Aug 12, 2013 - Annie Ellicott, Mike Cameron Trio Team Up for Sunday’s Jazz Depot Show
For Sunday’s Jazz Depot show, the latest offering in the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame’s Summer Concert Series, high-profile vocalist Annie Ellicott is set to appear with saxophonist Mike Cameron’s trio, which features Scott McQuade on keyboards (and keyboard bass) and Jared Johnson on drums. Although this will only be the third official pairing of Ellicott with the Mike Cameron Trio, they’ve been doing a substantial amount of jamming together, making Sunday's show a logical extension of the informal musical alliance that began several months ago.
“I’ve been sitting in a lot with them on Wednesday nights, at their jam sessions at the Cellar Dweller,” says Ellicott, “and the nature of a jam session is listening closely to each other, so we got off on the right foot when we started collaborating [at the sessions] and doing our practicing in front of an audience. A jam kind of lends itself to a heightened awareness of the sounds going on around you.”
“Mike has been talking about booking gigs for us as the Mike Cameron Trio featuring Annie Ellicott for a while,” she adds. “We’ve even had pictures taken and stuff. So I jumped at the chance of getting them on board for this concert.”
What makes working with this particular band so much fun for her? Ellicott is quick with an answer.
“It’s the players,” she says. “They’re very good at playing anything. I can call any song, and Scott’ll say, `What key?’” She laughs. “And there we go. That’s fun.
“There’s just a cool vibe, too -- with an air of spontaneity to it. The solos are high-energy, very alive, and I feel like my scatting has a unique energy with the trio. I think it’s because of the high energy of the trio and the interaction between players, the listening that goes on, being able to bounce off some little line Scott throws in. Then Mike Cameron will mirror a line I’m doing, and I’ll mirror him. It’s very interactive. Very jazzy.”
Of course, Ellicott, a veteran of the Tulsa jazz scene, had an idea of what to expect when she started jamming with them in the first place.
“I’d seen Jared play for many years at Ciao [the late Tulsa restaurant and jazz venue], and I met Scott McQuade shortly after he moved here from Canada [in 2008],” she says. “Scott and I have worked together a ton. And Mike Cameron – like the rest of them, I know him just from being a Tulsa musician.”
No stranger to the Jazz Depot, Cameron produced a show there last fall celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Oklahoma-born saxophone great Don Byas as well as one in February saluting Patti Page. In April, he was the featured artist in the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame’s Jazz Composer Series.
McQuade has been a major presence at the Depot almost since his arrival in town. And Ellicott has been seen and heard there over the past few months with, among others, fiddler Shelby Eicher and guitarist Mark Bruner, vibraphonist Jay Garrett and his Vibra Hawks, and in the adventurous jazz re-imagining of Pink Floyd’s classic rock LP Dark Side of the Moon.
There may not be any Pink Floyd in Sunday’s repertoire, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be adventurous. Ellicott expects it to include not only jazz numbers like Duke Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood” and Blossom Dearie’s “Blossom’s Blues,” but also a couple of French tunes, including the signature song of famed diva Edith Piaf, “La Vie en rose.”
“We’ll also be doing a song people might recognize if they’ve seen the [2001 French film] Amelie,” she says.“It’s an instrumental song, and I’ll be using my voice as an instrument, to harmonize with it.”
Asked if the show will carry a distinctly French flavor, Ellicott laughs.
“Well, those are the only two [French numbers] we’re doing,” she says. “But they’ll make it seem like it does.”
The Mike Cameron Trio featuring Annie Ellicott is set to begin at 5:00p.m. Sunday, August 18, at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, located in downtown Tulsa’s Jazz Depot, 111 E. First Street. Tickets can be purchased at the depot, from www.myticketoffice.com, or by calling Bettie Downing at 918-281-8609. 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 show is a part of the Jazz Hall’s Summer Concert Series.
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