By CHUCK CISSEL
Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame
STAYING IN TUNE: Ready to entertain during the holiday season and into 2007 are, from left seated, Amanda Presler, Chuck Cissel and Pat Moore. Standing, John Dellavedova, Ron Adams, Jeff Shadley and Jason De Long.
Enjoying the winter wonderland recently, a group of us from the Jazz Hall of Fame was singing one of the holiday season’s most famous songs, “Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, and since we’ve no place to go, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”
We took a brief pause, jarred by what we were singing, then looked at ALL the snow surrounding us and decided we should sing another tune, ha ha ha ha ha. We’d had enough snow already! Actually, we stopped singing altogether and began to focus on the musical events happening around T-Town and surrounding areas during the holiday season.
First on our list was, of course, the annual Holiday Jazz and Gospel Celebration held at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame on Sunday, Dec. 24 beginning at 5 p.m. The highlights of the evening include the glorious soprano voice of Oklahoma musical treasure Ms. Sara Jordan Powell and the magical keyboard work of the incomparable Donald Ryan (both Jazz Hall of Fame inductees). In addition, the Gospel Workshop Choir of America, Tulsa chapter, under the direction of Hall of Fame member Joey Crutcher, will shake and rattle the roof of the Jazz Hall with amazing holiday gospel singing. Get tickets at the door or call (918) 596-1001.
If you feel like taking a drive to Bartlesville, be sure to catch the legendary Oak Ridge Boys Christmas Show at the Bartlesville Community Center, 300 S.E. Adams Blvd. Visit online at www.bartlesvillecommunitycenter.com. The concert date is Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m. While in B’ville, also take in the sights at the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Price Tower Arts Center. Call (918) 336-4949.
Some of our local favorite hotspots always involve Gilcrease Museum (596-2700), Philbrook Museum (749-7941) and if you have not been, please make a holiday trip to the Richardson Asian Art Museum, 4770 S. Harvard Ave. Call 747-9393, or visit online www.richardsonart.org.
Also visit the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art, located at 2021 E. 71st St. For more info, call 492-1818. One holiday tradition you can take the kids to is the Tulsa Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker,” accompanied by the newly formed Tulsa Symphony Orchestra; call (918) 596-7111 or visit MyTicketOffice.com. Also performing at the TPAC is the American Indian Theatre Company’s “Song of Winter” in the Liddy Doenges Theatre, 110 E. Second St.; bring the kids. Call 596-7111.
New Year’s Eve is one of the great party nights of the year, and from the looks of things around Green Country, the Grady Nichols and Toni Estes Celebration will again rule at the Renaissance Hotel, 6808 S. 107th E. Ave. Grady and Toni will “wow” audiences with their unforgettable talents. Grady is one of the top saxophonists in all of Oklahoma and a national smooth jazz artist, while Ms. Estes is known for her stunning vocals and songwriting talents. Their New Year’s concert celebrates 1980s music. If you were not there last year, do not miss it this year! Call the Renaissance at 307-2600. The joint starts jumpin’ at 6:30 p.m.
On Jan. 7, the Tulsa Performing Arts Center Trust presents jazz trumpeter Chris Botti in concert at the TPAC. Critic Reed of New York City says, “Chris Botti is the sexiest trumpeter since Chet Baker (Oklahoma jazz legend and Jazz Hall Inductee). Tickets are only $15-$45. The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame is one of the sponsors of the event and will conduct a private “meet and greet” with Mr. Botti. He is a gifted instrumentalist, who has earned both critical acclaim and mainstream appreciation.
Botti’s latest album, To Love Again, is a collection of pop jazz standards featuring nine stand-out vocal performances by some of the greatest singers in modern pop, jazz, and rock. After the first week of release the album debuted in the Billboard Top 200 in the number 18 chart position promising great things. Billboard Magazine has predicted it could be “an even bigger hit” than its predecessor, “When I Fall in Love,” which remains in the Top Five of the Traditional Jazz Chart.
On Thursday evening, Nov. 30, the night of the historical snowstorm, many Tulsans braved the swirling weather and stepped to the beat of the Cool Smooth Jazz Christmas Concert at the Brady Theater, starring pianist David Benoit, guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Butler and the “smooth as silk” Michael Franks on vocals. These cats put on a heck of a show for us, and to tell you the truth, we forgot all about the snow and simply chilled/relaxed and enjoy these phenomenal artists. A special salute to everyone who came out in the snow storm for this outstanding concert.
Well, as you can see, there are lots of wonderful ways to celebrate the holiday season in Tulsa; we have a culturally rich and diverse menu from which to choose, including music, dance, special holiday events, parties, galleries and museums, sumptuous restaurants in Brookside, Cherry Street, 18th and Boston, downtown, 71st Street, Jenks, Broken Arrow, Utica Square, the Farm, delicious bar-b-que at Elmers on 41st and Peoria….and take a spin to Owasso; you may be pleasantly surprised.
In coming issues of GTR, you will hear more of the upcoming move of the Jazz Hall to its new location in downtown Tulsa (Union Depot Building). Call us at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame at (918) 596-1001 for more information.
From all of us at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, we wish you a Happy Holiday and a prosperous New Year. God’s Richest Blessings.