Jul 23, 2012 - Multi-Instrumentalist to Showcases Standards & Originals

 Ryan Tedder Debuts Jazz Show at the Depot   

Multi-Instrumentalist to showcases Both Standards and Originals                                                

            Unusual as it may seem, two current young musicians named Ryan Tedder were both born in Tulsa, a few years apart. Ryan Benjamin Tedder, the older one, is a Grammy-nominated producer and songwriter who fronts the band OneRepublic. “He’s pretty famous,” says the younger one, up-and-coming jazz saxophonist Ryan Wayne Tedder. “My whole life on Facebook and all the social media is affected by him – I get stuff like `I love your new song, mate,’ messages from Indonesian girls. When they see the picture of me holding the saxophone, maybe they’ll figure it out.

            “It’s funny,’ he adds, “because we’re not related, and I only know of maybe four or five Tedders in Tulsa.”

            Still, he says, there’s a certain mandate that comes with having the same name as a man who’s made an international splash in pop music.

            “Because he’s really well known for working in the pop and rock side of things, it’s helped me swing even more toward the improvisational jazz side, so I can disambiguate myself even further,” explains Tedder.

            After years of working in bands and as a sideman around the Tulsa area, Tedder hopes that the Sunday concert at the Jazz Depot – his first as a headliner -- will help launch his solo career as a jazz artist, and thus contribute to the disambiguation.

            “I’ve written original compositions that are very distinctly mine, in my style, and we should have between four and six of those in the show,” he says. “A lot of performers in shows like these will get their books out and just riff on the standards. We’re going to put some different kinds of colors and flavors into the music. I want people to get something else out of it, something they may not have heard before.”

            Tedder began playing music as a young teenager at Tulsa Edison. “I was a bassoonist,” he recalls, “but I couldn’t march in the band with a bassoon, so the director, Paul Williamson, gave me a tenor sax. I was in the eighth grade. Later on, he said, `You’re getting pretty good at this. Want to join jazz band?’

            He did. Once there, he felt a need to learn more about what he calls “the language of jazz,” so he studied for several months with saxophonist Chip Burris, who was then living in Tulsa. “It was mostly theory,” he notes. “I wanted to understand how harmony worked. I don’t like doing something if I don’t know what I’m doing. I try not to skate. I don’t like to fake it.”

            He continued to play throughout his time at the University of Tulsa, and, after graduating in 2008, found plenty of work around town. For more than three years, he played steadily in the group the Jet Set Kings,

            “They were basically a rock and pop cover band, but they didn’t mind me taking long improvisations,” he says. “It’s nice to have a band that’ll let you do that.

            “I consider myself pretty adept at playing rock ‘n’ roll and R&B,” he adds, “but jazz is really where you learn to play your instrument.” 

            Over the past year or so, he’s had plenty of opportunities to do just that, becoming a familiar performer at the Jazz Depot’s Tuesday night jams and Wednesday Jazzwich lunch-hour shows. In fact, says Tedder, the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame has provided me and so many of my fellow musicians with more gigs than I can count.”

            “ I’ve played there as much as three to five days a week. I’m playing with people like [pianist] Steven Schrag and [bassist] Jordan Hehl.  

            “Jason McIntosh(CEO of the Jazz Hall of Fame) has made a real difference for musicians, and I appreciate all the effort he and his folks put into the Jazz Hall.”

            For Sunday’s show, Tedder will be accompanied by other familiar Jazz Depot musicians, including Schrag, bassist Calvin Knowles, and drummer Nicholas Foster. The concert, he says, will include appearances by “special guest artists.”                                                                  

            It’s 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 event 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.  

            Tedder’s show is part of the Jazz Hall’s 2012 Summer 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.


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