Jazz festival honoring musicians of past, present

The Charlie Christian International Jazz Festival has been around for 22 years, honoring former and current jazz artists.

“We have every reason to have the festival in this area. It is where it should be because this is where our roots are,” said Anita Arnold, executive director for Black Liberated Arts Center Inc., producer of the festival.

Christian was a legendary jazz guitarist who was raised in Oklahoma City and attended Douglass High School. He is acclaimed for having inspired such guitarists as B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix and T-Bone Walker.

The festival starts off June 5 in the City Council chambers. At 3 p.m., Mayor Mick Cornett will lead a dedication ceremony to rename Byers Avenue in Christian’s honor.

The next day, the festival continues with a jam session at the Bricktown Brewery with jazz organist Jeremy Thomas.

A battle of the bands will wage at the Brewery on June 7, then the festival moves outdoors for June 9-10.
There, a dozen bands will play on two stages on either side of the Oklahoma River, with Tulsa saxophonist Eldredge Jackson headlining the event on June 9. On June 10, the bands All Funk Radio Show and Maurice Spears will play, along with some gospel acts.

BLAC Inc. will use funds raised by the festival for great causes like arts programming within the Oklahoma City Public Schools system.

For more information, call 524-3800 or visit the Web site . “Lisa Spinelli

Lisa Spinelli

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