Jul 22, 2014 - WORLD'S FIRST LINEAR MUSIC FESTIVAL HEADS FOR JAZZ DEPOT
Spreading out around the road from Chicago to L.A., the Route 66 Linear Music Festival is scheduled to make several stops in Oklahoma during late July and early August – including one Thursday, July 31, at Tulsa's Jazz Depot.
Produced by Rifftime on Route 66 (route66.rifftime.com), the event is the world's first mobile, interactive, music festival. Bands, led by the famed cowboy-jazz group Cow Bop, will play for two weeks along the 2,500 miles of America's Highway, with Rifftime live-streaming the shows so that anyone in the world can participate.
“Being able to stream live video is what inspired this whole tour,” says Bruce Forman, Cow Bop's leader and the music director of Rifftime on Route 66. “Rifftime supplies a central place for all of us to be, making it a connected festival. Otherwise, we'd just be all these different bands out on the road, doing our thing. Because Rifftime gives us a place on the Web, everybody can find us. That place is our digital Woodstock.”
The concept, he explains, involves the digital highway meeting the asphalt highway – in this case, America's Mother Road and the musicians along it during the fest.
“We're all out there by ourselves on this 2,500 mile ribbon of highway, but online, we have this connectivity that creates a festival. More than anything, to me, this whole thing is about the philosophy of going out and creating your own space. It's taking responsibility for what's happening, creating it, investing in yourself, taking a chance, reaching out to new people.”
Forman and Cow Bop have been down this road – literally as well as metaphorically – before. Ten years ago, in 2004, the band traveled the length of the Mother Road, starting out with only $100 and no bookings. That was the year the California-based group not only played the Jazz Depot for the first time, but released its first CD, Swingin' Out West.
“Now, of course, I'm setting up things in advance, whereas the challenging thing we did [in 2004] was just to see if we could sort of live just by the flow of everything,” says Forman. “But the beauty this time is that I'm sharing this information and this linear community of Route 66 with all my fellow musicians and friends.
“Back in the day, when people were going down Route 66, there would be a lot of these roadshow revues, pop-up concerts where people would entertain,” he adds. “That's what we're trying to do: a roadshow revue, a kind of variety show on the road.”
Joining Cow Bop and the New York-based Duchess, an act Forman describes as “three great jazz singers from New York who have a love for the Boswell Sisters and that particular style of music,” for the three Oklahoma dates are the Heath Ham Jazz Band, keyboardist-vocalist Prentice Vincent, and the Tulsa Jam'bassadors, the all-city group that was one of the four finalists for the Charles Mingus High School Competition last year.
All of those acts have headlined their own shows at the Jazz Depot, as has Cow Bop.
“This festival is a wonderful way to celebrate great Oklahoma music along the Mother Road and to bring it to people all over the world via the digital highway,” says Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame CEO Jason McIntosh. “Thanks to Rifftime and Bruce Forman for including us in the celebration.”
“You know, Route 66 was always a migratory road, with people going to new places, all the way back to the Dust Bowl,” notes Forman. “Things were moving. People were going west for something new. And it was always a migration not just of people creating new things and new lives, but also a migration of culture.
“That's what we're doing with this festival,” he adds. “We're all kind of embarking on this road together. It's a very Route 66 thing, conceptually.”
The Route 66 Linear Music Festival stops off at Miami's Coleman Theatre on Tuesday, July 29, and the Jazz Depot on Thursday, July 31. Showtimes are 7:00 p.m. for both the Miami and Tulsa concerts. Tickets are $10 for the Tulsa show, and $5 for the Miami concert. Tickets can be purchased at the venues or from www.eventbrite.com.
For more information or to join the Rifftime community, visit www.route66.rifftime.com.
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 the preservation, education, and performance of jazz, our uniquely American art form.