2004 Inductees

RAMSEY LEWIS - Jay McShann Lifetime Achievement Award
Jazz legend, composer, Grammy winner, and pianist, Ramsey Lewis has been referred to as “the great performer,” a title reflecting his performance style and musical selections which display his early gospel playing and classical training along with his love of jazz and other musical forms.

Lewis was born in Chicago in 1935 and by 1965; he was one of the nation’s most successful jazz pianists, topping the charts with In Crowd, Hang on Sloopy and Wade in the Water.  He first captivated fans with his first album, Ramsey Lewis and the Gentlemen of Swing by the Ramsey Lewis Trio. With three Grammy Awards and seven gold records, the legendary Ramsey Lewis hosts WMUA-FM Chicago’s weekday morning drive-time radio show for which he has been awarded R&R’s 1999 and 2000 Personality of the Year Award.  He also hosts a syndicated “Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis,” a two hour radio program which airs in over 65 cities throughout the US.

Lewis has performed concerts and has played many of the jazz festivals and summer venues in the US. He has performed with over 25 symphony orchestras in the US and Canada and has performed in concert and at festivals throughout Europe, Japan, Mexico and the Caribbean.

STANLEY JORDAN - Living Legend Award
Trying to describe Stanley Jordan in simple terms is like trying to explain Einstein’s Theory of Relativity in ten words or less.

Best known as a guitarist who has made major technical and musical contributions to his instrument, Jordan has already made a name for himself as one of the most significant guitarists. Stanley Jordan is a jazz/jazz fusion guitarist, best known for his development of the touch technique for playing guitars. The touch technique (or tapping technique) uses the hammering of a single finger on the string at the frets to create vibrations in the string, rather than plucking or strumming with one hand while holding the strings at the frets with the other. Because only one finger of one hand is required to produce this sound, masters of the technique can play two or more parts simultaneously. He plays with an uncommon depth of feeling. Many who see him perform fore the first time are struck by the emotional intensity of his playing. There are times when he seems totally immersed in the music. 

Jimmy Webster is the earliest guitarist known to have used the tapping technique seriously, but Jordan is regarded as the technique's only virtuoso, though there have been several guitarists to employ a similar method of playing, by using double-necked guitars.

Among his releases are Magic Touch, Standards, Flying Home, Cornucopia, Stolen Moments, Bolero, The Best of Stanley Jordan, and Stanley Jordan Live in New York.

FRANK MANTOOTH - Jazz 
Born in Tulsa, Frank Mantooth was a pianist; composer, arranger, clinician and educator resided in Garden City, Kansas. Frank's five albums, "Suite Tooth," "Persevere," "Dangerous Precedent," "Sophisticated Lady," and "A Miracle" have garnered a total of eleven Grammy nominations in both writing and playing categories. Frank's last CD project, "A Miracle," on the Seabreeze label, features Pete Christlieb, Kevin Mahogany, Diane Schuur, Pat LaBarbera, Bobby Shew, Kim Park, and other jazz artists.

He earned a degree in music from North Texas State University, contributed arrangements as a member of the Air Force Academy Falconaires, and spent several years in Austria, where he earned his piano degree from the Vienna Hochshule fuer Musik. After returning to the U.S., he was commissioned to write music for Doc Severinsen, The Kansas City Symphony and the Madison Symphony Orchestra.  Writing commissions came from the Kansas City Symphony, the Madison Symphony Orchestra, Doc Severinsen, Pete Christlieb, Louie Bellson, and the USAF Airmen of Note.  He was a very important jazz musician, not just in the Midwest, but also in the entire jazz world.

Frank published five volumes of "The Best Chord Changes for the World's Greatest Standards" for the Hal Leonard Corporation, in addition to over 165 works for combo and jazz ensembles which have been published with five major publishing houses since 1978.

In February of 1999, he received the Florence Crittenton Foundation's Citizen of the Year award. Previous recipients have been former Kansas Senator Nancy Kassenbaum-Baker and former First Lady Barbara Bush. The 1999 Wichita Jazz Festival bestowed upon Frank the annual Homer Osborne award for outstanding contributions to jazz education. Frank was included in the 2001 edition of Grove's Dictionary of Jazz.  He died January 30, 2004.

TOMMY CROOK - Jazz 
One musician who has foregone touring the country to remain in Tulsa is Tommy Crook. In Tulsa he is recognized as one of the premier guitarists in the US, if not the world. Crook often relies on multiple elements of the Tulsa Sound for his musical inspiration, and played in bands with some of its primary movers and shakers in the early 60s. With a unique style of finger picking, and placement of bass strings on the bottom two positions on his guitar, his sound is as unique as it is inspirational.

An Oklahoma native, Crook began playing at the age of four when his father, Buck gave him his first guitar and taught him to play rhythm and lead. By age 11, Crook became a featured solo act on Porter Wagoner’s touring show and was soon a regular on Hank Thompson’s live TV show from Oklahoma City d Leon McAuliffe’s TV show in Tulsa.
 Crook attended Central High School and played in bands with David Gates, Jimmy Karstein, Carl Radle, Leon Russel, J. J. Cale, Gene Cross and Jimmy Markham. 

Crook recorded an album with David Teegarden, and Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel’s, said “Tommy Crook is the most unique and talented guitar player I have seen in by life.” Crook recorded a CD, 110 Degrees in the Shade, and performed in honor of Charlie Christian at the 2002 Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony and concert.

JIMMY “CRY CRY” HAWKINS - Blues

Born in Beggs, Oklahoma, Jimmy “Cry Cry” Hawkins had plans of becoming a football star. After an injury and several operations, however, his interest in music began to grow; he listened to Frank Berry’s radio show and sing along with the music to pass the time. He later met Frank Berry and Harry D. Gatewood, who encouraged him to share his singing talent with others.

In the 1940s, Hawkins formed his first band and played at several Tulsa venues, including the Flamingo Club and Berry Park.  His band in the early ‘50s, “The After Hour Boys,” played after dances, from about 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. every weekend.  Many local musicians had an opportunity to play with ‘Cry Cry’’s band.  The group played in Wichita, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and other surrounding towns.  In 1953, Hawkins changed the name of his band to “Jimmy ‘Cry Cry’ Hawkins and the Teardrops,” and in 1954, the group went to Georgia with one of the top recording groups of that time, The Midnighters.  “Cry Cry” got his nickname from one of his fans, who said, “His voice makes a woman want to cry.” And when he sang the blues, “Cry Cry” would do just that – but tears would only flow from one eye.  Hawkins died in 1976.

GLENN R. TOWNSEND - Blues 
Glenn R. Townsend, born in Sulphur, Oklahoma, June 17, 1948, moved to Tulsa at the age of 4. His music career began in1961 at the age of 13 with just two week’s practice; Glenn R. played his first gig with the regional rhythm & blues touring band, “The Ram Rods” as a rhythm guitarist.

Over the next few years he picked up side jobs with other local favorite bands. One of the jobs took Glenn R. to perform with the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars Tour.  Glenn R. was drafted into the U. S. Army, but after being discharged he began performing with Tommy Harris’ band, Standing Room Only. They toured the Midwest States. Shortly thereafter, Glenn left Standing Room Only to be lead guitarist for No Large Trucks.  Townsend’s music soon took him to California where the band signed with Columbia Records. He landed a job as a studio-recording artist doing sessions for Warner Bros. Records and was fortunate to do some guitar work on a few movies sound tracks, notably “The Crooked Mile”, starring Kirk Douglas. 

Columbia Records decided to change the name of the group to just “TRUK” and their album Truk Tracks was released in 1970. The band toured with acts such as Lee Michaels, Chicago, The Grass Roots, The Leon Russell Redbone Tour, Grand Funk Railroad, and many more.

Tiring of the pace in California, Glenn R. lived briefly in Wichita, before moving back to Tulsa where Glenn chose to place the guitar in the closet and raise his family for almost ten years.

In the early 80s, the Glenn R. Townsend Band was created. He started playing the music that made his heart feel the best – blues-rock. During this time, his band had played the 5-state area in every big and little venue. The Glenn R. Townsend Band released over 7 albums and 3 CD: “Rock’n the Blues”, “Can’t Live Without Your Love”, and “Driving the Bus.”

“Driving the Bus” was done in honor as a tribute to his dear friend Flash Terry. Driving the Bus is a song Glenn R wrote about Flash’s life as a working musician who also had to drive a bus to pay the bills.

GRADY NICHOLS - Legacy Tribute Award
Grady Nichols truly personifies today's hip Smooth Jazz / Instrumental Pop scene and Jeff Lorber has termed him as “the awesome new sax player for the millennium.” 

In his release “Sophistication”, Grady took his musical appeal to a new level by enlisting the talents of Lorber, Chris Botti (trumpet), Ray Fuller (guitar) and Paul Pesco (rhythm guitar). Grammy Award winner Paul Brown mixed the CD. 

Grady’s release, "In the Fullness of Time", is a spiritual CD featuring Bill Champlin, keyboardist / vocalist of the group Chicago, alongside a 50 voice choir and aired on television as "Grady Nichols Live". Coinciding with the CD’s release, Grady appeared before 30,000 at the World Pulse Festival in South Bend, Indiana, with acts such as Point of Grace, DC Talk, Plus One and Salvador. His first two CDs, "Between You and Me" (1996) and "Mysterious Intentions" (1997) are played on smooth jazz and adult contemporary radio stations all across the United.

Renowned for his signature interpretation of "Amazing Grace", he had the honor of performing on the "Hour of Power" at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, and at the National Clergy Appreciation Day in Washington, D.C.

As part of his ongoing effort to blend music and charity, Grady initiated and hosts "Grady Nichols Present..." a star-studded event in Tulsa featuring acts from all genres of music. He starred Roy Clark and raised over $10,000 and the following year, the Beach Boys drew 7500 people and raised over $50,000 for the Tulsa Area United Way.

His musical taste reaches from Smooth Jazz and Contemporary Christian to R&B and Pop. He was an award presenter at the first annual Oasis Smooth Jazz Awards presented at the Bass Hall in Fort Worth, Texas. He also appeared on the Oasis Smooth Jazz Awards Collection CD and received rave reviews. 

Norwegian Cruise Lines chose Grady to perform on their Smooth Jazz Cruise on board the SS Norway. At sea, Nichols performed on the Smooth Jazz Cruise aboard the SS Norway with Patti Austin, Jonathan Butler, Craig Chaquico, Warren Hill and Marion Meadows. He has also appeared on national television on BET On Jazz's "JAZZ SCENE" and for twenty-six weeks on BET's "Sunday Night Live". 

MAURICE SPEARS - Jazz 
Maurice Spears has played an integral role in the music business for more than four decades. Among his many accolades, his peers recognize him as “first call” bass trombonist on the West Coast, where in the 70s and 80s he honed his skills as studio musician and an accomplished sideman in big bands. Spears’ career spans a wide spectrum of entertainment including motion pictures and/or sound tracks; Broadway shows; television series, movies and specials; commercials; recordings and videos; and live performances.

Born in Oklahoma City, the Maurice was surrounded by jazz. His parents owned a café in OKC and they were host to many jazz bands and artists that came to the city to perform. At age 27, Spears was leading his own big band and various sized combos. They performed in nightclubs, played social engagements and provided pick-up for stars that came through OKC such as Lou Rawls, Jackie Wilson and Jesse Belvin.

In college, Spears seriously contemplated his future and began to analyze his challenges, which enabled him to excel and graduate cum laude from Langston University in Music Education. He did his graduate studies at the University of Oklahoma City in Norman. Spears received musical training while he served in the U. S. Army at the Army Element of the Navy School of Music in Washington, D.C.  He later served in the 62nd Army Band.

In 1966, Spears relocated to Los Angeles. He immediately began networking and affiliating with local musicians. By 1967, Spears was a member of the Ray Charles Orchestra, traveling the world.

Spears has a deep appreciation for education. He has taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District as well as the public school system in Oklahoma City and is mentor to several young trombonists including candidates and recipients of the Thurman Green Memorial Scholarship Foundation. The foundation is an organization that awards scholarships to college level trombone students.

Spears is internationally known as a music copyist par excellence. His client roster reads like “Who’s Who” including Benny Golson, American Jazz Philharmonic, Festival Productions, The Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, Oliver Nelson, Gerald Wilson, Benny Carter, Dr. John, Diana Krall, WDR Big Band, James Morrison, Lena Horne, and Peggy Lee, to name a few.

In 1995, Spears collaborated with fellow trombonists George Bohanon, Garnett Brown and the late Thurman Green to form “BoneSoir.” Their focus is to introduce audiences to the versatility of the trombone and to spotlight the varied styles of the featured players. The group has performed in numerous Los Angeles music programs and/or venues including the Museum of Contemporary Arts, Playboy Jazz Festival, Torrance Cultural Arts Center, Central Avenue Jazz Festival, The Jazz Bakery, etc.

Spears is currently a member of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra where he serves in the capacities of librarian, music copyist and bass trombonist.

Maurice has recorded and performed with an array of internationally acclaimed musicians/artists in several genres including Rock ‘N Roll, Pop, Rhythm & Blues, Jazz, Latin, Blues and Fusion.

LOUIE SPEARS - 2004 Jazz Nominee
Bassist, actor Louie Spears, a native of Oklahoma City, was born into a family of music aficionados. Louie became interested in the bass after joining the Army. He since has become known worldwide for his accomplishments as an acoustic bassist, cellist, and bass guitarist. From 1962-63, he studied with the Dallas Philharmonic Orchestra’s principal bassist, Robert Zimmerman and co-principal bassist, Clifford Spores. During that period, he played in bands with James Clay, Ted Dunbar, Red Garland and Billy Harper.

In 1970, he relocated to Los Angeles, to broaden his career. He studied Latin bass rhythms with legendary bassist Al McKibbon. In 1972, he set out to accomplish a childhood dream of learning to play jazz on the cello, studying with solo cellist Gregory Bemko, studio cellist Victor Sazar and Los Angeles Philharmonic cellist Stephen Foster.

With a progressive career in jazz and pop, he formed his own group, Spearmint. The group consisted of Dorothy Ashby on harp, Brenton Banks on violin, Terry Evans on guitar, Essiest Essiest on bass, George Goldsmith on drums and Louie, featured on cello. They performed throughout Los Angeles in concert.

Louie has made tremendous contributions of services to the Los Angeles area to senior citizens, youth, high school and college educational programs. He’s received numerous awards and recognitions for his services including Certificates of Appreciation from California Legislature Senator Bill Green; University of California Continuing Education; Los Angeles Unified School District Volunteer Program and The Charles Duolo Coker Scholarship Foundation. Awards include the 1974 Mayor’s Adult Committee with Youth Performing Arts Award of Excellence; 1986 Black Caucus of Jazz Educators; 1989 Watts Labor Community Action Committee’s Outstanding Voluntary Service Award and the 1997 Sisters of Jazz Larry Gales’ Music Achievement Award.

Louie has performed and recorded with an array of artists in motion pictures, stage, audio and video recordings, live orchestras, jazz and pop groups and vocalists. He and his brother, Maurice, along with trombone extraordinaire George Bohanon, are principals of BoneSoir, a jazz group consisting of five trombones, bass, drums and piano. BoneSoir will receive their first DC in the fall of 2004.

KENNETH J. LEVIT - Maxine Cissel Horner Spirit of Community Excellence Award
Kenneth J. Levit was named President of the University of Oklahoma - Tulsa on September 1, 2001. He also serves the University of Oklahoma system as Senior Vice President.

Prior to his appointment at OU-Tulsa, Mr. Levit served as Senior Counsel and Director of Business Development at Williams Communications, Inc., where he focused on the broadband media delivery business.  From early 1998 through 2000, Mr. Levit was Special Counsel to the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).  In that capacity, he served as an advisor to Director George Tenet on various matters, including technology policy, declassification of historical records, and developments related to the Middle East Peace process.  Mr. Levit is currently a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Mr. Levit has served as the Chairman of the Homeland Security Task Force for the State of Oklahoma in 2001-2002.

Currently, Mr. Levit serves on the board of directors for Holland Hall Preparatory School and Tulsa NCCJ.  Mr. Levit also serves as an advisory director for the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and on the Oklahoma City National Memorial Education and Outreach committee.  He is a member of the Young President’s Organization and The Committee of 100-Tulsa, Inc. Mr. Levit also served on Governor Brad Henry’s transition team.

A Tulsa native and graduate of Holland Hall, Mr. Levit received his BA from Brown University in 1987 graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with degrees in Public Policy and Russian Studies.  He worked for U.S. Senator David Boren from 1987 to 1990, serving as Press Secretary and campaign manager for Senator Boren’s successful 1990 re-election bid.

Mr. Levit earned his law degree from Yale Law School in 1994 and was a senior editor of the Yale Law Journal.  He then served as a law clerk for United States District Judge Terry C. Kern.  In 1995, Mr. Levit joined the law firm of Crowe & Dunlevy in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he specialized in commercial litigation.

Ken Levit was born in Columbus, Ohio, on September 23, 1965.  He is married to Janet Koven Levit of Chicago, Illinois.  They have a son, Nathan and a daughter, Rebecca.

BONNIE SAUNDERS POLIN, PH.D - Maxine Cissel Horner Spirit of Community Excellence Award
Bonnie Polin received her B.A. degree at the University of Pennsylvania in 1963 and her Ph.D. at the American University in 1980.

In an effort to educate diabetics, Dr. Polin has published several books: “The Joslin Diabetes Gourmet Cookbook,” and “The Joslin Diabetes Quick and Easy Cookbook,”  “The Joslin Diabetes Healthy Carbohydrate Cookbook,” and the Joslin Diabetes Great Chefs Cook Healthy Cookbook.” “Diabetic-Lifestyle.com,” a monthly magazine, and “Diabetic-recipes.com” are also publications for the diabetics.

Dr. Bonnie Polin work history exhibits her love for others and interest in their well-being. She worked at Hillcrest Hospital Substance Abuse Unit as a family therapist; Psychiatric Institute of Living in Richmond; Virginia Treatment Center for Children, Chesterfield County School District as a psychologist, co-founded Children’s Developmental Clinic and the Diabetes Clinic at Project Get Together.

She is a member of the American Diabetes Association, Children’s Services Leadership Board of Tulsa County, Dillon International, Interim Health Care, Project Get Together, Advisory Board for Community Action Project, Central Park Homeowners Association, and Parent Child Center.