Nov 17, 2012 - Campbell, Sweney & Galzer Return


            To hear keyboardist-vocalist Jon Glazer tell it, this was all Jim Rhea’s idea.

            Rhea, the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame Trustee, is a longtime fan of the Jon Glazer Trio, which recently wrapped up a five-year run as house act at the Hard Rock Casino’s C-Note venue. Rhea is also a booster of the trio Glazer has with two other legendary Tulsa performers, singers Chris Campbell and Jim Sweney.

            So, he thought, why not put the two acts together for a Jazz Depot show?

            “Because he had the idea to combine them, we ended up as a three-part harmony band with a rhythm section,” explains Glazer.  “Jim and Chris have had a regular gig at Lennie’s Club for about eight years now, but they sing with tracks instead of a live band, so this’ll be a real treat for them.”

            It’ll also be a treat for Jazz Hall patrons and lovers of the classic ‘70s Tulsa Sound, who’ll hear two of its architects in Sweney and Campbell. (Glazer left Tulsa in the early ‘70s to pursue his musical career elsewhere, His resume includes touring with the Judds, recording with Rick Springfield, creating jingles for SeaWorld and Southwestern Bell and pioneering the dueling-piano entertainment concept in Dallas.)

            The three first began playing jobs together in 2004, singing together with Glazer’s keyboard playing as their only accompaniment. For years, you could find them at area venues like the Garlic Rose, Chalkboard, and Full Moon Café.

            “We’d been off for the better part of this year when Jim Rhea called,” says Glazer. “Maybe it’s because of all the social networking, but once we were booked at the Jazz Hall, other offers started coming in, and now we’re booked for more dates.”

            Accompanied by Glazer’s longtime bassist Alan Ransom and veteran Tulsa drummer Robbie Armstrong (filling in for the Glazer Trio’s regular drummer, Chuck DeWalt, who’s recovering from a foot injury), the three have put together a show for their Jazz Depot engagement that should be welcomed by longtime fans and newcomers alike.

            “It’ll be a lot of heavy R&B, like Jim and Chris have always done, but we also throw in some jazz,” explains Glazer. “We like to do anything with sweet harmonies, as long as it’s well-written. Jim Rhea put it nicely: `soul and pop from the ‘50s through the ‘70s.’

            “We’ll augment it with some new pieces of music. One of the new tunes we do is by Daryl Hall. He had an Internet-only hour-long show called Live from Daryl’s House, where he brought in guests to his gorgeous home in Connecticut and played music. This song is one he did with Jason Moraz called `Eyes for You.’”

            Then, of course, there are the old Sweney, Campbell & Glazer favorites, some of which carry distinct jazz overtones.

            “Jim’s going to do `What A Difference A Day Makes,’ and as far as actual swing goes, we’ll do `Moondance,’ which is one of Chris’s signature tunes,” says Glazer. “We’ve also got a new version of the classic `Walk Away, Renee.’ People love that song. Even when I’m somewhere just playing it as background music, on the piano, people will come up and tell me how much they like it.”

            Although much of their repertoire will fall into the pop category, Glazer says that the kind of harmony-laden material they do has its roots in the music celebrated at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.

            “Those harmonies go back to the Ink Spots, the Mills Brothers, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross,” he notes. “And even when it’s pop, we always try to pick well-written pieces of music.

            “What we’re also doing is jazzing up some of these old tunes,” he adds. “Remember `She’s Not There’ by the Zombies? We do a dark swing version, kind of like Blue Period Miles [Davis].  I can’t think of an appropriate musical term to describe it, but every time we play the song, I think of film noir.”

            Campbell, Sweney, and Glazer with the Jon Glazer Trio are set to begin Sunday, Nov. 25 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 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.

            It’s the final show in the Jazz Hall’s 2012 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.

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