The show at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame was a hugh success, a night that consisted of many highlights and large donations for Jazz Masters Workshops. Special guests for the evening included Whit Smith on guitar, the vocal stylings of Curator Chuck Cissell and Rick Bentley on banjo. Rick and his lovely wife graciously allowed us to stay at his comfortably styled ranch home for the evening.
And that's when the magic silently crept into the room. After getting a chance to settle in from the ride from the Hall of Fame to Rick's home, Shelby Eicher showed up with his fiddle and mandolin in hand.
Getting a chance to step back in time is rare, but dejay vu is common. Reminiscent of the "heydays in jazz" when the real jamming began after the scheduled nightly gigs were over and and what would start would continue on into the early hours.
The comforting intimacy of Rick's home provided Bruce Forman on guitar, Shelby Eicher on both mandolin and fiddle, Phil Salazar on fiddle, Rick Bentley on banjo, Devin Hoffman on bass and Mike McKinley on drums to just play, explore and flat out have fun jamming with friends. New songs, old songs and lots of variations on themes were played by some of the best musicians around. The preferred highlight of the evening was easily Django Reinhardt's "Minor Swing". Shelby played more than one passages that were just plain "sweet." Feel privileged to be one of the few that expierenced the impromptu jam session that went on tonight.
There is now officially a two-way tie for the crown of "Best Accommodations."
Waking the next morning to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and spalacially good views from the patio of Rick's home the gang packed up to go to yet another musicians home, Whit Smith. This time the setting was a backyard barbecue in the historic old town district of downtown Tulsa. Host Whit Smith also had a jam session set up with most of the same players from last night. This made for a perfect afternoon in the sun. Good food, good company, good digs and the excellent music that lasted all afternoon.
But alas it was time to move on down the road making our way through southern Oklahoma.