Saturday, March 27, 2010
I studied jazz for six years of my life, so I know that it's an art form that's really open to analogy, but I'd never heard it put quite like this: Jazz, my friends, is like ice cream.
Thanks to the Tulsa Children's Museum, that's how I heard the genre described today.
Tulsa Children's Museum is Tulsa's museum without walls. Its programming takes place everywhere, from local libraries and museums to parks, festivals and, in the case of today, music halls.
Oh Daddy-O! is the last installment of TCM's Family Concert Series at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, at 110 E. Second Street in downtown Tulsa. In this educational concert, the audience to explore some of the hallmarks of jazz: Improvisation, syncopation and collaboration, all to help introduce Tulsa families to what's known as America's music.
TCM treated me and my boys to the 11 a.m. concert. It's over now, of course. But there's another show today at 3 p.m., and tickets are only $10.
Ladies and gentlemen and pint-sized cutie pies, this is the Jambalaya Jass Band.
This is Steve Ham, the leader of the band.
He's the one who taught me to play clarinet and saxophone when I was in the fifth grade, and he taught me a lot about singing, too. He always pushed us to improvise in band class, and he spent a lot of time training our ears so we could do that without sounding like a complete train wreck.
I've been lucky to have had a lot of great teachers, especially music teachers, but Mr. Ham kindled in me a life-long love of jazz and blues music. He's one cool cat, and he has a way with making this music accessible and exciting to young listeners.
As Mater says in the movie Cars, "That's Frank." Frank Brown is one of the most versatile and prolific musicians in Tulsa. You can see him everywhere from the Primo Room at Ciao! to the Tulsa Performing Arts Center playing a children's concert.
Or, at the Performing Arts Center helping me through a torchy song that I sang as Sarah Palin. Either, or. Frank rocks.
We all know this guy. That's Chuck Cissel, CEO of the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.
He's kind of a big deal. He was gracious enough to lay some of his sweet vocals on us today as Jamalaya's guest singer.
This, everyone, is Tina Rose. You may call her Your Majesty.
See, Tina Rose is the daughter of Leon and Mary Russell. She's Oklahoma music royalty, and she's a fabulous musician in her own right.
Near the end of the concert the kids were invited to join the band on stage.
Which the kids, of course, loved to death.
Before and after the concert families can head across the hall from the Williams Theater to learn more about improvisation by working together on a collaborative art project.
By the end of this morning's concert, a certain someone was ready to head that way.
Already cornering the ladies, eh, son?
My kid is such a mack daddy.
Is that what the kids are saying these days? Mack daddy? It is, right?
I guess if I have to ask, I'll never know.
Give the kids a chance to boogy this afternoon with the Jambalaya Jass Band and Tulsa Children's Museum. Who knows, you might just shake a tail feather or two yourself.
You'll probably want ice cream afterward, too.