, working up a few things,” he explains. “Then I thought about a song Scott wrote for his CD, which came out around ’08, back when he was in Florida. It’s called `Left Side Right, Right Side Left.’ It’s a jazz tune until it gets to a bridge-type place, and the lyrics go, “left side right.” Then we do some music, then “right side left.” Pam sings the lyrics, and they’re spoken by the band members. We’re going to use that as an intro song and for the name of the band.

“We figured it was a good name for us, because it’s sort of politically correct,” he adds with a laugh. “We’ve got a liberal, a conservative, an independent, and a Canadian.”

Crosby says that Left Side Right, Right Side Left plans to perform three more of McQuade’s originals Sunday, as well as a number that was written years ago by the band’s vocalist.

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“It’s called `One for Ray,’” he says. “[Late Tulsa pianist] George Dennie wrote the music, and Pam wrote the lyrics. It was dedicated it to [veteran area saxophonist] Ray DeGeer. They wrote and recorded the song back in the ’80s; we have it on one of our old CDs.”

Pam also picked a couple of other tunes to sing on Sunday: the standard “Stella by Starlight” and a lesser-known number, John Coltrane’s “Equinox.”

“It’s an old jazz tune with lyrics, not too intricate,” says Crosby of the latter. “It’s just nice.”

Also nice, if more challenging, is another vintage jazz song, this one written by Sammy Nestico and performed most notably by the Count Basie Orchestra.

“It’s called `Fun Time,’ and it’s just crazy,” Crosby notes with another laugh. “It’s 11/4 time, something like that. It goes from three-four to four-four time, back and forth. It’s hard to explain. I learned it from [pianist] Teddy Moses back in the ’60s, and I kind of introduced it to everybody around here. Scott and Tony and I played it a few times at Ciao. It’s got a real hard melody and it takes a lot of practice to get it, but Jay’s got it on vibes. Boy, he’s a great reader.”100_1101

In addition to the originals and less-familiar standards, the members of Left Side Right, Right Side Left will probably “throw in a few ringers,” as Crosby puts it, some jazz numbers that will be more familiar to the crowd.

“People have a tendency to like what they know,” he says. “If we play a whole bunch of stuff that they may not know – well, I’m not sure. But the people who come out to the Jazz Depot are pretty open-minded about what they’re going to get, so I think it’ll be all right.”

Not only will this be the first performance of the group, he adds, there’s a chance it could be the only performance the band ever gives. Crosby says the members “have no idea” whether they’ll seek other gigs as Left Side Right, Right Side Left.

“You know how it goes: any band that does a CD or has a picture taken always breaks up right afterwards,” he notes with a chuckle. “So we’re kind of leery about all of that. We’re just taking it one gig at a time. This’ll be the first one.”

Left Side Right, Right Side Left is set to begin at 5 p.m. Sunday, August 10, 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.

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

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Pam Crosby: A Musical Birthday Celebration at The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

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Local jazz favorite Pam Van Dyke Crosby lights up the Jazz Depot stage celebrating friends and family.  A native Oklahoman, Pam began her career singing jazz in New York City, performing in a band that included pianist Duke Jordan and bassist Keeter Betts. While in NYC, Pam also performed as the featured “girl singer” for the Sammy Kaye Orchestra, and has toured the southwest United States with extended engagements in Texas, Louisiana, Missouri,Arkansas, and Nebraska.
As a local jazz favorite, Pam has been a featured performer in numerous regional jazz festivals, benefits such as Divas for H.O.P.E, Follies Review, Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame concerts, and the Summerstage Festival at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.

The show is going to consist of performances by several of Pam’s fellow jazz artists , friends and  family, plus the stage will be graced by the Queen  herself…What a wonderful way to celebrate the birthday of Tulsa’s reigning Queen of Jazz!

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The celebration is at The 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.

The event is a part of the Jazz Hall’s Spring Concert Series.  Free covered parking.

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“Midnight Social Club” Farewell Performance at The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

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Midnight Social Club Brings Musical Farewell to Jazz Depot Friday

The SummerStage theater festival, that Tulsa audiences first met the four fictional ladies who provided the entertainment at a not-quite-first class 1930s bistro called the Midnight Social Club. Played by top Tulsa vocalists Cindy Cain (as club owner Violett Redd), Rebecca Ungerman (Garnett McGee), Pam Van Dyke Crosby (Stella Moon), and Annie Ellicott (Little Ruby) in a production calledBackstage at the Midnight Social Club, the characters proved to be so popular that they appeared in a second production, Onstage at the Midnight Social Club, and have performed occasionally in various configurations at Tulsa venues ever since.

Now, however, the Midnight Social Club appears to be shutting its doors for good. As Crosby notes, “Violett’s selling the club, Garnett’s going back on the road, Little Ruby’s moving to the big city, and Stella’s marrying her longtime boyfriend, Doghouse Bill.”

It is, at least partially, a case of art imitating life. Stella’s betrothed, who’s also the bassist in the Midnight Social Club band, is in real life Bill Crosby, Pam’s husband. And Ellicott really is moving away from Tulsa, something that comes as a blow to area jazz fans.

“Annie’s moving to San Francisco,” says Pam. “And even though she may be coming back from time to time, we probably won’t get a chance to do this again. So this will be the last time to see the four of us together doing the material from both of those shows, Backstage and Onstage.

Hence the name of Friday’s production, The Midnight Social Club – Last Chance. Pam stresses, however, that the Jazz Depot production is less a play than a show and dance.

“We’re going to act like our characters, but we’re just going to have a few lines,” she explains. “It’s going to be a show, but it’s also for dancing. We’ll be doing swing and Latin andfoxtrots. Since the club setting is in the 1930s, the songs we’re doing are from that era, except that there are a couple of originals.”

Chances are good that one of those originals will be the Cain-penned number that brought all the ladies of the Midnight Social Club together in the first place.

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“P. Casey Morgan wrote the original script for The Midnight Social Club,” she says, “Cindy Cain had wanted all of us to work together, and she wrote an opening song and had the idea for us all to be in a club. Then, we all kind of wrote our own characters and came up with the names and the name of the club.

“Violett Redd was the owner of the club, and when she took it over, she called my character, Stella Moon. I was a singer doing things in another town. Then, a friend of hers just kind of showed up one day and asked for a job. That was Garnett, played by Rebecca. So the three of us were singing together in the Midnight Social Club – which was, well, a little less than an A-1 nightclub.”

She laughs.

Then, unexpectedly, Little Ruby showed up. Violett Redd was her aunt, and she’d run away from home because her parents wanted her to marry a local pig farmer. She came to town and sang `Real Cowboy Girl’ and then got changed and became more sophisticated.”

In addition to the four vocalists playing those parts, all of the musicians involved in Friday’s production of The Midnight Social Club – Last Chance were on board for the first show back in 2008. They include Jeff Newsome on piano, Wade Robertson on drums, and “Doghouse Bill” Crosby on bass.

Those players also appeared on the original-cast CD, Backstage at the Midnight Social Club,which will be available for purchase at Friday’s show.

 The Midnight Social Club – Last Chancepresented by Sweet and Hot Productions, is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 4, at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, located in downtown Tulsa’sJazz Depot, 111 E. First Street. The show is presented in conjunction with the Brady Arts District’s First Friday Art Crawl. Admission is $10 at the door, with advance tickets available from Bettie Downing at 918-281-8609.

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Sandy Gardner and Pam Van Dyke Crosby at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame!

Sandy Gardner and Pam Van Dyke Crosby Headline Celebration of Mother’s Day

One had a musical mom, one didn’t. But both Sandy Gardner and Mothers DayPam Van Dyke Crosby are quick to acknowledge the positive effects that their mothers had on their careers and their lives in general.

According to Pam, the two well-known vocalists will be “singing songs for our moms, for all moms, to celebrate moms,’ in this Sunday’s special Mother’s Day event at the Jazz Depot.

“Both of our moms were very supportive,” says Pam. “My mother’s name was Althea Butler, from Pond Creek, Oklahoma, and she was my voice teacher and accompanist for many years. Along with being a voice and piano teacher, she directed a lot of choirs. And she always encouraged me.”

“My mother couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, and she’d be the first to tell you that,” adds Sandy with a laugh. “But she was a typical mother — `you can do anything, you can be anything’ – and an amazing role model. She’d been a stay-at-home mom, but then she became a single parent with four children, ages 11 to one, and had to go back to work.

“She went to work in the accounting department at Skelly Oil Company [in Tulsa], and in ’64 or ’65, Skelly offered certain employees the opportunity to take a computer-programming course, to teach them how to use this new thing called the computer. My mother was the only woman who signed up; the rest were men. And the men were all able to spend part of their workdays studying for this thing. Not my mother. She had to do her regular job.

“So they all had to take a test at the end of the course. And my mother made the highest score,” adds Sandy. “She truly blazed a trail for so many women of my generation just by being brave enough to do all of that.”

Later, when Sandy and her pianist-arranger husband, Chuck Gardner, began performing together, Kalita, her mother, “was always front-row center” when the Gardners performed in her vicinity.

“She had a very special person she was in love with,” recalls Sandy. “They were unable to get married, but she totally loved this person, and he loved her. Their song was `Tenderly.’ So I’m definitely doing `Tenderly’ at this concert.”

For her part, Pam remembers her mother’s fondness for George Gershwin compositions, as well as Hoagy Carmichael and Sidney Arodin’s “Up A Lazy River.”

“She taught me a lot of Gershwin songs,” says Pam, “and she played `Up A Lazy River’ until she couldn’t play anymore. So I’ll do that and a couple of Gershwins –`Summertime,’ which was one of her favorites, and `Our Love Is Here to Stay.'”

In addition to doing tunes that their own moms loved hearing, Pam says that the two plan to sing some numbers that are favorites of Jazz Depot moms-including Duke Ellington’s “Caravan,’ which is tops with Jeanine Rhea, a tireless volunteer for the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. They’ll be accompanied on the show by Chuck Gardner on piano, Bill Crosby on bass, and Wade Robertson on drums, and in addition to their solo numbers, they plan on sprinkling in a few duets.

“One tune that I’ve wanted Pam and me to do together for a long, long time is `[Stompin’ at the] Savoy,'” says Sandy. “You really don’t hear it as a vocal often, but it’s got some great words [by big-band-era lyricist Andy Razaf]. The problem is, the way it’s written, it’s hard to sing it as a single voice. When you sing the word `Savoy,’ it kind of holds, and another line starts. That’s why we thought it would make a great duet.”

The pair will combine their voices on other tunes, too, but Sandy’s cagey about the details.

“We have some real fun stuff planned for this little event,” she says. “We’ve got one duet that’s just going to be a hoot, but I can’t give it away. So it’ll have to be a surprise.”

Sandy Gardner and Pam Van Dyke Crosby’s Mother’s Day concert is set to begin at 5p.m. Sunday, May 12, 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 918-281-1008. 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 event is a part of the Jazz Hall’s 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 preservation, education, and performance of jazz, our uniquely American art form.

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Pam Crosby CD Release Party at The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

 

Pam Crosby cd group promo

 Pam Van Dyke Crosby & Friends Bring Summer to the Jazz Depot

Summer may be a couple of months away, but jazz fans can get a jump on the season Sunday, when Pam Van Dyke Crosby and Friends bring their Jazz on A Summer’s Night – Late CD release party to the Jazz Depot.

Recorded live on June 10th of last year at the late Tulsa restaurant and jazz venue Ciao Baby, Jazz on a Summer’s Night – Late is a companion piece to Jazz on a Summer’s Night – Early, which debuted at a similar Depot event last October.

“We’re going to play tunes off both the albums Sunday,” says Pam’s husband Bill Crosby, the well-known Tulsa bassist who produced both discs. “We’ll have the same guys in the band that we had when we did the recording – except for [drummer] Tony Yohe. He’s having knee-replacement surgery, so Wade Robertson [percussionist on both CDs] will be playing drums. We’re going to go ahead and set up some conga drums, and if Tony feels like coming in and playing a little percussion, we’ll be happy to have him do it.”

The discs – and the show – feature the kind of crowd-satisfying, sure-handed jazz that fans of Pam, Bill, and their cohorts have come to expect. While some of the selections come from bop legends like Miles Davis (“Ornithology”) and Sonny Rollins (“Oleo”), the group makes each number accessible to audiences without sacrificing one whit of musical integrity. Straight-ahead tunes like the above alternate with such evergreens as “Long Ago and Far Away,” “Skylark,” and even an inventive arrangement of Glenn Campbell’s 1977 pop-country hit “Southern Nights.”

“It’s jazz, and but it’s fairly commercial from the standpoint of what some people are doing in jazz, some of the fusion-type bands,” says Bill with a chuckle. “They don’t care whether anybody likes it or not. We kind of mix it up, and we want the audience to like it, you know.”

“Southern Nights,” along with most of the other selections on the new disc, were arranged by Scott McQuade, who also contributes on piano and accordion. A native of Canada, McQuade spent more than a decade based in Florida, playing cruise ships and other venues, before arriving in Tulsa in 2008. After meeting and working with him, Bill says, “I got serious about doing a record.”

In addition to their band of McQuade, drummer Yohe, and bassist Bill, the Crosbys added Robertson and saxophonist-clarinetist Tommy Poole, another one of the area’s top-drawer jazz players (in addition to being the Director of Jazz Studies at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah) to the recording group. Showing the versatility typical of the area’s working musicians, Robertson has played with everyone from Hank Thompson to the Temptations, and can be heard on, among other discs, the live Chet Baker album Out of Nowhere.

“We added Wade and Tommy Poole because we wanted to beef up the band [for the recording],” explains Pam. “We’ve been working with Scott, too, and he’s such an inspiration that we wanted to be sure to have a recording with him and that band.”

When it comes to credits and careers, the Crosbys hardly have to take a back seat. Native Oklahoman Pam began her time in the music business touring nationally with the venerable Sammy Kaye Orchestra, one of the longest-lived aggregations from the big-band era, Returning to Oklahoma after more than four years on the road, Pam soon found herself in demand for appearances at clubs, festivals, and theatrical productions – a demand that continues to this day.

Bill, who grew up in Oklahoma, has been a major presence on the Tulsa jazz scene for decades, occasionally touring nationally as well as backing celebrity performers like Marilyn Maye and Don Cherry in their local appearances. Founding members of the Tulsa Jazz Society, both Pam and Bill work tirelessly to increase awareness of live jazz in the Tulsa area – something that the two Jazz on A Summer’s Night discs and Sunday’s show will certainly help.

“Part of the reason for doing this [recording] is to kind of have it as part of our heritage,” says Pam, “something that we did that’s really us. We’d also like to sell some of them,” she adds with a laugh.

jazz on a summers night earlyBoth Jazz on A Summer’s Night discs will be available at the show – along with the earlier Pam Van Dyke Live CD – for $15 each or two for $25.

The Pam Van Dyke Crosby and Friends CD Release Concert is set to begin at 5:00

p.m. on Sunday, April 28, 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. Refreshments will be available for purchase.

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

 

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