<i>Jazz Hall Presents Five Special Summer Concerts </i>

Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

J3 ON AUG. 3: J3 Acoustic Jazz and Blues Band will play at the Jazz Hall Aug. 3 as part of the summer concert series. For more information, visit www.okjazz.org.

Courtesy of Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

Because of all the rain we’ve experienced over the past several weeks, it has been unseasonably cooler and wet in Green Country. It’s really been a comfortable summer so far.

The annual JazzFEST on June 21 proved to be a spectacular evening musically and the weather was absolutely perfect. The sun shone brightly, the temperature was high 80s and Tom Braxton, the headline artist, was sensational! So were the Uptown Horns, with vocalist Darel Christopher, What’s That, Hamilton Armstrong Band and Rockin Acoustic Circus continues to amaze. Kudos to everyone involved. A special thanks to all of our sponsors, volunteers, vendors and Jazz Hall members and to Robert Bailey, our JazzFEST chair. We enjoyed the music throughout the night and the crowd had a blast. Tulsa Stage and Top has a brand new 24-by-24 foot mobile stage with roof top canvas and lights that we were privileged to use for JazzFEST. The stage was spectacular! Joe Richey and Vivian Steele have out done themselves this time with the new stage. If you should need a stage for an outdoor event, you can reach Joe and Vivian at (918) 747-0472 or at www.steeleonline.net.

On a recent stroll through Riverwalk on a pleasant Saturday night, I enjoyed the music at the amphitheater and was able to sit back, relax and listen to the sounds of Travis Fite and Mike Rigney. On most weekends, you can catch Travis, along with drummer Arthur Thompson, organist Corey Mauser and Mike at Lola’s at Main and Brady. Also performing at Lola’s on alternate Friday or Saturday evenings is the funk master himself Charlie Redd and the Full Flava Kings. Lola’s is one of downtown Tulsa’s favorite eating establishments and the joint is always “jumpin.”

On another musical note for you jazz music lovers, check out the Thursday evening jazz jam session at the Primo Room in Ciao Restaurant, located in the Brookside area at Peoria and 33rd Street. On any given Thursday evening, you can catch the likes of jazz piano master Chuck Gardner, vocalist Jeff Shadley, pianist Tim Shadley, John Dellavedova on drums, vocalists Sandy Gardner, Pam Crosby, Scott McQuade on piano, JFJO’s Brian Haas, Reed Mathis, Josh Raymer, Matt Hayes, vocalists Jason Ofori and Annie Ellicott, guitarist Mike McClure, bassist Cortez Johnson and so many more. The music kicks off at 9 p.m.
Also be sure to mark your calendars and join the Jazz Hall for the upcoming concerts!

Summer Jazz Concert Series 2008 at the Jazz Depot
The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame began the Summer Jazz Concert Series on Sunday, July 20. There are four special Sunday afternoon concerts left featuring a number of talented musicians and vocalists.

July 27: The Talented Mr. Ofori
Young jazz vocalist and scat specialist, Jason Ofori comes back to the Jazz Depot for an encore performance. This dynamic young vocalist is destined for greatness. With his star on the rise, you will not want to miss this concert.

Aug. 3: J3 Acoustic Jazz & Blues Band
Featuring Jack Wolf on piano, with Rick Gill on guitar and vocals and Doug McDuffie on bass and vocals. You will love this amazing mix of musicians, and you’ll sit back, relax and enjoy many of your favorite jazz and blues classics.

Aug. 10: Blues and Jazz on a Sunday Afternoon
An afternoon with the amazing Darel Christopher and his band. You can’t go wrong with this truly inspiring artist. He sings, dances and has the best time on stage. He’s infectious and you don’t want to miss him in action. A very popular performer with Jazz Hall audiences!

Aug. 17: Rockin’ Acoustic Circus
This is one of the most incredible group of teen musicians you will ever see perform. Leader Rick Morton has worked diligently with this groundbreaking group and you must come and see for yourselves. Western Swing, jazz and acoustic music never sounded so good.

The Autumn Jazz Concert Series kicks off Sept. 14 and take place every Sunday at 5 p.m. through December 2008.

Another jazz event not to miss is the Jazz ‘n’ Wine Festival. The “King of Smooth Jazz,” saxophonist Dave Koz is coming to Oklahoma Sunday, Aug. 10, to headline the first Jazz ‘n’ Wine Festival at the Tidal School Winery in Drumright, Okla. Also on the bill, Tulsa’s own sax star Grady Nichols, Bruce Benson and myself.

The beautiful Tidal School Winery is midway between Oklahoma City and Tulsa, just two miles south of Drumright on Highway 16. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Children’s Hospital of Saint Francis. Gates open at 12 p.m. and the show starts at 2 p.m.

Talking with friends recently, I asked them “What else would you like to see being developed in the downtown area, now that the BOK Center is practically complete and the Jazz Hall of Fame is up and running?” The answers always center on three things: eating establishments, entertainment and fun things to do. Most said we need to be careful that visitors to the downtown arena don’t simply come to the arena, get in their cars after the show and drive away. I agree and hope that entrepreneurs are busy creating lots of new business ventures for the downtown area.

Updated 07-25-2008

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