It’s Grady Nichols vs. Straight Ahead in Battle of the Bands on Friday, June 4, 2010

In what is sure to be a heated “Battle of the Bands,” internationally renowned saxophonist Grady Nichols and his band will take on Detroit’s best known all-female quintet, Straight Ahead, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 4, 2010, at Regatta Park located just south of downtown Oklahoma City.

From small-town Midwest beginnings to the big time, Grady Nichols enjoys an audience as broad as his musical taste.  The recording star has opened for artists such as Ray Charles, Luciano Pavarotti, Jay Leno, The Temptations, The Righteous Brothers, Al Green, O’Jays and so many more including Wayman Tisdale, Roy Clark, Kim Waters, and Bob James.
Out of Detroit’s lively jazz scene, an all-female quintet, Straight Ahead, emerges and they have shown themselves to be powerful and imaginative composers and arrangers.  The Straight Ahead sound ranges from mainstream jazz, R&B, ballads, avant-garde to Brazilian funk.  The group has opened for many greats including Nina Simone and Nnenna Freelon.  In 1990, the group recorded their first album for Atlantic Jazz, “Look Straight Ahead” which made the Billboard Contemporary Jazz top 20 list.  Two other albums followed, “Body and Soul” and “Dance of the Forest Rain.”  
Mark Temple, president of the board of directors of Black Liberated Arts Center (BLAC) Inc. said in a news release, “It will be a lot of fun and a great way to continue the celebration of our 25th annual Charlie Christian International Music Festival.”
Tickets are $5 and may be purchased at Capitol Square Station, Charlie’s Jazz, Rhythm and Blues Store, Hopkins Hair Enterprises, KM66 and Learning Tree Toy Store in Oklahoma City.  For more information call (405) 524-3800 or visit www.charliechristianfestival.com.  Sponsors of the Charlie Christian International Music Festival include BancFirst, EMSA, City of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Arts Council, Oklahoma Breast Care Centers, Inc., Oklahoma City Beautiful, Oklahoma Department of Tourism, and University of Central Oklahoma.  

BareBones International Film and Music Festival continues through April 25, 2010, in Muskogee, OK

The 11th annual BareBones International Independent Film and Music Festival, is setting an historical milestone as it continues through to April 25, 2010, in Muskogee OK. The 11-day festival has welcomed its 1,000 independent film producer to Oklahoma. 
According to a news release, no other Oklahoma film festival comes close to that record.
The grassroots cultural festival, inaugurated in 1999,  has seen steady growth in attendance and quality of films despite its aversion to court major studios and celebrities. 
“We have nothing against Hollywood stars or movies, we have just chosen to focus our attention on the next generation of stars and star makers, and on helping to grow independent film makers in the state as we help to grow the industry here,” said ShIronbutterfly Ray, executive director and founder of the film festival in a news release.
While the festival is well-attended by working actors, directors, cinematographers and screenwriters from both coasts, it typically hosts film makers from all over the world who are making their first foray into moviemaking. “Some of the film makers have been in the industry for years as actors, or screenwriters, or stunt people, or cinematographers who decided they wanted to take their engagement in the industry to the next level and then others are novices or students who had an idea for a movie and decided they would make it, pretty much by any means necessary,” said Oscar Ray, festival marketing director and independent film producer. 
The festival will exhibit more than 170 films from 35 cities and 13 foreign countries, conduct workshops on acting, screenwriting and independent motion picture production while welcoming to Oklahoma and Muskogee more than 200 actors, screenwriters, directors and producers. The event is open to the public, and advanced tickets can be purchased onlineFor more information, go to www.barebonesfilmfestivals.org.
Even without courting celebrities, many have attended the festival and have shared in impromptu settings their wisdom and knowledge about the industry and moviemaking. Oklahoman Ryan Merriman (“Final Destination II,” “Lonesome Dove, “Comanche Moon”), Tonya York of York International, along with television producers, soap stars and successful screenwriters have given a nod to this one-of-a-kind film showcasing event. The festival has been twice named by Movie Maker magazine as one of the “top 20 film festivals in the U.S. to attend.”

25th annual Charlie Christian International Music Festival to convene June 1-6 in Oklahoma City

Black Liberated Arts Center Inc. announced this week that the 25th annual Charlie Christian International Music Festival will be held June 1-6, 2010, in Oklahoma City. This popular event will be held at several downtown venues.
 The Charlie Christian International Music Festival is the center piece of Oklahoma’s rich music history that produced international personalities Charlie Christian, father of Bebop; jazz and blues singer Jimmy Rushing; the Blue Devils, famous Territorial Band and Ralph Ellison, the voice of jazz music.
Urban contemporary jazz artist Najee and other well-known music acts (yet to be announced) will be the headliners for this year’s festival. There are more than 12 jazz, blues, gospel, rhythm & blues bands from Europe and the United States features in this year’s festival.
The Charlie Christian International Music Festival has featured music greats such as Regina Carter, the late Isaac Hayes, Branford Marsalis, the late Claude “Fiddler” Williams, Jay McShann and Little Milton; George Benson, Kirk Whalum and many others. Over the past 24 years, more than 500,000 people have danced to the music, snapped their fingers, and had a ball at the indoor and outdoor activities of the festival.

Plans under way for 2010 Charlie Christian International Music Festival


Mark Temple, board president of the Liberated Arts Center (BLAC) Inc., appointed Orville Prince as chairman of the 2010 Charlie Christian International Music Festival. The festival is scheduled to be held in early June 2010.
Soul Bowl Party in the Park kicks off the beginning a serious effort to fund a memorable experience for the 25th year of the festival.
“The idea behind the Soul Bowl Party in the Park is to give the community an opportunity to come together in a fun filled evening of hearing great music and seeing new talent as they enter into a little friendly competition in a T-Shirt contest that will benefit some high school in the area,” Prince said. “At the same time, it should be fun to see folks display their pride in their alma maters.
“I think the community is ready for this event. In fact, if we are as successful as we think, we will make it an annual event,” he concluded.
Temple indicated that in an act of strengthening the organization, several new board members will be seated in October prior to Oct. 18’s Ailey II performance at Rose State Performing Arts Center.
“We expect a big year for BLAC, Inc.,” Temple said. “In fact, it is exciting to me that so many people are coming forward asking to be involved with BLAC. It is amazing to me that in 2010, BLAC, Inc. will celebrate 40 years, the festival will celebrate 25 years, and we will celebrate 15 years of being a partner in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Partners in Education Program. There is no doubt it will be a year of celebration.”
For more information about BLAC, Inc. and its activities, call (405) 524-3800.

Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame announces summer concert series


The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame announced two upcoming special musical events for the summer.
“We are thrilled to present three top jazz ensembles and The Wild Women of Oklahoma Jazz for our Summer Concert series on Sunday afternoons at the Jazz Depot,” said Chuck Cissel, executive producer of the Summer Jazz Concert Series and the free JazzFEST 2009. “In addition, it is always exciting to announce our stars for JazzFEST, including Jazz Hall 2005 Legacy Award recipient, the incredible saxophonist, Eldredge Jackson, and his smooth jazz ensemble, Listening Pleasure. ElJack will headline our annual Oklahoma JazzFEST for 2009.
“Also on the bill with Eldredge will be Wayman Tisdale Challenge 2008 Winners, R&B sensation and local favorites WallStreet. WallStreet had the special privilege of traveling and performing with Wayman as his special musical guests on a jazz cruise around the Bahamas this past Spring. Opening the JazzFEST 2009 concert is one of Tulsa’s musical favorites, J3 Jazz and Blues Band, under the leadership of guitarist/vocalist, Rick Gill. JazzFEST will take place on Saturday evening, June 27 beginning at 6pm and concluding at 11pm at the Jazz Depot, 1st St. & Cincinnati (Upper Level) – inside the Jazz Depot – in the Great Performance Hall. Food, beverages and snacks will be available for purchase at JazzFEST.”

All Summer Jazz Concert Series performances will be held at the Jazz Depot at 5 p.m. Sundays. General admission is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, college students and Jazz Hall members and $5 for students. Participants may also reserve a seat at $20 per person at one of the tables of eight.
Reserved seating and table reservations must be purchased in advance of the concert date(s). For tickets or more information, call the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame at (918) 281-8600 or visit http://www.okjazz.org. Gift shop and concessions are available. All major credit cards are accepted.

Angel City Jazz announces 2009 artist lineup


The Angel City Jazz Festival announces its 2009 artist lineup for concerts taking place Labor Day weekend September 6-7, at the intimate and affordable John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood, CA. Headlining this year’s festival will be veteran woodwind player/composer Bennie Maupin and Dolphyana, with an all-star band performing west coast premiers of newly discovered compositions by the great Eric Dolphy. Also headlining will be world renowned trumpeter Dave Douglas and Brass Ecstasy, a recently formed band with the unique instrumentation of trumpet, french horn, trombone, tuba, and drums. Other artists appearing at the festival are Grammy award-winning pianist Billy Childs’ Jazz-Chamber Ensemble, The Nels Cline Singers with Jeff Parker of Tortoise, The Larry Goldings Organ Trio with Peter Bernstein on guitar & Bill Stewart on drums, The Satoko Fujii Four
with Natsuki Tamura on trumpet, and Mark Dresser on bass, Seattle based pianist Wayne Horvitz’s Gravitas Quartet, pianist Motoko Honda & Butoh master Oguri, Jesse Sharps’ The Gathering featuring vocalist Dwight Trible, and many others.
The Angel City Jazz Festival is a two-day outdoor event featuring innovative and original jazz musicians from the west coast and around the world. The 2009 festival presents established jazz artists as well as lesser known emerging talent, with a focus on west coast creative jazz. The Angel City Jazz Festival was founded in 2007 by jazz promoter Rocco Somazzi, and the first event was held at Barnsdall Art Park in Hollywood. Co-Producing the festival this year is Los Angeles based Cryptogramophone Records.
For tickets, log-on to http://www.fordtheatres.org, or call the Ford Box Office at (323) 461-3673.

Charlie Christian Jazz Festival to kick off in Oklahoma City


Oklahoma City radio personality and singer Cara Black will serve as mistress of ceremony during the 24th annual Charlie Christian International Jazz Festival on June 6-7. She will introduce Tulsa jazz saxophonist Grady Nichols and Dallas band All Funk Radio Show at 7:30 p.m. June 6th at Stage Center’s Tolbert Theater.
Gates open at noon at Regatta Park on June 7th for the outdoor festival. At 1:00 p.m., HypeLife from Memphis will pay a special tribute to Charlie Christian, Wayman Tisdale, Elvis Presley, all nationally recognized guitarists who were major forces in the field of guitar music.
Jazz organist Jeremy Thomas, accompanied by his trio; Kelvin Drake and his band “Mr. Guitar” will also perform as the evening continues with the likes of Drummer Walter Taylor and his group “Taylor Made.” Blues performer Garrett “Big G” Jacobson and Kirbie Greene and Friends will perform, leading to the final act – ”Class Act.”
Festival goers are asked to bring lawn chairs and blankets. Festival tickets may be purchased at Capital Square Station, Charlie’s Jazz Rhythm & Blues Store, KM66, Learning Tree Toy Store, Sage Restaurant and Black Liberated Arts Center Inc. For more information, call (405) 524-3800.

Texas band All Funk Radio Show to perform at jazz festival


All Funk Radio Show has performed at the Charlie Christian International Music Festival three times. They will return to the stage at 7:30 p.m. June 6 at Stage Center, 400 West Sheridan in Oklahoma City. A frequent performer at the casinos in Oklahoma, the Texas band was introduced to the music scene in Oklahoma by the festival. The combined musical experiences of the group include having played with the Emotions, Denise LaSalle, Chi-Lites, Tyrone Davis, Bobby Rush, Staple Singer, George Clinton, and The P Funk All Stars. Other experiences include the Bobby “Blue” Bland Band, Johnny Taylor, Archie Bell & The Drells, Benny Latimore, Freddie King, Qunicy Jones, Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, Bee Gees, Donny Hathaway, Ronnie Laws, Wildman Steve, Roy Ayers, Fingerprints, The Temptations, Teddy Pendergrass, and LED & The Love Company.
Tickets to the show are $20 and are on sale now at Capitol Square Station, Charlie’s Jazz, Rhythm & Blues Store, KM66, Sage Restaurant, Learning Tree Toy Store and Black Liberated Arts Center, Inc. For more information, call (405)524-3800 or view schedule information online at http://www.charliechristianfestival.com.
Sponsors for the festival include, BancFirst, Oklahoma Arts Council, City of Oklahoma City, Temple & Sons Funeral Directors, Fine Arts Institute of Oklahoma City University, Deep Deuce Business Association, Sage Restaurant, & H & J Management, Inc., a McDonald Franchise operation and EMSA.

Tulsa saxophonist Grady Nichols joins jazz festival lineup


Tulsa saxophonist Grady Nichols returns to the 24th annual Charlie Christian International Jazz Festival at 7:30 p.m. June 6 at Stage Center, 400 W. Sheridan, in Oklahoma City. Nichols has been the opening acts for jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum and legendary guitarist George Benson. He also has shared the stage with the late Wayman Tisdale, Ray Charles, The Temptations, The Righteous Brothers, Al Green, The O’Jays, Luciano Pavarotti, Jeffrey Osborne, Ellis Marsalis, David Benoit, Stanley Turrentine, Roy Clark, Kim Waters, and many others.
Tickets to the show are $20 and are on sale now at Capitol Square Station, Charlie’s Jazz, Rhythm & Blues Store, KM66, Sage Restaurant, Learning Tree Toy Store and Black Liberated Arts Center, Inc. For more information, call (405)524-3800 or view information online at http://www.charliechristianfestival.com.
Sponsors for the festival include, BancFirst, Oklahoma Arts Council, City of Oklahoma City, Temple & Sons Funeral Directors, Fine Arts Institute of Oklahoma City University, Deep Deuce Business Association, Sage Restaurant, & H & J Management, Inc., a McDonald Franchise operation and EMSA.

Kyle Eastwood ready to release “Metropolitain”


Bassist/composer/arranger Kyle Eastwood returns on June 2 with his fourth release, “Metropolitain,” on Mack Avenue Records. Recorded at Studio Ferber in Paris, France and co-produced by Erin Davis (son of Miles Davis) and by Eastwood’s longtime writing partner, Michael Stevens, “Metropolitain” features pianist Eric Legnini, trumpeter Till Brönner, drummer Manu Katché, and special guest, French vocalist Camille.

For jazz fans who are familiar with him, Eastwood grew up in Carmel, California and is the son of actor-director Clint Eastwood. While doing his homework, Kyle remembers listening to records of jazz icons such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Miles Davis. Clint Eastwood had been attending the Monterey Jazz Festival since it began in 1958, and when his children were born, it became an annual family outing.

Kyle’s projects include 1998’s “From Here To There,” 2004’s “Paris Blue,” and 2006’s “Now.” He has also contributed to the scores for six of his father’s films: “The Rookie” (1990), “Mystic River” (2002), “Million Dollar Baby” (2004), “Flags Of Our Fathers” (2006), “Letters From Iwo Jima” (2006), and “Gran Torino” (2008).

This release should be a fun listen.