Entertaining Places · Free Places

Where Tulsa’s Jazz History and Future Collide

OKjazzexteriorOccupying Tulsa’s old Union Depot Building (the train station) is a hub jiving with the sounds of jubilant trumpets, sassy saxophones, and melodious guitars. Capturing both the rich history of Tulsa’s jazz past and welcoming an entourage of new musical talent, the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame is an entertainment mecca full of musical adventures.

P1190947On any given weekend, the Jazz Depot, as it’s been affectionately coined, hosts a number of talented musicians. (Visit their website for a full list of upcoming events). The Depot also holds special events, such as a Valentine’s Day Dance coming up on Feb. 14. All-star vocalist, trumpeter, and bandleader Jeff Shadley will be the feature musician alongside his Big Band Orchestra. And of course, it will be the perfect opportunity to get onto the dance floor with your sweetheart.

In addition to weekend and special event concerts, the Jazz Depot hosts a weekly event that is perfect for downtown workers who need some time away from the office: Lunch and Jazz. Admission is free, so bring a brownbag lunch and prepare to hear some music for the soul, every Friday from noon to 1 p.m.

If you can’t hit up the free jazz on Fridays at lunch time, never fear; the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame also offers “Depot Jams” every Tuesday from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m.; a free jazz jam session P1190946open to the public.

As you walk around the Jazz Depot, you’ll be exposed to a taste of Oklahoma musician’s contribution to jazz’s history. Oklahoma musicians were instrumental in the creation of the so-called “Kansas City” style of jazz, a bluesy dance music contrasting with the Dixieland ragtime of New Orleans. Okies like Jay McShann, Roy Milton and Ernie
Fields contributed to jazz’s early days on a national level, and their stories are memorialized at the Depot.

Whether you’re into jazz or not, the Jazz Depot is something worth checking out at least once. Not only is the old train station fun to explore, but chances are, you’ll feel relaxed and happy by the time you leave. (Jazz seems to have that effect on people.) And if you end up loving the music, then you’ll be glad you’ve found a place right here in Tulsa to meet all of your jazz needs.

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