Anita Arnold BLAC Inc. Black Liberated Arts Center Inc. Bonham books Deep Deuce jazz music Oklahoma Oklahoma City Texas United States

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.” 

benefit Black Academy of Arts and Letters gospel performances releases Texas United States

“Medicine – Live at The Black Academy of Arts and Letters Star-Studded Project” hits stores July 26, 2011, and will benefit The Black Academy

Black Academy of Arts and Letters

Dallas, TX – In October 2010, several renowned stars came to celebrate and help raise operating revenue for the Black Academy of Arts and Letters that was founded by Curtis King 34 years ago.
In a bad economy the first thing that gets cut is arts funding,” says King, whose 250,000 square foot complex is adjacent to the Dallas City Hall, in a news release. “However, it’s the plays, concerts, poetry readings and other inspiring programming we offer that helps people get through rough times like these. So, we’re thrilled that these artists came together to make a CD that will raise money to help keep these programs going.”
The majority of the songs on the 13-track, Medicine – Live At The Black Academy of Arts and Letters (MCG Records/ $13.99 SRLP), were written or co-written by Sam “Shake” Anderson, a veteran bassist who has toured with the likes of Ray Charles, Curtis Mayfield and Bruce Hornsby. It was recorded live at The Black Academy.  Backed by the 80-voice Black Academy Choir, American Idol champion Ruben Studdard performed two of the album’s highlights. “Medicine For Someone Else” has a bluesy feel and shows off a raspier tone for Studdard, while the ballad “Teach Me to Love” boasts an unplugged groove.
The album is not a typical gospel set. On it, the songs range from a brash critique of parasite preachers on “PTYHOMP (Please Take Your Hands Out My Pocket)” to the bloody waters of the Atlantic Slave Trade on Jasmine Guy’s spoken-word recitation of Curtis King’s “My Language” poem.  Ann Nesby (former lead singer for The Sounds of Blackness) wraps her big voice around the poignant anthem, “What Would You Have Me Do?” Yarbrough & Peoples, best known for their 1981 #1 R&B smash “Don’t Stop the Music,” deliver the funk on the percolating street jam, “Jump Til’ You Feel Something.” Tommie Young West, who recorded classic R&B sides for Louisiana’s Soul Power label in the early ’70s, rocks the house on the pulsating “Won’t Have to Worry” while Brenda Ellis’ full alto pulverizes the paean, “Bask (In the Presence of the Lord).”
“I look back on my days of the handling of such mega superstars as Phillip Bailey of Earth Wind & Fire, Leon Patillo of Santana, Helen Baylor, Shirley Caesar, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Denise Williams, and the incredible Al Green,” says James Bullard, president and CEO of Majestic Communications Group (MCG). “This project, in my opinion, is comparable to those superstars. My blood is pumping like never before. This is going to be a big project and is destine to go all the way to the top.  I am excited beyond words about this project.”
Although, The Black Academy has been a fixture on Dallas’ local arts scene for over three decades, the organization also has a national standing. Its 1987 fundraising CD by Eartha Kitt entitled, My Way: Musical Tribute to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (Caravan of Dreams) sold over 250,000 copies. The Academy later funded national touring productions of “Black Music and the Civil Rights Movement,” “Symphony with the Divas,” and the musical, “Blues Bar.” For more information, go to