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Dig Free Tunes at Jazz in June



Samantha Fish

Norman is About to Get Hotter, and that’s cause for celebration. Yes, really. It might seem counterintuitive to get excited about a temperature increase when it’s nearly 100 degrees in the shade, but it truly isn’t: the city’s music scene is catching fire for one sizzling weekend, and a free three-day festival of top-tier acts is no time for audiophiles to play it cool – that’s the job of the jazz and blues-slinging stars performing June 19-21 during Jazz in June.

This will be the 31st annual set for the venerable festival; that’s three solid decades and counting, which means hundreds of thousands of music-lovers have been given reason to smile despite sweltering summer temperatures. The streak continues in 2014, thanks in part to a spotlight appearance from a bandleader who knows a little something about pleasing crowds for many years, and one of the greatest band names you’ll hear in many a long day: Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks.

Hicks performs a special blend of musical genres and influences – country, jazz, swing, pop, even a little bluegrass – that he’s been tinkering with and refining in a career that has seen him go from promising newcomer to mainstay to performance legend. He’s on the north side of 70 now, still dressing sharp and raring to share a few chords and his cheerful voice with listeners, wherever they may be.

Hicks describes his music – self-styled “folk jazz” – as a blend that starts out with a folk music sound to which a jazz beat, solos and singing are added. “It’s kind of light in nature. It’s not loud,” he said. “In a way, it’s carefree.” Listeners during the band’s set anchoring Saturday’s “Jazz in the Park” performances may recognize hints of influences from Tom Waits to Bob Dylan to Django Reinhardt, but the overall voice is unmistakably original, and not a little lighthearted. You don’t spend more than five decades on the road without a sense of humor, after all, and song titles like “How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away?” are evidence of a man still having a good time with his craft.

Dan Hicks

The dapper chap and his instrumental crew (Hicks and Licks) are far from the only performance draws, too – this isn’t a concert, it’s a conclave of talents spanning three days:

Thursday’s show, titled Blues Under the Stars, is headlined by the powerful roadhouse swagger of Kansas City singer and guitarist Samantha Fish, whose 2011 debut album “Runaway” was honored with the prestigious Blues Music Award. She’s been touring steadily since, mixing and matching influences from Steve Ray Vaughan to the Black Crowes to Tom Petty to Son Volt on the road and on her fierce sophomore album “Black Wind Howlin.’” Simultaneously young and seasoned, Fish is a standout on the crowded KC blues circuit; she’s likely to light Norman up with serious energy. First of all, though, opening the festival will be Dirty Red and the Soul Shakers, whose soul-drenched vocals and blistering licks on harmonica capture the spirit of our own Oklahoma blues scene.

The focus shifts genres on Friday, as the Edmond Jazz Orchestra rings in Jazz Under the Stars. The group pounds out plenty of sound, operating as a 25-piece orchestra that features trumpets, trombones, mellophones, saxophones, drums, percussion, bass and piano. Once they finish their set and clear the stage (however long that takes), it’ll be time to welcome The Charlie Hunter and Scott Amendola Duo. Renowned guitarist Hunter and drummer Amendola have recorded five albums together over the last several years (including 2013’s sensational “Pucker”), happily honing their shared affinity for interplay between their instruments while oscillating between intense grooves and sensual melodies.

In addition to Dan Licks and His Hot Licks (we never get tired of saying that name), Saturday’s slate also boasts an appearance from the Boyd Street Brass, which slings a carefully tuned brew of New Orleans-oriented blues, jazz and funk; and Pidgin, a group whose psychedelic approach to afro-soul music is fueled and boosted by a powerful horn section.

Sound like a sweet enough deal? It’s all thanks to festival underwriters the Oklahoma Arts Council and a marvelous combo of sponsors. Enjoy the sounds of summer! 

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Extra Flavor

There’s even more to the festival than the open-air concerts; for those interested in a bit of an encore, conceptually speaking, Jazz in June holds clinics with the artists and after-hours jams. This year’s schedule is:

11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday, June 21, The Performing Arts Studio, historic Norman Santa Fe Depot, 200 S. Jones Ave.

“Two = One Very Big Sound (The Non-Traditional Jazz ‘Band’),” Charlie Hunter & Scott Amendola

“History of Hick Jazz,” Dan Hicks

“The Cigar Box Guitar: Inspiration Through Limitation,” singer, songwriter, guitarist and guitar-builder Kyle Reid

10 p.m. Thursday, June 19, Trés Cantina & Grille, 305 E. Main St.

10 p.m. Saturday, June 21, Hotel Norman (formerly Holiday Inn Express), 1000 N. Interstate Dr., hosted by members of Boyd Street Brass and Pidgin.

The Charlie Hunter and Scott Amendola Duo

Freely Flowing

Partaking of the musical mélange doesn’t cost a dime; all you have to know is when and where to go.

Brookhaven Village
3700 W. Robinson St.
7 p.m. - 10:45 p.m

Brookhaven Village
3700 W. Robinson St.
7 p.m. - 10:45 p.m.

Andrews Park
201 W. Daws St.
6 p.m. - 10:45 p.m.

Life sometimes finds a way to add its own little improvisations, so for the latest scheduling adjustments or a little extra sting of information, visit jazzinjune.org.

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January 2019

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Through March 2019, Oklahoma Contemporary is partnering with Madison Square Park Conservancy to bring Erwin Redl’s installation Whiteout to Campbell Art Park. Whiteout is comprised of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Campbell Art Park
NW 11th and Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
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Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

ArtNow is Oklahoma Contemporary's annual exhibition of Oklahoma-based contemporary artists. It closes with art sale - the first big party of the year with cocktails, tastemakers and the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

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Through March 2019, Oklahoma Contemporary is partnering with Madison Square Park Conservancy to bring Erwin Redl’s installation Whiteout to Campbell Art Park. Whiteout is comprised of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Campbell Art Park
NW 11th and Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

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Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
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View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
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More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

ArtNow is Oklahoma Contemporary's annual exhibition of Oklahoma-based contemporary artists. It closes with art sale - the first big party of the year with cocktails, tastemakers and the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
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View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Show More...
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Through March 2019, Oklahoma Contemporary is partnering with Madison Square Park Conservancy to bring Erwin Redl’s installation Whiteout to Campbell Art Park. Whiteout is comprised of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Campbell Art Park
NW 11th and Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

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Where:
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Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

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Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
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View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

ArtNow is Oklahoma Contemporary's annual exhibition of Oklahoma-based contemporary artists. It closes with art sale - the first big party of the year with cocktails, tastemakers and the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
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Telephone: 405.951.0000
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Cost: Free

Where:
Campbell Art Park
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View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

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Where:
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1 Nature Place
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View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
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More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
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View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

ArtNow is Oklahoma Contemporary's annual exhibition of Oklahoma-based contemporary artists. It closes with art sale - the first big party of the year with cocktails, tastemakers and the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
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View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
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Cost: Free

Where:
Campbell Art Park
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View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
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Where:
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1 Nature Place
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View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

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Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
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View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
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View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

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Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
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More information

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Through March 2019, Oklahoma Contemporary is partnering with Madison Square Park Conservancy to bring Erwin Redl’s installation Whiteout to Campbell Art Park. Whiteout is comprised of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Campbell Art Park
NW 11th and Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Visitors to Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will be able to let their imaginations run wild as they travel back in time with life-size animatronic dinosaurs along a half-mile...

Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
McKinney, TX  75069
View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
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View map »


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Contact Name: Jenni
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