Jazz and Blues Heritage Festival on Greenwood

Friday, August 19th 2005, 10:46 am
By: News On 6

The Greenwood Jazz and Blues Festival is Saturday night. It's an evening celebrating Tulsa's musical history, and honoring one of its great musicians, Ernie Fields Sr. His big band toured during the 40's and 50's.

News on 6 reporter Rick Wells sat down with Field's great grandson Ryan Brown, who's in town to conduct a jazz workshop with the festival's opening act.

Ryan Brown graduated high school in Tulsa, went off to college and now lives works and makes music in Boston. He's here to work with the Edison Screaming' Eagles Jazz Band, they are opening the Greenwood Jazz and Blues Fest. "I'm just kind of vibin' 'em out, just giving 'em some advice on how to improve."

For the students it's a rare opportunity to get advice and help from, as they put it, someone from the real world. All these kids are serious about the music. This is an audition only group and like Edison High School junior tenor sax player Daniel Copeland, they love the way jazz makes them feel. "When I get up to play something, I just do my thing, and it feels good." Same feeling for Ryan Brown, he's had for as long as he can remember. "When you wake up and all you think about is playing music, then that's what you're supposed to be doing, that's how it is with me."

This year's festival honors his great grandfather Ernie Fields Sr., whose big band toured during the 40's and 50's, and whose gold record version of "In the Mood" was nominated for a Grammy. Ryan Brown is just keeping a family tradition alive. "It's in my family I guess. Everyone, my mother sings, my grandmother signs, my mother plays a flute, and I think it's just in me."

The festival is Saturday at Archer and Greenwood in downtown Tulsa. The Edison Screaming' Eagles with Ryan Brown kick it off at 5 PM. Texas-based Jazzman Don Diego takes the stage about 10:15 PM and and it's all free.