Oct 08, 2015 - SHERIDAN ROAD RETURNS WITH TWO JAZZ DEPOT SHOWS THIS WEEKEND
Sheridan Road's back, and the Jazz Depot's got 'em – and not only for its weekly Sunday concert slot. The six-voice group, accompanied by pianist Suzy Meredith-Orr, also has a Depot show planned for 7:30 p.m. Friday.
“You know, when you just do one show, it's very unsatisfying,” says Sheridan Road director and member Barry Epperley with a chuckle. “There are things that come out when you perform that you've never done before. And we'll be able to stop in between and said, `Okay, what did we do?' So that we can do it again.”
The point, he says, is that he always wants the group to get better.
“You can settle,” he notes, “but you'll always feel bad about it. And I just don't want to do that.”
Unfortunately, Epperley and the rest of the group had to settle for making no music at all for some months, following the illness of one of their vocalists. Jazz Hall patrons may remember that Sheridan Road had a concert scheduled for June that had to be cancelled.
“We didn't rehearse for about 12 weeks, and that put us back a little bit,” he says. “We've been back together for about five weeks now, and we did a gospel service at First Presbyterian [Church in Tulsa] last week, which was a new thing for us. It came off very well.”
So well, in fact, that the group plans to perform a couple of songs from that appearance in their Jazz Depot shows, including the classic Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey hymn, “Take My Hand, Precious Lord.”
“I have a good friend from back in Tennessee named Arnold Sevier, and he did just an amazing arrangement of `Precious Lord,'” says Epperley. “It's a great piece, a cappella. And then we're doing a contemporary jazz piece, `Psalm 150.' These are things from the service we liked so much that we're putting them in this concert.”
And, in keeping with the varied repertoire that's one of the hallmarks of Sheridan Road, those songs will be showcased alongside one written by a man Epperley calls “the tango king from Buenos Aires,” Astrid Piazzolla.
“I went to the Aspen Music Festival, and they did two or three days of Piazzolla, along with other tango artists and composers from Argentina,” says Epperley. “He wrote a set that was kind of akin to Vivaldi's Four Seasons – his are the Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. These were arranged by a guy named Oscar Escalada, who's also from Argentina and has a vocal group. I went looking for them. Actually, my little sister told me where to find them. She's with the Bartlesville Choral Society, and they'd done one of the four. I've got all four of them now, and we'll probably do them all next spring. But this time, we're just going to do `Springtime in Buenos Aires.' We haven't have quite enough time to get them all, because they're really hard.” He laughs. “But it's exciting, and I think people are going to love it.”
Another new tune for the group is “Run to You,” originally written and performed by the Texas-based Pentatonix, whose 2011 win on the NBC-TV series The Sing-Off brought national attention to a cappella vocalizing. On Friday, Sheridan Road will be joined on “Run to You” by a vocal group from Catoosa High School. The singers are students of Sheridan Road's Jenn Epperley.
“She's married to my son, and she's a dynamite soprano and very good jazzer who's turning out to be a really good teacher as well,” he says. “Her group is quite good, so we've asked them to join us.”
Other numbers audiences can expect this time around include a new arrangement, by Sheridan Road member Marla Patterson, of “Every Time We Say Goodbye,” the theme from the 1986 Tom Hanks movie of the same name; what Epperley calls “just an amazing swinging `Sweet Georgia Brown'; and Billy Joel's “Lullaby.”
“That's a lovely piece,” he says of the latter number. “It's got harmonies that lean toward jazz, but it's just a sweet song with nice stacked harmonies and a nice message.”
With material like “Lullaby,” he adds, “We've decided to reach out in a bunch of different directions. It's not just jazz, but I think we'll always come back to it, because that seems to be where our blend hits its best.”
Sheridan Road is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9, and at 5:00 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 11, at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, located in downtown Tulsa’s Jazz Depot, 111 E. First Street. For tickets, call 918-928-JAZZ or visit www.JazzHallTickets.com. Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame members and seniors enjoy discounted ticket prices at $10.00 each. General admission tickets are $15.00, reserved table seating $20.00. Admission is $5.00 for high school and middle school students.
The shows are a part of the Jazz Hall’s 2015 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 preservation, education, and performance of jazz, our uniquely American art form.