If you've never heard Mischievous Swing, a) shame on you, and b) you have a chance this weekend.
The band, a family affair involving Shelby Eicher -- god of the fiddle who's played with pretty much anyone you can name, local or not -- sons Isaac on mandolin and Nathan on bass, and Isaac's guitar-whiz friend Ivan Peña, will be performing at 8pm on August 23 at the Jazz Hall of Fame, 111 E. 1st St. in celebration of the release of a self-titled CD.
The elder Eicher admits that the group's instrumentation is unusual, but counts that as a positive.
"Our instruments are pretty much bluegrass," he said. "You hardly ever see somebody come out with a mandolin in a jazz band. So we're kind of like a bluegrass band, but we have a unique thing."
He failed to mention the obvious thing about the band, and that is that everyone in it can play circles around, well, anybody. They are virtuosic players, but they are also versatile. And they put that to use when they performed this summer as part of SummerStage.
"When we did our SummerStage show, we blasted the audience for the first half, and then opened the second half with a mandolin playing a classical piece," Eicher said. "And then after that, we thought, 'Hey, let's do a piece with just guitar and violin,' so we did that."
So a Mischievous Swing show is just that -- mischievous. On purpose. After all, it's an acoustic bluegrass band, essentially, playing jazz.
"There are tunes they expect you to play, but then you pull out something and make people say, 'Wow, I didn't expect them to play that,'" he continued.
It's difficult to convey just how good Mischievous Swing is without presenting an audio file, but it's even harder to relate how good the group is live. Part of that, though, is captured on the eponymous CD due to how the quartet recorded it. Oh, and they did it in two days.
"We did it very old school," Eicher explained. "Back in the old days, all those guys all played at the same time. Now, you have multi-tracking and overdubbing, but we tried to do it old school, because I like the energy of that kind of playing."
Essentially, they walked into the studio, set up in front of some RCA microphones from the 1940s, and got to it.
"Once we got set up the first day, and we knew how many tunes we were going to do, we put our heads down and just did it," Eicher said, like it was no big deal.
And this two-day turnaround was a welcome break for him, as he's got a few projects that have taken a little bit longer.
"I'm working on a project now that started as an EP, and after three years, I'm still working on it," he said.
"And I've been working on a western swing album, and it's going on two and a half years. So it was so cool to just sit down and play. You know, when you go see a concert, there's adrenaline and listening to other people play and reacting to it."
But playing live on studio time can be tricky, especially with a group like this that regularly tackles lightning-fast, unison licks that leave absolutely zero room for error. But that's why musicians practice, it turns out.
"We had a couple of them that were one or two takes," Eicher said. "Some of them were really easy. The one we cut the most times was an original tune that wasn't very fast. Sometimes the fast stuff isn't the hardest part. A lot of times, you'll be in the studio and someone will say, 'Wouldn't it be cool if we tried this?' and everyone tries to do something with that right there on the spot. We had a couple of tracks that we did five or six times."
Still, those multiple takes weren't from being unprepared, as anyone who has heard these guys live can attest to.
"We had a lot of rehearsal time. If you're going to go to the studio and pay by the hour, you want to be prepared," he said. "It comes back to a lot of personal practice time. It's like basketball players. You know those guys are shooting free throws on their days off."
So the CD -- even though already available for sale through CDBaby and iTunes -- will be hailed with the August 23 show. General Admission tickets are $10, reserved table seating is $20 and are available at 918-281-8609.
Young Writers Honored By Young Literature Author
On August 23 at the Gilcrease Museum, the Tulsa Library Trust will present author Jim Murphy with the 2013 Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers' Literature.
Once he's received his award, Murphy, a two-time Newbery winner, will then present awards to winners of the library's 2013 Young People's Creative Writing Contest the next day at 10am at the Hardesty Regional Library, 8316 E. 93rd St.
The contest, according to Christina Walsh, Tulsa City-County Library's teen services coordinator, is in its 29th year, saw a large number of entries this year in the categories of short stories, informal essays, poetry, and short plays.
"We had 515 kids enter," she said. "We took entries from May1 to June 5, and then the judges had about three weeks to read the entries. This was a good time to do it since the kids were out of school, and now they'll get recognized as they're going back to school. Some of the categories have as many as a hundred entries, so it takes a while to judge it."
The 11 anonymous judges -- all with backgrounds in teaching or creative writing and related fields -- have chosen the winners in the categories, which are sub-divided into age groups, as well. First-, second-, and third-place winners will receive $100, $50, $25, respectively.
"It's a fantastic opportunity for the kids to hone their writing skills and get recognized for their hard work," Walsh said.
Both events are free and open to the public.
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Heller and Clark Theatres will hold their fifth annual Season Kick-Off Party on August 23 from 7--10pm at the Henthorne Performing Arts Center, 4825 S. Quaker Ave., and will be filled with food and drink and live performances.
In addition to live music from host Rebecca Ungerman, as well as the Employee Lounge Trio, there will also be previews from the upcoming season--specifically, scenes from Heller's upcoming Show People and music from Clark's season-opening Anything Goes.
Admission is $10, but theatergoers who purchase a Season Flex Pass will get in for free. Flex passes may be purchased at the door and include admission to six performances of any of Heller's or Clark's shows throughout the 2013-14 Season. All proceeds from this fundraiser go to the Heller Council.
Auditions for the choir will be held August 25 from 9am-3pm at the Harwelden Mansion at 2210 S. Main St.. Treble voices in third to 12th grade are invited, and need not bring anything but their voices. "They don't have to have anything prepared," said Ashlee Elmore, who serves as Artistic Director for the vocal ensemble. "I'll just take them through some vocal exercises to kind for gauge their musical ability."
While the choir's full 2013-14 schedule has yet to be announced, singers making it into the choir can expect to be a part of Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols with Tulsa's Vocal Arts Ensemble on December 14 and perform with Grammy-winning Native American Flute player Robert Mirabal and ETHEL, a string quartet, on January 11. The Tulsa Children's Chorus also makes an annual Mayfest appearance.
Chronicling the life of Nancy Ward, a Cherokee War Woman in the 1700's-1800's, who was revered as a peacemaker during the American Revolution, Nanyehi: Beloved Woman of the Cherokee is an original musical presented this coming week at NSU's Center for the Performing Arts, 600 N. Grand Ave. in Tahlequah. The show runs August 27, 30, and 31 at 7:30pm. Admission is free, but tickets need to be reserved at 918-458-2075. Visit nanyehi.com for more information.
Eye Candy Burlesque celebrates its seventh anniversary with its August edition of Boomtown Burlesque. A bit of a reunion show, this event will bring back original ECBers Lu Foxxx, Ilsa The Wolf, and Savonne The Minx, alongside Bossy L'Amour, Poppy Pie and Bammy Calamity. Special guest Kira Von Sutra comes to us all the way from the left coast. Boomtown Burlesque will be held at the IDL Ballroom, 230 E. 1st St., at 9pm on August 24. Tickets are $15 at the door.
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