Nov 01, 2011 - The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame Announces Inductees for 2011

TULSA—The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame will honor several outstanding musicians at its 2011 Induction Gala and Ceremony. Inductees Dorothy “Miss Blues” Ellis of Oklahoma City and Theodore “Rudy” Scott of Tulsa will be inducted in the Blues category; Donald “Don” Cherry, James “Jim” Pepper, and Charles E. “Pee Wee” Russell will be posthumously inducted in the Jazz category; Sharel Cassity will receive the Legacy Tribute Award; Dr. Terry Segress of Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Dr. Ron Predl of the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, and Dr. Kent Kidwell of the University of Central Oklahoma will receive Zelia Breaux Educator Awards. We are also honored to have conductor, musician, composer and writer David Amram on hand to receive the Jay McShann Lifetime Achievement Award.

Jay McShann Lifetime Achievement Award Inductee

David Amram has composed more than 100 orchestral and chamber music works, and was Leonard Bernstein's choice at the first-ever composer-in-residence with the New York Philharmonic.  His classic scores for the films, “Splendor in the Grass” and the “Manchurian Candidate,” incorporated jazz and symphonic music. He and author Jack Kerouac gave the first public jazz/poetry readings ever presented.  Amram is also the author of three books.  He has performed and recorded with the bands of Charles Mingus, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Pettiford  and Mary Lou Williams.    A renowned  improvisational lyricist, Amram is, along with Julius Watkins, acknowledged as a pioneer player of jazz French horn, an Ambassador of World Music since the1950s, and a virtuoso on  dozens of folkloric instruments from twenty five countries.  He still  travels the world as a conductor, soloist, bandleader, visiting scholar, and narrator in five languages, while  continuing to compose new classical works and perform with his own Jazz Quartet.

 “Miss Blues” is not only musically accomplished, but academically—having earned a Master’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Central Oklahoma—but it’s her passion for singing the blues that we celebrate her for. Whether you know her from her many blues festivals or her induction into the Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame, Miss Blues’ signature song style is easily recognized by her fans as the “Texas Shout”.

 Rudy Scott is a self-taught harmonica, piano and keyboard player born in Waco, Texas.  After performing with the Ernie Fields Band for several years, Mr. Scott joined Ike and Tina Turner on tour before returning to Tulsa to spend more time with his family. His musical prowess also graced the Flash Terry Band, the Uptown Blues Band, “Bang Bang” Jackson, Elon Watkins, and DC and Selby Minner.  Mr. Scott now performs with the Selby Minner and Pat Moss bands.

 Oklahoma City nativeand trumpeter Don Cherry became known as one of the leading names in the jazz avant-garde movement following connecting with saxophonist Ornette Coleman.  Recognized as the founder of free jazz, Coleman released these free jazz offerings: The Art of the Improviser, Change of the Century, and The Shape of Jazz to Come. Through this musical evolution, Mr. Cherry mastered the pocket trumpet and created his own distinctive style and quality. Mr. Cherry coupled his unique musicality in performances with John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Jim Pepper, Albert Ayler, Michael Mantle, and many more.

 As a pioneer of fusion jazz, Jim Pepper is credited with combining elements of jazz and rock. The Native American tenor saxophonist of Kaw and Creek heritage achieved notoriety for his compositions fusing jazz with Native American music. His “Witchi Tai To”—derived from a peyote song of the Native American Church which he had learned from his grandfather—is the most famous example of this inspiring hybrid style. 

 Pee Wee Russell grew up in Muskogee learning to play the violin, piano, drums before deciding that the clarinet would be his primary instrument. With a distinct, unorthodox style, Mr. Russell was sometimes even accused of playing out of tune. Frequently in the recording studio on his clarinet, bass clarinet, and soprano, alto or tenor sax, Mr. Russell worked with bandleaders Louis Prima, Eddie Condon, Bobby Hackett, and many more. Known for his quote, “. . . takes each solo like it was the last one you were going to play in your life. What notes to hit and when to hit them. . .”, his approach was ahead of its time.

 Said to bring sensibility to all her work, Native American saxophonist Sharel Cassity uses the history of blues, swing, bebop, post bop and contemporary jazz to capture the sound of her generation.  Some of her most rewarding musical experiences include theDIVA Jazz Orchestra, Jimmy Heath’s Big Band, Roy Hargrove Big Band, Dizzy Gillespie All Star Sextet and All Star Big Band, as well as Harry Whitaker, Ingrid Jensen, Mark Whitfield, and Michael Dease. As Ms. Cassity, “strive(s) to be a positive example and make a meaningful contribution to this art form,” her album, “Relentless” embodies an inspiring sense of musicality coupled with social awareness.

 Long-time chair of the Department of Music at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Dr. Terry Segress began as an adjunct instructor for the SWOSU Jazz band in 1970. Also the founder of the SWOSU Jazz Festival –currently in its 38th year—Dr. Segress coordinates the SWOSU summer music camp program, directs the SWOSU Jazz Camp, Middle School Band Camp and Band Camp while still finding the time to teach applied tuba, counterpoint and instrumentation classless. A product of Oklahoma City University and University of North Texas, Dr. Segress has been honored with many awards including an Arts and Education Award at the Governor’s Arts Awards ceremony in 2006.  Dr. Segress is a charter member of the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.

 After 40 years of teaching, conducting and administration at the University of Tulsa, Dr. Ron Predl retired from his fulltime faculty position as Emeritus Professor of Music in 2006. During his tenure, Dr. Predl served as Director of Music for eighteen years, Director of the School of Art for three years, Chair of the Division of Fine and Performing Arts, and Director of Bands. He founded and designed the Bachelor of Arts in Arts Administration degree at the University of Tulsa—which includes an optional internship semester at the London Diorama Arts Centre—and received TU’s Excellence in Teaching Award for the Henry Kendall College of Arts and Sciences in 2006. In 2008, Dr. Predl became the first executive director of the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra.

As a faculty member of the University of Central Oklahoma since 1969, Dr. Kent Kidwell is also an accomplished symphonic, jazz, commercial and solo trombonist. Throughout his tenure at UCO, Dr. Kidwell has served as director of university bands, music education, conducting, music theory, and arranging. Also serving as chairman of the music department for eight years, Dr. Kidwell completed a one-year appointment as the Interim Director for the School of Music.  Known for helping the UCO jazz program grow to three 20-piece big bands, several jazz combos, a “Dixieland” jazz band, and several applied courses in jazz theory, Dr. Kidwell has won numerous national and international honors and is in constant demand as a clinician and adjudicator nationwide and currently leads the Oklahoma City Jazz Orchestra.



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