Jun 08, 2011 - Jazzwich lunch a weekly stress reliever at Jazz Hall of Fame

By SCOTT CHERRY World Scene Writer

The jazz quartet 7 Blue was shuffling through a satiny treatment of "The Girl From Ipanema" in a most appropriate setting, the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.

We were listening to the music while dining on a crisp, fruity summer salad and a pulled pork wrap from Eats 2U Catering.

During the course of the lunch we had a pleasant conversation with Jason McIntosh, the jazz hall CEO, and sipped perfectly sweet-tart lemonade from plastic cups.

By the time 7 Blue completed an entertaining finale of "St. James Infirmary" I almost had forgotten I needed to get back to the office - and pronto.

It turned out that was the point.

"We saw this as a place where people could come in, have a healthy lunch, listen to some nice music and take the stress out of the work week," said David Brennan, 7 Blue drummer/vocalist and an organizer of the Jazzwich program started by the Jazz Hall of Fame a couple of months ago.

Jazzwich runs 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Wednesday, with music provided by local jazz performers. Box lunches, prepared by Angie Johnson's Eats 2U, are available to purchase. The lemonade, like the music, is free.

Brennan, also a physiologist with OU School of Community Medicine, was as enthusiastic about the food as he was the music.

"You don't have to eat when you come here, but it is an opportunity to have something healthy," Brennan said. "The jazz hall even has wooden nickels that companies can buy to give to employees for their lunches here."

Our box lunches ($10 each, tax included) packed a lot of flavor.

The Summer Splash salad included grilled chicken, yellow bell peppers, crispy romaine, carrots, chives, goat cheese and blueberries in a lemony-garlicky dressing. The blueberries worked curiously well with the other ingredients.

The salad also had a side of gluten-free crackers.

The pulled pork wrap featured long strands of tender pork and black beans, flavored with a little cumin. The wrap was served with a tasty slaw that also included a few blueberries and bits of cilantro.

Hot sauce, house-made chimichurri and salsa marinade are available to - excuse me - jazz up the dishes.

Johnson usually has a dessert available for an extra charge. On this day it was a moist carrot cake ($3) with an orange-cream cheese icing.

Johnson said the box lunches will vary from week to week, including such items as tuna on dark rye, couscous salad with Asian dressing, egg salad, veggie wraps with three-olive cream cheese and oatmeal apricot chocolate chip cookies.

Brennan, a classically trained musician from Sydney, Australia, said he lived in Houston for 25 years before moving to Tulsa in 2003. He said the idea for Jazzwich developed after he joined the jazz hall board of directors.

"I wanted to contribute something and come up with a way to expand our reach in Tulsa," he said. "This seemed like something that might be worth doing."

The 7 Blue lineup can be fluid, he said. Also performing the day we were there were Prentice Vincent, piano/vocals; Damon Snow, guitar; and Mat Maxwell, bass.