Mar 28, 2012 - New Faces & Voices of 2012

The New Faces Show for 2012
    Sunday will mark the first time ever that the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame has hosted a “new faces” show.
    That, however, does not mean that the Jazz Hall hasn’t introduced dozens of new faces -- and voices, and players -- over the years.
    “This is the first time we’re actually calling it `new faces,’ but we’ve exposed a lot of new talent to our audiences,” says Jazz Hall of Fame artistic director Chuck Cissel, who’s producing the show. “That’s part of the mission of the Jazz Hall – to keep finding and showing the talent we have here in Tulsa, to keep building rapport between our performers and our audiences, so the artists will stay here and not run off to Kansas City or Chicago or Fort Worth.
    “What I’ve done in the past with new performers,” he adds, “is find a setting for them where they can do one or two songs, and see what the feedback is, see how the rapport is. And from there, we can put them in a showcase. The whole idea is to bring in new energy, fresh faces, instrumentalists and singers you haven’t heard before.”  
    That’s the case with many of the New Faces of 2012 performers, although some of them have been playing at the regular Tuesday jam sessions held at the Jazz Depot. And “new” doesn’t necessarily equate with “just starting out in life” – opening act Larry Cochran, Cissel notes, is “an older gentleman, from OSU-Tulsa, who does a lot of theater. I met him when I was doing a show at the Hall and asked if there was anybody in the audience who wanted to sing. He came up and did a song with me, and I could see that he deserved to be there.
    “We also have a marvelous singer by the name of Ruth Patterson, an African-American lady with a beautiful voice who started singing in church. There’s Emily Chappell, a young girl with lots of scatting ability who likes to jump octaves. She’s about to have a baby, and I told her, `Hold on, sweetie. Sing Sunday, and then go have that baby.’  We’ve got a wonderful guy I think the world of, Luke Garcia. His wife, who was his fiancée then, brought him to my office one day and said, `I think you should hear him sing.’ When someone says that, I always say, “Okay. Sing right now.’ He stood right up and started singing in a beautiful tenor voice.”


Also on the bill are vocalists Nathan Wright and Sarah Maud Richardson.
    “I met Nathan Wright when he was singing with the University of Tulsa jazz orchestra, and they played at the hall. He’s a terrific baritone-tenor. And I met Sarah Maude at the jazz camp sponsored by TU and the Jazz Hall. She had just started out. A wonderful singer.”
    Maud remembers that jazz camp very well.
    “Everything was fantastic there,” she says. “I’d been doing jazz vocals before I went to the camp, but I thought it would help me grow – and it did. Making all those connections and bonding with people really helped me develop socially as well as vocally. I met Julie Bonk there, who was Norah Jones’ piano teacher, and she’s become my mentor.”
    Maud first encountered the TU jazz program as a member of the Coweta High School jazz band.
    “We came to TU’s jazz day, where they critique you and make you better, and Brenda Johnson, who’s a jazz-vocal teacher at TU, told me, `I had to close my eyes when you were singing, because you were so nervous we thought you were going to sing to the chair rack.’”
    Maud laughs. “But she said when she closed her eyes, she heard something real, and from then on I’ve learned not to be so shy about my singing.”
    The band Maud works with – Steven Schrag on piano, Jordan Hehl on bass, and Nicholas Foster on drums – will accompany the singers. They’ll be joined by saxophonist Myron Oliver.                 
    The New Faces of 2012 concert is set to begin Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, located in downtown Tulsa’s Jazz Depot, 111 E. First St. Tickets for the solo concert can be purchased at the Depot or by calling Bettie Downing at 918-281-8609. 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.  Refreshments will be available for purchase.
    New Faces of 2012 is a part of the Jazz Hall’s Spring 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.