By CHUCK CISSEL
CEO, Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame
GENTLEMEN OF SWING: From left, Jason Ofori, Jeff Shadley and Phil Armstrong make up three-fourths of “Four Gentlemen of Swing,??? performing Dec. 4 at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. Absent from the photo is fourth member Devre Jackson.
Courtesy CHUCK CISSEL
There are some really cool changes taking place on the Tulsa scene in the arts and entertainment community. Let’s begin with the new jazz club, The Primo Room in Ciao Restaurant at 33rd and Peoria. The host and hostess for this wonderful new addition to Tulsa is the vivacious Kathleen Kennedy, along with her husband, the very cool James Andrews, owners of the legendary Italian restaurant Ciao in Brookside.
Both Kathleen and James have taken the time to create a truly amazing new club for jazz lovers, with beautiful album covers and art work on display. Showtime at the Primo Room is from 9 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday evenings and 8-11 p.m. on Sundays. After the Jazz Hall of Fame concerts on Sunday evenings, we all head over to Ciao for dinner, drinks and some more sumptuous jazz, come and join us. I guarantee you will have a blast! Make your reservations by calling Ciao at (918) 293-9333. For the record, James and Kathleen are also the owners of the Osage Restaurant in Gilcrease Museum. Their Sunday brunch is one of the best in town and filled with delicious breakfast items and scrumptious entrees. You can also enjoy a marvelous lunch during the week and the service is impeccable. Call the Gilcrease Museum for reservations at (918) 596-2700.
The Jazz Depot is proud to present two dynamic concerts to be held on Saturday, Nov. 24 featuring Tulsa’s own jazz vocal sensation Annie Ellicott and from New York by way of San Francisco, vocalist Erin Austin. These two popular singers will be performing under the umbrella of the musical group, Sr. Threadius Mongus. This will be an evening filled with fantastic original compositions by Erin Austin, Rob Gungor, Jeff Davis and Jonathan Taylor, along with some favorite jazz standards by the likes of Charlie Mingus and Thelonius Monk.
Annie’s band includes the wildly popular Jeff Davis on guitar, Matt Hayes on bass, Jonathan Taylor on drums, Chris Foster piano and Zach Elkin on saxophone. Erin’s band includes her husband Rob Gungor on keys, Reed Mathis of Jacob Fred fame on bass, Josh Raymer on drums, also of Jacob Fred. The first show begins at 6 p.m. and the second show is 9 p.m. The Jazz Depot is located in downtown Tulsa at 111 E. First Street, between Cincinnati and Boston (the Upper Level on the Bridge). Parking is available on the premises. General admission is $12 advance and $15 at door. Get your tickets online at www.okjazz.org or call the Jazz Depot at (918) 596-1001. Tickets are also available at Shades of Brown Coffee and Art, The Coffee House on Cherry Street, Dwelling Spaces, Under the Mooch and Starship.
Mark you calendars for other upcoming musical events at the Jazz Depot:
Sunday, Nov. 25 – Mike Leland Trio
The Jazz Hall features great jazz pianist Mike Leland and his outstanding trio, including Ron Adams on bass and Damon Daniel on drums. Look for Mike to play solid jazz standards and music from his recent CD releases. Showtime is 5 p.m. at the Jazz Depot.
Sunday, Dec. 2 – Four Gentlemen of Swing
The Jazz Depot will showcase the talents of four musically diverse gentlemen. Phil Armstrong’s voice is reminiscent of smooth sounds of a summer’s day and Jason Ofori’s silken voice and raw energy leave you on the edge of your seat clamoring for more. Not to be outdone, Devre Jackson brings a sound reminiscent of the blues of years gone by and Jeff Shadley’s hint of Sinatra makes you hopeful for “Autumn in New York.” These four gentlemen share the stage with Sonny Gray on piano, Jack Hanna on bass and John Dellavedova on drums.
Sunday, Dec. 9 – An Evening with Pam VanDyke Crosby
This centennial tribute to Oklahoma Jazz vocalists such as Patti Page, Lee Wiley, Kay Starr, Chet Baker and Crosby herself are a true celebration of America and Oklahoma’s classical music. The honeyed tones and melodious singing voice of one of the Jazz Hall favorites will delight your musical senses. Crosby performs a show especially crafted for the Jazz Depot audiences and is joined by Chuck Gardner on piano, Bill Crosby on bass, Frank Brown on guitar and Tony Yohe on drums.
Sunday, Dec. 16 – An evening with Chuck and Sandy Gardner
After their successful performance of “Letter From the Depot” to a capacity crowd last season, Sandy Gardner along with Chuck Gardner, Jim Bates and Ken Leverette have been invited back to perform a new show centered around songs we all know and love from Broadway musicals, showcasing some brand new tunes. Sure to make the list will be songs honoring the state of Oklahoma as we celebrate our 100th year anniversary.
Monday, Dec. 31 – Grady Nichols New Year’s Eve Bash
Grady Nichols New Year’s Eve bash will be held at the Jazz Depot with his Divas, Dance and Sax Show. There is a new twist this year, because the Divas will be Tulsa music favorites Mary Cogan, Jenny Labow an Starr Fisher. We will party the night away at the Jazz Depot with Grady, Mary, Jenny and Starr and they will be performing all of your favorite pop, R&B and Top-40 hits. The show kicks off at 10 p.m. and goes until 1 a.m. Doors open at 9 p.m. Crowne Plaza Hotel packages with rooms, dinner and show are available. Dinner and show packages are also available or you can get order tickets to the party. Call the Jazz Hall now at (918) 596-1001 or pick up your tickets online at www.okjazz.org.