Native Tulsan Terry Woodson Returns with Sinatra Jr.

Assistant Publisher


DANIEL C. CAMERON for GTR Newspapers

Terry Woodson conducts for Frank Sinatra Jr. He recently came through town with “Sinatra Sings Sinatra” and played in Broken Arrow as part of the grand opening week encore of the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center. Woodson says of the new , “this is a gorgeous building, absolutely gorgeous.”

Woodson is a native Tulsan. He attended elementary school at Roosevelt, high school at Tulsa Central and attended college at the University of Tulsa. He studied music at Central and at TU. He was very involved with band and orchestra. He even conducted the Tulsa Philharmonic orchestra for a while as he attended TU.

He played in and wrote for dance bands around town, too. He played jazz with Ken Downing and later Rick and Allan Cox. Woodson played bass trombone.

After college, Woodson moved to Hollywood to “make it big” as he puts it. He says it was a struggle until he met Henry Mancini. Mancini heard what Woodson had done and was impressed. They began working together in 1968 and did so until Mancini passed away in 1994.

The relationship with Mancini opened doors for Woodson. He soon was working on movies and putting together records with other artists, including Quincy Jones, Oliver Nelson, Percy Faith and Pat Williams to name a few.

In the early 1980s, Woodson inherited a music preparation service. The company’s client list included the Sinatras, Nelson Riddle and Roy Clark. As he became more engaged with this new endeavor, he played less and less until the business took all his time.

By the 1990s, Woodson was producing albums and in 1995, he produced “As I Remember It” with Frank Sinatra Jr. Woodson conducted for that album and has been conducting for Sinatra since. They recently did “That Face” on Rhino Records and have more projects in the works.

Woodson Tours with Sinatra, where they have a band of “first chairs,” permanent members of the band. Additionally, when they play a town, the rest of the band and orchestra are local musicians. Woodson says, “It’s a lot of work for me, but it’s a fun way to do it.” He goes on, “Tulsa has always had good musicians. This is a good orchestra.”

Woodson was not exaggerating. They played to perfection, lighting up the room with familiar hits like “New York, New York” and others. The highlight had to have been an emotion-bending rendition of Gershwin.

Updated 11-19-2009

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