Jan 07, 2013 - Jazzman Ryan “Chips” Tedder Headlines January 13th Jazz Depot Show


When jazz saxophonist Ryan Tedder takes the Jazz Depot stage on Sunday, January 13th, he’ll not only be introducing some brand new compositions, he’ll also be floating a new nickname. It comes courtesy of longtime Tulsa music figure Charlie Redd, of the R&B band Full Flava Kings, with whom Tedder has been playing for some time.

“He and the guys from Full Flava Kings have started calling me ‘Tedder Chips,’” Tedder says with a chuckle. “I don’t know—maybe that’ll catch on.”

A good nickname would be worth a lot to Tedder at this point, if only because of rather improbable circumstance. He happens to have the same first and last name as another Tulsa music figure, the Grammy-nominated producer and songwriter who fronts the band OneRepublic. Despite the fact that one deals in pop and rock and the other in jazz, some people—even, occasionally, those working for local publications—confuse the two.

That all may be changing, though, as the profile of the saxophone-playing Tedder continues to rise. After years as playing as a sideman in various aggregations, he stepped out into the spotlight last summer, headlining his first Jazz Depot show.

“I didn’t have the opportunity to gauge the crowd like you do when you’re a sideman,” he said. “But as far as I’m concerned, it went very well. We even went a little long, which was great, because I wasn’t sure we had enough material.” He laughs. “But we even were asked to do an encore. So the show filled itself up.”

Sunday, he’ll be back at the center stage, working with his friends and fellow musicians Steven Schrag on piano, Jordan Hehl on bass, and Nicholas Foster on drums—the same players who now make up the band for the Jazz Depot’s Jazzwich shows each Wednesday at noontime. Those who like their downtown lunches with live jazz on the side know that each member of the quartet is adept at putting his own spin on the standards, and there’ll be some of that in Sunday’s concert. But, says Tedder, there’ll also be a lot more.

“Our first show was about a quarter original material, and this one will be about half,” he explains. “Not only did I feel that the original songs were received well the last time; I also think it’s very rewarding to play something personal. It felt as though I was presenting something I had done myself, instead of my interpretation of someone else’s songs. I felt more like a leader.

“Generally speaking,” he adds, “we’re going to feature some of my originals from the last show, along with a swingin’ jazz song I’ve done that I want to play. I’ve also written a kind of jazz suite, three or four small pieces that we’ll improvise around.”

He also plans to feature a couple of originals by the other band members—including, he hopes, a number from drummer Foster.

“He’s written a very personal song I think is just beautiful,” says Tedder. “It’s a really saxophony kind of song, so it works really well for me. He writes from the viewpoint of being in the back of the band, and to me, that’s fascinating. It’s why I like Ringo Starr’s compositions so much.”

There may not be any songs Sunday from Starr’s pen, but Tedder says the group does plan to do at least a couple of rock ‘n’ roll numbers from the likes of Pink Floyd and Radiohead, rearranged for the jazz idiom. Those, along with some of the band’s favorite standards, will complement the selection of original compositions.

One of the reasons Tedder feels confident about performing originals in the show is the presence of his bandmates, who also happen to be his best friends. The four have spent a lot of time together, and their camaraderie has led to the creation of a substantial amount of new music.

“I write these things and then I just sort of forget about them for a couple of weeks,” admits Tedder. “Then one day I’ll call my friends and say, ‘Hey, you want to come over and play some of this I have in my notebooks?’”

“Really, if I’m writing something original, I’m going to want my best friends to come over and hang out and listen to what I’ve got. Your best friends will always be honest with you.”

The show is set to begin Sunday at 5:00 p.m. at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, located in downtown Tulsa’s Jazz Depot, 111 East First Street.

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 Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame members are admitted for $10, and highs school and junior high students for $5. Refreshments will available for purchase.

Tedder’s show is part of the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame’s Winter 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.