Jun 28, 2013 - Jay Garrett’s Vibra-Hawks Premier This Sunday


            Sunday’s entry in the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame’s Summer Concert Series features the Vibra-Hawks Swing Band, a quintet made up of area musicians that features Jay Garrett on vibraphone.

            With this show, the Vibra-Hawks make their debut on the Jazz Depot stage.

It is, however, far from their first Jazz Depot appearance. The Vibra-Hawks had a standing weekly gig in that building during the spring months that quickly garnered a reputation among swing dancers and fans. The difference between those shows and this one is that they’re in slightly different locations.

            “We’ve been playing on Monday nights all the way through the spring, but we’ve always performed in the gallery,” explains Garrett.” We’d set up and folks would come in and dance in the gallery. We’ve never played inside the performance space before. But Sunday, we’ll play on the main stage.”

            They’ll also undoubtedly attract swing dancers, just as they did in their Monday night engagements. Garrett emphasizes that the group, as befits its name, specializes in classic swing music from the 1930s and ‘40s,

            “Sunday, we’ll play `Don’t be That Way,’ `Stompin’ at the Savoy,’ `Flying Home,’ and a song by Terry Gibbs, “It Might as Well be Swing,’” he says.

            Vibraphonist Gibbs, adds Garrett, has been “a big influence, a main influence” on his own playing. “It’d be Terry Gibbs, and Cal Tjader, and then Lionel Hampton. Those are the [vibraphonists] I listen to the most.”

            Originally from Tennessee, Garrett arrived in town a few years ago to take a teaching job. He currently teaches music to middle school students at Monroe Demonstration Academy while also playing jazz around town in a variety of settings. The latter part of his musical life includes two Jazz Depot performances with vocalist Annie Ellicott, and another appearance there as the featured artist in last year’s jazz composer series, coordinated by Tulsa musician Tim Shadley. Both give Garrett high marks.  

             “I went to school with Jay at North Texas State University; we were in some jazz classes together,” says Shadley. “He’s a fantastic vibraphone player, and a multi-instrumentalist who also sings.  Since he’s been in town, we’ve played a few gigs together, and he’s really embraced the Tulsa music scene.”

            “Tulsa has very healthy scene,” says Garrett. “There are a lot of opportunities to perform.” 

            The Vibra-Hawks Swing Band is set to begin at 5 p.m. Sunday, June 30, at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, located in downtown Tulsa’s Jazz Depot, 111 E. First St.  Tickets can be purchased at the depot, from, or by calling Bettie Downing at 918-281-1008. General admission is $15, reserved table seating $20. Seniors and Jazz Hall members are admitted for $10, and high school and junior high students for $5.

            The event is a part of the Jazz Hall’s Summer Concert Series.

            The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame is a 501(c)(3) non-profit cultural and educational organization, with a mission to inspire creativity and improve the quality of life for all Oklahomans through preservation, education, and performance of jazz, our uniquely American art form.