Aug 09, 2012 - "Return From France" Concert With Allison Linde and Don Ryan
Sunday's Jazz Depot show represents two big milestones in up-and-coming jazz vocalist Allison Linde's career. It's her very first solo American concert, and it's the first one she'll sing in English.
That requires a bit of explanation, especially to those who know that Allison's surname has long been one of Tulsa's most recognizable musical monikers. Allison, in fact, represents the fourth generation of entertainment-business Lindes. Her great-grandfather, Joe Linde, successfully ran his own Tulsa-based dance band for decades; when he died, in 1971, her grandfather Don took it over. Allison's father Gary was playing clarinet and saxophone in that group at an early age. During that time, the Linde outfit played for touring celebrities such as Sammy Davis Jr. and Sonny & Cher, among many other high-profile gigs. Currently, Gary plays regularly with a number of different orchestras and groups, including Steve Ham's Jambalaya Jass Band.
Having that sort of a musical heritage could be a bit intimidating, especially to a young person. That's part of the reason why Allison didn't start down her own musical pathway until she moved to France, a relocation that followed her graduation from Oklahoma State University (where she earned a degree in psychology).
"To be honest, I've been wanting to sing since I was a little girl," she said. "I sang in choirs and did some things like that while I was here [in Oklahoma], but I was always too nervous to go on stage and get out there by myself, to pursue a career as a solo singer. I was also nervous about it because of my dad, who's such a great musician. But in France, out on my own, I feel like I found my independence a little bit. I found some confidence. And that's permitted me to get in front of people and sing. I guess I had to get out of my element to get into my element."
Originally, she adds, she traveled from her native Oklahoma to France "to translate books and study."
"I'm still technically a student," she explains, "studying modern literature. But through friends of friends of friends, I started meeting musicians - amateur musicians at first. They put me in contact with some professional musicians, and through all of that, I've found a little career path."
Signed to the French entertainment company Showtime Productions, Allison has recorded four music videos, which can be seen and heard at allisonlinde.com. She and her group began playing live shows several months ago, and now average two or three performances a month, she says.
"Little by little, we're getting more gigs," she adds. "We've been playing some in Marseille. We play smaller venues. We're trying not to go for a lot of big concerts, where you get good money and may be playing for a lot of people, but you're kind of in the background. We'd rather do more intimate gigs where people pay to hear you and listen to what you're doing. So we play a lot of little cultural centers, which are kind of like the Jazz Hall of Fame."
For her American debut as a solo jazz vocalist, Allison will be joined by, among other players, the noted pianist Donald Ryan and her father, Gary Linde. Throughout much of the '80s, Linde played in Ryan's group at the Tulsa Petroleum Club. Their bassist on that job was often the veteran Jim Bates, who's also scheduled to play on Sunday's show.
"Then I've got Randy Wimer playing guitar," says Linde. "His playing reminds me a lot of that light style that French jazz guitarists have. I love working with him, but I don't get to do it very often.
"We'll also have a young drummer named George Toumayan, who went to Central High School and teaches drumming at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee and at TU," he adds. "He's the current drummer at Tulsa's First Baptist Church, which has a great band.
"We are very happy to have Allison with us," he concludes, "and we're ready to go."
The Return from France concert begins Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, located in downtown Tulsa's Jazz Depot, 111 E. First St. Tickets can be purchased at the Depot or by calling Bettie Downing at918-281-8609. 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.
The concert 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 the preservation, education, and performance of jazz, our uniquely American art form.