Happy Birthday to Emily Grace and Zachary Joseph! I am so grateful for your lives. You are a gift from God, and I pray that you will experience God's rich blessings as you love Him with your heart, soul, mind and strength. You are loved more than you can imagine.
The Nightingales are in the middle of a long, hot Oklahoma summer. Jacob started drum line camp just this morning. He is playing tenors in the Jenks High School Trojan Pride. Joshua just got back from an incredible week in Knoxville, Tennessee. He was at the Evangelical Covenant Church's triennial youth conference, CHIC. We spent the first part of the summer in California, visiting friends and family in Redwood City, attending the Covenant's Annual Meeting in Irvine, and staying with Luanne's mom and dad in Simi Valley. I was commissioned as a minister in the ECC, an honor that I wrote about for the Worship Connect blog. Emily's rocking Jenks Gymnastics and Zach's playing competitive soccer for the West Side Alliance.
We are sad at the passing of Luanne's grandpa, Paul Brown, but we are grateful for his full and faithful life. We are praying for comfort for his wife, Olivia, and for Luanne's mom, aunt and cousins.
I had the very cool opportunity to speak with John Wooley a couple days ago. John is a well-known author, historian, filmmaker, and the host of "Swing On This" on KWGS, Public Radio Tulsa. He interviewed me on behalf of the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, and this article is the result:
As would be the case with any performer, vocalist Matt Nightingale is hoping for a big crowd Sunday, when he appears with pianist Cheryl Bocanegra, bassist Cortez Johnson, and drummer Arthur Thompson at the Jazz Depot.
But even if every seat is taken and there’s a line outside the door that stretches far beyond Detroit Avenue, it won’t even be a fraction of his largest audience ever. In November of 2006, Nightingale sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Candlestick Park, prior to a National Football League game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks.
“They had a kind of American Idol competition, and I won it, so I got to sing,” explains Nightingale. “It was one of those beautiful rare occasions when the 49ers beat the Seahawks, and it was also the day that Jerry Rice’s jersey was retired, so everybody was there. They had 70,000 people in the stadium that day.”
An Indiana native who spent a decade in California, Nightingale has lived in Tulsa for the past two and a half years, serving as the music director for Redeemer Covenant Church. Every Sunday, he and Bocanegra perform together as part of the worship service, so it’s logical that she would be the one to bring him onto the Jazz Hall of Fame stage.
“Cheryl Bocanegra is an incredible pianist, and I believe she’s done two of the annual piano concerts at the Jazz Hall,” he says. “The last time she played one of those, a year or so ago, she asked me to come in and sing. I did `Moanin’’ by Bobby Timmons, with the lyrics that had been added by Jon Hendricks. [Artistic director] Chuck Cissel liked what I did and invited me back to sing last spring, when they were doing a Gershwin revue. I did a couple of songs and – well, I guess it went really well, because they asked me to do my own show.”
He wasted no time in contacting Bocanegra about joining him, knowing that she could handle the approach to pop and jazz music he had in mind.
“Besides playing together in church, Cheryl and I are in a pop band called Sound Society,” he says. “We’ve played Summer’s Fifth Night at Utica Square twice, and we’ve done parties and events around town, so we’ve worked together quite a bit.
“When I was in California, I also did a number of music-related things,” he adds. “I did a show that had a couple of hours of standards, jazz, and Broadway songs, and I had my own little band that played around coffeehouses and places like that. So picking songs and putting a show together are not completely foreign to me. Really, I do that every week. Obviously, it’s for a completely different purpose, but in the last 12 or 13 years, I’ve been putting musical programs together for church.”
Sunday’s show, he says, will feature three different styles of music in roughly equal amounts. “Maybe a third will be traditional jazz, another third will be pop songs people have heard on the radio, like Marc Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis.’ And another third will be sort of avant-garde.”
He puts his version of the 2011 song “Hangin’ On” by Active Child in the latter category. “It’s a kind of electronic, dreamy, alternative-pop song, and we’ve rearranged it for piano, bass, and drums,” he explains. “We’re doing different arrangements a lot, trying to turn things upside down in a new way.”
Helping him and the band do that will be body percussionist Jeff Porter, who’s set to add his talents to “I’ve Got Rhythm,” and Nightingale’s wife Luanne, who’ll join him to sing the Academy Award-winning “Falling Slowly” from the 2006 movie Once.
And for his closing number?
“Could there be a better one than `A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square’?” he asks with a laugh. “It’s pretty hard for me to get away from that one -- although I'm thinking about changing the title to `A Nightingale Sang in Utica Square.’”
Matt Nightingale and Cheryl Bocanegra are set to take the stage 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 solo concert 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.
The concert is a part of the Jazz Hall’s Spring 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.
Hey Friends! Please join me for a show at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, Sunday, April 29, at 5pm. I'll be joined by Arthur Thompson on drums, Cortez Johnson on bass and Cheryl Bocanegra on piano. Jeff Porter will stomp along on "I Got Rhythm" and my lovely wife, Luanne, will join me for "Falling Slowly" by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.
This won't be your mama's jazz concert! We're covering lots of diverse artists... Active Child, James Blake, Imogen Heap, Dave Matthews, Michael Buble, Maroon 5... along with some great jazz classics and even a few originals.
Praying for Josh and the students and leaders from Redeemer Covenant Church as they head for Guatemala on Sunday! It's gonna be a great trip. You can check out Josh's blog at Shuatemala and follow the trip at Guatemala Mission Trip 2012.