SANDY GARDNER "IN HER SHOES" AT JAZZ DEPOT SUNDAY
According to vocalist and bassist Sandy Gardner - who should know - the title of her Sunday Jazz Depot show can be taken a couple of different ways.
"It seems like every time I'm on stage, people want to see what shoes I'm wearing," she says, laughing. "I guess over the years I've collected a pretty cool set of snazzy high-heeled shoes. But beyond the cute-shoe angle, it really refers to the music I've selected for this concert, because it encompasses music, from a lot of different eras, which has meant a lot to me in my life.
"Everybody expects us to do music from the Great American Songbook," she adds, referring to herself and her husband, Chuck, a pianist, arranger, composer, and Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame Inductee. "Clearly, we have that on the docket this time. We're doing a hit of Judy Garland's, and it's not `Over the Rainbow.' It's `Get Happy.' I just love that tune, and I've wanted to do it for a long time. And we're doing Doris Day's `At Sundown,' another great tune I've always wanted to do."
However, she notes, those classic numbers come from only one of the musical eras she intends to spotlight in the show.
"We're doing some songs from the sixties, my era. I don't often try to put on the arranger hat - why should I, when I have the incredible Chuck Gardner to do that for me? But I've come up with an arrangement of Simon and Garfunkel's `Scarborough Fair' that starts out with Miles Davis's `Milestones.' I was lying in bed one night, thinking about `Scarborough Fair' and that Miles Davis thing, and I thought, `Oh, that'll work.' So I shared it with Chuck, and he was kind of skeptical at first, but I think I convinced him."
She also came up with another inspiration for a two-song medley, thanks in part to her friend and jazz activist Jeanine Rhea.
"One of her favorite tunes is `Everything Must Change' by Bernhard Ighner, a beautiful, beautiful tune, and I got the inspiration to put it with `A Song for You' by Leon Russell," Sandy explains. "So it's got a real Tulsa connection."
She also plans to put her own spin on such 1960s chart toppers as the Classics IV's "Traces" and the Turtles' `Happy Together' - songs that she and her husband have seldom performed together in their decades of working together onstage.
"We didn't really do any of that material back in our heyday, I guess you would say, in the '80s," she says. "That was when we were working six nights a week and twice on Saturday. We were the society band in San Antonio, playing in private dining clubs and all that sort of thing."
"We always enjoy a Sandy and Chuck show here at the Jazz Depot," says Jason McIntosh, Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame CEO. "It is always heartfelt to witness this lifelong romance shine through in their incredible musical talent."
In addition to Chuck on piano, Sunday's ensemble includes Mike Bennett on trumpet, Jim Bates on bass, and Tony Yohe on drums, with Bates planning to switch to guitar for a couple of duet numbers with Sandy.
All of those are very familiar names to area jazz fans. Add to them a special guest whose name isn't well-known. At least, not yet.
"Sam Troxel is a young man, a sophomore at Union High School. He's been studying piano about 10 years with Diana Franchini, who happens to be a member of our church," says Sandy. "She called Chuck and said, `This kid is amazing, and I've taken him as far as I can take him in jazz.' So she asked if Chuck would work with him.
"They've been studying together a month or so, and Chuck is just so impressed with him. So we invited him to be a part of the concert. He's going to do a solo piece called `The Eternal City,' and then he and Chuck are going to do `Pick Yourself up' as a duet - on one piano. One piano, four hands. We thought it would just be really neat to introduce this young talent and give him an opportunity to play on the big stage."
Sandy Gardner "In Her Shoes" is set to begin at 5:00 p.m. Sunday, November 23, 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.jazzhalltickets.com or by calling 918-928-JAZZ. 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 2014 Autumn 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 the preservation, education, and performance of jazz, our uniquely American art form.