By CHUCK CISSEL
It’s that time of the year where we all get wrapped up in the holiday spirit—parties, last minute Christmas shopping, holiday cookies, cakes, gift-wrapping and our favorite beverages to celebrate the biggest holiday of the year—Christmas. One can also enjoy the beautifully lit homes all around Tulsa, Utica Square’s tree-lined holiday display of Christmas lights, downtown Tulsa’s decorated streets, and of course the Rhema Christmas light tour in Broken Arrow—one of the most amazing displays of Christmas ornaments and lights in all of Oklahoma.
Music is also in the air, and the melodic refrain of “Deck the halls with bows of holly ….. tis the season to be jolly,” can be heard streaming from stereos in shopping centers, boutiques and restaurants all over the Metro Tulsa area. Christmas music can also be heard at holiday concerts, special events, office parties, on our favorite radio stations and Christmas specials too numerous to mention. And speaking of music, let’s take a closer look at what’s happening in Tulsa’s downtown music and arts scene.
The Inside Scoop
One of the “hot” spots in the Brady District in downtown Tulsa is Lola’s, a restaurant and music haven. Every Thursday evening, beginning at 7 p.m., you can enjoy vocal chanteuse Rebecca Ungerman with the Frank Brown Trio. Also, taking Center Stage at Lola’s on December 23 will be Tulsa music favorite Charlie Redd and the Full Flava Kings. They will “rock the house” with some of the best rhythm and blues music in town and, you can dance! Call 592-7995.
For a more relaxed evening of musical enjoyment, make a date to visit Gilcrease Museum every third Tuesday of each month. On December 20, the museum, in collaboration with the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, presents the Third Tuesdays Jazz at Gilcrease music series, featuring Steve Ham’s Jambalaya Jazz Band performing holiday favorites and Dixieland music from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. For more information, call the Gilcrease Museum at 596-2757.
Catch Tulsa guitar jazz legend Tommy Crook with Leo Jones on bass in concert at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, 322 N. Greenwood Ave. on Sunday, December 18 at 5 p.m. Also on the bill is the Gospel Music Workshop Choir of America, Tulsa Chapter, under the musical direction of Dr. Joey Crutcher. According to Crutcher, “We plan to sing holiday tunes and gospel classics and give everyone something to shout about!” Both Mr. Crook and Dr. Crutcher are Jazz Hall of Fame inductees. Call 596-1001 or visit online at www.okjazz.org
Did you know there is a new restaurant / jazz club in town? It’s Pacific Heights, located at 531 E. Apache, off Cincinnati, and features the music of local jazz pianist Ted Moses. Music hits on Thursday and Friday evenings beginning at 7 p.m.. In addition to great jazz, the cuisine is exceptional and an art gallery is on the premises. You can purchase art or simply enjoy the exhibit. Call 425-4444 or 810-6680.
The Inside Scoop is there will be a brand new jazz night club opening in the Brookside area after the first of the year and it will feature sumptuous cuisine, the coolest of jazz and ambience that is red hot. Keep your eyes peeled for what promises to be the new “in spot” for jazz. Any idea who may be behind this new creative hangout?
Always a joy to watch is the holiday favorite, The Nutcracker, with performances through December 24 in the Chapman Music Hall at the PAC. And, while running errands, stop by Gilcrease Museum and catch the American Spirit exhibition—visit www.gilcrease.org. Visit Philbrook Museum and check out the Thomas Moran exhibit, “Visual Splendor” through December 30. Call 749-7941.
Radio is becoming the new frontier for listening to jazz music in the Tulsa area. At Rogers State University (RSU) in Claremore, you can enjoy “All That Jazz” at 91.3 FM on Saturdays from 3-6 p.m.. For those who enjoy listening to smooth jazz, you can now turn your dial to 107.9 FM to catch smooth jazz favorites.
The Inside Scoop informs that Clear Channel Broadcasting will unveil a new radio program highlighting the traditional jazz music of Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Wynton Marsalis and other jazz greats. Stay tuned for the kick-off date of this new radio program on 1300 AM – KAKC. Inside Scoop on the street is that the new disc jockey will be familiar to all of us. Stay tuned as we uncover the identity of this mystery disc jockey.
“All religions, arts, and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.” Albert Einstein.
Chuck Cissel, a former Broadway star and internationally-known singer, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in Tulsa.