2013 Charlie Christian Festival attracts special guests as journey to centennial begins

Charlie Christian

Charlie Christian

This year’s Charlie Christian International Music Festival in Oklahoma City is attracting a contingent of people from the Lone Star state who have started their own celebrations of legendary guitarist Charlie Christian in Texas.

“We welcome everybody from near and far to join us in this history laden event,” festival chairman Mark Temple said in a news release. “We want them to know that not everything big happens in Texas. There are big things happening right here in Oklahoma City. For the first time,  we have four headliners for our event – Joe McBride, Najee, All Funk Radio Show, and Kirk Whalum and so much more.”

The 2013 festival is the beginning of a launch to the 100th anniversary of Christian in 2016.

“We invite the community to join us in making this one of the biggestand best events, yet,” Temple said. “We are pleased that the last two days of the festival will be held at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, site of the first Frederick A. Douglass High School established in 1896. In fact, the site will be special to these out of town guests because the murals on the walls of the ballpark showcase Charlie Christian, Calvary Baptist Church where his funeral was held, the Aldridge Theater where Charlie’s picture hung on the walls for years and so much more of the Deep Deuce History.”

Other special guests expected at the festival are remaining members of Charlie Christian’s family. Freddy Jenkins, a cousin to Christian, will travel from Arizona with his family to attend the event. Oklahoma Sen. Connie Johnson will present a proclamation at the Ralph Ellison program, and state Rep. Anastasia Pittman will open the festival at the ballpark.

To add to the festive occasion, Anita Arnold, executive director of Black Liberated Arts Center, said that as a bonus to the first 500 two-day ticket holders on Friday night, there will be free parking next to the ballpark at the red parking lot on the east side of Joe Carter Avenue. The festival will feature three events that are free to the public.

The festival schedule can be found at here, and tickets can be purchased online or in community outlets. Proceeds from the festival benefit will benefit BLAC, Inc. (Black Liberated Arts Center), a local not-for-profit organization known for presenting and producing educational arts programs and preserving African American history in Oklahoma City.

In Oklahoma: The Live Jazz Lovers Gig List for week of 10/25/2012

The Live Jazz Lovers Gig List

For Week of 10/25/2012


Jim & Jeanine

 Brought to you Courtesy of the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame 

 Click here to become a member!

October 25


The Begonias – Main Street Tavern,  200 S Main, Broken Arrow, Thursday night, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.


October 26


Myron Oliver’s Friday Night Free Thank You Concert: Following the huge success of his highly anticipated performance on July 22nd, saxophonist Myron Oliver is back by popular demand to do it all over again bigger and better. With a jaw-dropping performance of soul, blues, and jazz, Myron is taking the Tulsa community by storm. This show will feature a Who’s Who All-Star lineup of Oklahoma’s greatest musicians and vocalists including such artists as Rockwell Ryan Ripperger from the band Stephen Speaks, Eric Himan, Booker Gillespie, Cynthia Simmons, Cody Clinton, and Hall of Famers Leon Rollerson and Rudy Scott, along with his awesome band FuZed to name a few. If you like classic-modern soul, flavorful jazz, RnB, and dancing, you’re gonna love this next show!-Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, 111 E. 1st St. Upper Level, Friday night, 8 p.m., . $2 covered parking across the street.   Enter from Main Street and drive to 3rd level. Don’t miss this free Thank You Concert.


October 28


Vocalist Janet Rutland presents “What’ll I Do” – a celebration of the life and music of Irving Berlin.  Bring a young friend.  Special student prices. It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn about this brilliant composer’s contribution to our Great American Songbook as well as his fascinating life.  Entertaining and educational! It’s your last chance to catch this marvelous cast – Kathleen Kennedy, Kara Staiger, Barry Hensley, Terry Baxter and Scott McQuade-Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, 111 E. 1st St. Upper Level, Sunday afternoon, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., free covered parking


Susan Herndon – Bodean’s, Sunday night, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.


Pam Van Dyke Crosby with Frank Brown and Bill Crosby – Smoke on Cherry Street, Sunday night, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.


Shelby Eicher and Mark Bruner – Full Moon Cafe, Sunday night, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

October 27


Angie Cockrell and Mark Bennett, The Tropical Restaurant, 49th & Memorial, Saturday night, 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.

October 31


Jazzwich – Lunch and Jazz with 7 Blue, Oklahoma Jazz Depot, Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.


Annie Ellicott with Mark Bruner and Shelby Eicher – Full Moon Cafe, Wednesday night, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
7 Blue – Hey Mambo, 114 N Boston, Wednesday night, 7:30 to 10:00 p.m.


Mike Cameron – Cellar Dweller, 417 W 7th St, Wednesday night, 9:30 to 11:30 p.m.

October 30


Jazz Depot Jam Session – Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, Upper Level.   Tuesday night, 5:30 to 8:00 p.m.  Featured artist at 7 o’clock is guitarist Mark Cook. Come play or come listen – FREE


Kings of Music, a 7 piece band that plays every Tuesday for ballroom dancing –Moose Lodge, 11106 E. 7th Street, Tuesday night, 7:30 to 9:45 p.m.

This Weekend – Jim & Jeannine’s Gig List in Tulsa

Jim & Jeannine’s Gig List – For Live Jazz Lovers

Brought to you courtesy of the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame


Olivia Duhon with Frank Brown on guitar, Ron Adams on bass and Jimmy Karstein on drums – Ciao Primo Room, 3308 S. Peoria, Friday night, 9:00 to midnight.


Angie Cockrell and Mark Bennett – Tropical Restaurant, 49th & Memorial, Saturday night, 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.

Mike Cameron with Adam Ledbetter on keys, Jordan Hehl on bass and JJemar Poteat on drums – Ciao Primo Room, 3308 S. Peoria, Saturday night, 9:00 to midnight


Multi-instrumentalist and composer Ryan Tedder has made his name in Tulsa as a stellar sideman, playing with bands throughout the city. Now he is headlining his own show at the Jazz Depot, Tedder will rock the stage with all styles of contemporary jazz, including original compositions. He will b e joined by Steven Schrag on piano, Calvin Knowles on bass and Nicholas Foster on drums as well as Sarah Maud and Stephanie Oliver on vocals, Miles Ralston on vocals and guitar and Tim Shadley on bone – Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, 111 E. 1st St. Upper Level, Sunday afternoon, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., free covered parking

Nathan Wright – Smoke on Cherry Street, Sunday night, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Cynthia Simmons – Ciao Primo Room, 3308 S. Peoria, Sunday night, 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. – Cover $10


Jazz Depot Jam Session- Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, Tuesday night, 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. Come play or come listen – FREE

Kings of Music, a 7 piece band that plays every Tuesday for ballroom dancing – Moose Lodge, 11106 E. 7th Street, Tuesday night, 7:30 to 9:45.


Jazzwich – Lunch and Jazz with 7 Blue, Oklahoma Jazz Depot, Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Annie Ellicott with Mark Bruner and Shelby Eicher – Full Moon Cafe, Wednesday night, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

7 Blue – Hey Mambo, 114 N. Boston, Wednesday night, 7:30 p.m.


Mike Cameron and Scott McQuade – Main Street Tavern, 200 S Main, Broken Arrow, Thursday night, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Composer Ryan Tedder performs on Sunday, July 29 at Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame’s Jazz Depot

At 5 p.m. Sunday, July 29, 2012, as part of the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame’s Summer Series, multi-instrumentalist and composer Ryan Tedder delivers a mix of new original music and imaginative arrangements. The performance is at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame’s Jazz Depot, 111 E. First St., in Tulsa, OK.

Tedder, a Tulsan multi-instrumentalist/composer, has been performing professionally for 10 years.  Proficient in R&B, reggae, classical, Latin, rock, and jazz styles, he has played with local Tulsa bands Citizen Mundi and the Jetset Kings as well as having performed a wide array of studio work.  Prior to receiving his bachelor of arts degree in music, Ryan played bassoon, bass clarinet, and saxophones in several University of Tulsa theatre productions, most notably “Kiss Me, Kate” and “Carnival.”  In addition to his freelance career on woodwinds, Ryan also has been teaching guitar, piano, and music theory lessons for two years at Oklahoma Music Academy. 
To enjoy the jazz, order your tickets online or call Bettie Downing at (918) 281-8609. Ticket prices are $15 for general admission, $10 for members and seniors, or $20 for reserved table seating. For more information, go to http://okjazz.org.

BLAC Inc. director to receive Creative Women of Oklahoma Award

Anita Arnold

Anita G. Arnold, executive director of Black Liberated Arts Center (BLAC) Inc. in Oklahoma City, OK, has been chosen to receive the Creative Women of Oklahoma Award at noon on Saturday, June 9 by Delta Kappa Gamma of the International Society for Key Women Educators.

Arnold learned in a letter that she would receive the Gamma State award as the author of “Oklahoma City Music: Deep Deuce and Beyond.” The award is given in recognition of Oklahoma women who excel through an expression of creativity that encourages, inspires and reaches children. According to the letter, “the extraordinary story of the place and people of Deep Deuce is exemplary of these qualities.

Delta Kappa Gamma Society of International Society for Key Women Educators is a professional honorary society of 150,000 women from 14 different countries. It is a membership by invitation only society. Among their several purposes are 1) To unite women educators of the world in a genuine spiritual fellowship and 2) To honor women who have given or who evidence a potential for distinctive service in any field of education.

Arnold, who is in the field of arts education, said she is thrilled to have been recognized by the international organization for the work that she has done. 

“It is reflective of the great music history, traditions and African Americans in Oklahoma City. It is wonderful to know that others in our state and across the world think so highly of this history,” she said in a news release. “I am just an instrument to bring that awareness to Oklahoma. It is an honor, indeed, and an humbling experience to find myself in this place at this time.”

The affair will be held at Yukon High School. Arnold will do a book signing of “Oklahoma City Music: Deep Deuce and Beyond” at the event. She is an author of three other books.

27th annual Charlie Christian International Music Festival kicks off in Oklahoma City on May 29

Charlie Christian

In a recent news release, Anita Arnold, executive director of Black Liberated Arts Center Inc. in Oklahoma City, said, “The 27th annual Charlie Christian International Music Festival promises to be full of nostalgia, great music of many genres, food, arts and crafts and so much more. The event will be spread out in four different venues.”

The festival kicked off at 8:30 a.m.Tuesday, May 29, 2012, at the Oklahoma City Council Chambers at 8:30 a.m. with the Morris McCraven Trio setting a jazzy atmosphere for the festival. Mayor Mick Cornett officially proclaimed this week as Charlie Christian Festival week (May 29 through June 3, 2012). Urban Roots, located in the heart of Deep Deuce featured at 6 p.m. music, the opening of the Deep Deuce Photo Exhibit and a book signing by Anita G. Arnold, author of “Oklahoma City Music: Deep Deuce and Beyond.” 

On Wednesday, May, 30, Douglass High School is the venue for the Frederick A. Douglass High School Band program, which includes a performance by the award-winning Douglass
band, acknowledgement of those who contributed to the band drive to outfit a 100-piece marching band, and a special exhibit of the school’s fine arts department during its hey day from the 1940s through the 1950s. The Oklahoma History Center is the curator of the exhibit that will include a saxophone from the 1940s belonging to Jack Washington, photos of bands, choirs, choruses, sheet music and more. 

Arnold said, “It is time to reclaim our excellence and history. These two exhibits acquaint young and old with a golden period in the African American experience.” The free event is open to the public and opens at 1:00 p.m.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, May 31, there will be jamming across Oklahoma City as musicians and singers sit in with bands at Woody’s Sports Bar and Grill and Urban Roots. Musicians are admitted free and are invited to jam with the house band as their admission to the event. Everybody else pays $5 at the door. The public is invited to come out and check it out.

The outdoor festival on Friday, June 1 and Saturday, June 2 begins at 6 p.m. at the Metro Technology Amphitheater, 1900 Springlake Drive. Reality and the New Era opens the festival on Friday with follow-up artists Equilibrium, Billie Jeane and the Robert Banks Band. Popular group After Five Jazz will headline and close out Friday night’s big fun in the park. This will be the first appearance of the group since the mid-1990s when the group went on to other things. Congo Drummer Tre Balfour of Palmdale, Calif., will join soul mates drummer Walter Taylor, keyboardist David Carter, and guitarist Maurice as they bring back their heart wrenching, top tapping sound that landed them gigs, backing artists such as Lala Hathaway and opening for guitarist George Benson, among others.

On Saturday, June 2, Miss Cooki, noted for her distinct vocals, will open and insure a memorable experience. Spencer Brown and The Dudes follow and set the stage right for Jeremy Jackson and Sultry Sound. The fresh new sounds in this year’s festival flow right into the smooth jazz sounds of Tulsa saxophonist Grady Nichols, who opens for headliner Jeremy Thomas Quartet. Thomas recently returned from touring with David Sanborn. Thomas is, the drummer for two-time Grammy Award nominee and world renowned jazz organist Joey Defrancesco. Thomas will leave on two tours in June and is scheduled for a Jazz Cruise next year. 

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for both days. Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets, lawn chairs or comfortable seating. No food or beverages will be allowed through the gates.

At 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 3, at Frederick A. Douglass High School Auditorium, the Rev. Dr. A. Cortes Rex will be featured in a gospel show, “A Tribute to James Cleveland.” Rex, who was influenced by Cleveland, the late founder of the Gospel Music Workshops of America, will narrate and sing during the tribute. Rex was born in Wichita, Kan., but grew up in Tulsa. He lives in California, where he as been a resident since graduating from Langston University. Rex has established a reputation with two of his most popular shows that pay homage to James Cleveland and Dr. Martin L. King. 

Tickets are on sale for the show and the outdoor festival at Charlie’s Jazz, Rhythm and Blues Store, Guestroom Records, Hopkins Haircare, Learning Tree Toys and Books and Woody’s Sports Bar & Grill. The Charlie Christian International Music Festival is sponsored by BancFirst, Oklahoma Arts Council, City of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Natural Gas Co., Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co., EMSA, Friends of the Historical Society Archives, and Tinker Federal Credit Union. This is a BLAC Inc. production.

Charlie Christian International Music Festival Band Line Up

Friday, June 1, 2012

6 – 6:45 p.m. Reality and the New Era

7 – 7:45 p.m.  Equilibrium

8 – 8:45 p.m. Billie Jeane

9 – 9:45 p.m.  Robert Banks Band

10 – 11:15 p.m. After Five Jazz

Saturday, June 2, 2012

6 – 6:45 p.m.  Miss Cooki

7 – 7:45 p.m. Spencer Brown and the Dudes

8 – 8:45 p.m. Jeremy Jackson and Sultry Soul

9 – 10 p.m. Grady Nichols Band

10:15 – 11:30 p.m.  Jeremy Thomas Quartet

BLAC Inc. director Anita Arnold receives Charlie Christian Tribute in Texas

Anita Arnold, right, receives framed Tribute to Charlie Christian.

During an evening of celebration and tribute to Charlie Christian in Bonham, Texas, Anita Arnold, executive director of Black Liberated Arts Center (BLAC), Inc. of Oklahoma City, OK, was presented a framed Tribute to Charlie Christian made from the wood of the house where the jazz legend was born. 

The tribute contained the words to the song “Rose Room” that launched Christian’s career with Benny Goodman and, ultimately, led to his iconic stature in the music world. A picture of Charlie Christian and his birthplace are, also, included in the tribute that sold for $1,000 in an auction and was donated by the owner of the piece.

The evening was filled with Charlie Christian music played by the James Deering Quartet of Grayson College. The talented guitarist, Seve Mexia, featured in the quartet played music that he transcribed from music played from Charlie Christian CDs as a final test from his jazz music professor at the college. Arnold narrated the concert with little-known information about Charlie Christian throughout the evening. The evening concluded with a book signing by Arnold, author of the book, “Oklahoma City Music: Deep Deuce and Beyond.” 

Rev. Dr. A. Cortes Rex Jr. featured in Charlie Christian International Music Festival in June

Rev. Dr. A. Cortes Rex Jr.

The Rev. Dr. A. Cortes Rex Jr. of Los Angeles is scheduled to appear in Oklahoma City on June 3, 2012, during the 27th annual Charlie Christian International Music Festival. The gospel concert, a tribute to the late Rev. James Cleveland, founder of the Gospel Music Workshops of America, will be held at 5 p.m. at Frederick A.Douglass Auditorium.

Rex, a friend of Cleveland, said in a recent news release, he recalled that during the formative years of his singing ministry, he was influenced by Cleveland, Clara Ward and Allie B. Anderson (his grandfather), Aretha Franklin and many others. Rex never dreamed that he would meet Rev. Cleveland and someday do a show in tribute to a man whose songs touched him and many others.

Born in Wichita, Kan., Rex grew up in Tulsa, OK, where he attended Booker T. Washington High School. Following graduation, he attended Langston University, where he graduated in 1980 with honors and was voted the Most Talented Male in his senior year. He later pursued a Masters of Administration Degree at California State University at Dominguez Hills in Long Beach, Calif.

He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and is the president and producer of Signs
and Wonders Inc. Rex sang background for live performances and recording sessions with well-known gospel and secular artists. He received the City of Los Angeles Motown Award in  April 2008. He was nominated to the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in 2009.

 Rex will perform the show, “A Tribute to Rev. James Cleveland” and will be joined by Gospel Music Workshops of Oklahoma musicians and other special guests. Tickets are $10 and $15 for VIP seats. For more information, call Black Liberated Arts Center Inc. at (405) 524-3800.

The Charlie Christian International Music Festival is sponsored by BLAC Inc., Friends of the Oklahoma City/County Historical Society and Oklahoma Arts Council and Integris Health.

Ugandan orphans spread hope for children in poverty

The Ugandan Orphans Choir, a group of 10 talented children ranging from ages 11 to 14, has announced that they will be performing in Oklahoma during the month of May. All 10 children have been given hope through Childcare Worldwide’s sponsorship program, and now they devote their energy to helping other children have access to sponsorship and education.

These exuberant children delight audiences as they dance in colorful, traditional
costumers accompanied by authentic African drums and other instruments. They sing
African songs in their native language, which in Luganda, and have learned some songs
in English as well. Former audience member Kurt Swanson said in a new release, “Audiences just can’t seem to get enough of what these children have to share; from their natural musical
talents to their raw expression of African culture. People are also amazed by the deep joy
these children have despite the circumstances they came from.”

Each of the 10  children has a story to tell about how their lives have been changed through the power of education provided through Childcare Worldwide’s sponsorship program. The choir has performed in churches and schools nationwide, as well as reputable venues such as Disneyland, KING 5 Television’s “New Day Northwest” as well as Qwest Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks.

The Ugandan Orphans Choir will be performing at the following locations in Oklahoma City:
1 p.m. Wednesday, May 9, 2012 – Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School.

1 p.m. Thursday, May 24, 2012 – Douglass High School.

1 p.m. Friday, May 25, 2012 – Wilson Arts Integration Elementary School.

The Ugandan Orphans Choir is a ministry of Childcare Worldwide and has been devoted to transforming lives of children for over 30 years in nine developing countries. Childcare Worldwide seeks to make learning and the hope of future employment possible for every child they serve. The ultimate goal of sponsorship and education is to break the cycle of poverty in children’s lives.

According to Anita G. Arnold, executive director of BLAC Inc., the concerts are free and open to the public. For more information, call BLAC Inc. at (405) 524-3800.

BLAC Inc. director Anita Arnold named 2012 Multicultural Citizen of the Year

Anita Arnold
According to a recent news release, the Multicultural Education Institute at the University of Central Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, named Anita Arnold, executive director of Black Liberated Arts Center (BLAC) Inc. as the 2012 Multicultural Citizen of the Year. 

The ceremony was held March 9, 2012, at the UCO Student Union Ballroom.  According to Dr. Silvya A. Kirk, the annual award is presented in recognition of excellence in multicultural education to an individual who must meet one or more of the Institute’s 10 selection criteria which include being an upstanding role model in the community. 

Kirk said Arnold’s years of service in multicultural and diverse activities as well as involvement in the community was what influenced the committee’s decision. 

Among the many programs that Arnold has presented that reflects multiculturalism include BLAC Inc.’s Statewide Professional Development Conference for Teachers and Artists as well as the Charlie Christian International Music Festival.  For more than 21 years, Arnold has worked to establish a reputation of excellence in the arts and education by bringing to Oklahoma experts in education and music. 

Arnold, an Oklahoma native, is the recipient of many local, state and national awards including the prestigious Governor’s Arts Award, City/County Pathmakers Award, Oklahoma Human Rights Award, and the ONE Award. She is also the author of four cultural history books on Deep Deuce and Charlie Christian.  Her most recent book is “Oklahoma City Music: Deep Deuce and Beyond,” published by Arcadia Publishing, South Carolina.