POSTED ON JUNE 26, 2013:
A Changing of Seasons
Musician opens next chapter
There comes a point in every person's life when changes come and you move on to the next chapter in life. Sometimes those changes are big, while other times they're small. The same thing often applies to musicians as they continue to grow and those changes may be as small as a shift in lineup or moving on to a whole new project or even going on tour right up to packing up and moving across the country to start afresh or take advantage of an undeniable opportunity.
For multi-instrumentalist Ryan Tedder, the time has come for him to pack up and move on to something new and fresh. It's not that Tulsa doesn't have anything left for him -- in fact, our city has kept him quite busy. After starting out with Citizen Mundi, he has gone on the play with Jet Set Kings, FuZed and Charlie Redd as well and being a member of indie hip-hop act Mexican Cartel and launching his own jazz combo, Ghost Quartet. Over the past year, he even charted the horns and appeared on the recordings for Eric Himan's new CD, Gracefully. And although he loves Tulsa, he also feels change in the air and can feel something new coming his way -- specifically a move to Chicago to follow new pursuits and opportunities there.
Before packing up his belongings and gear, however, he wanted to do something to celebrate his time in Tulsa, so he's throwing a farewell blowout this weekend that's serving as a going away party while raising a bit of money to help cover his moving expenses.
When sitting down with Tedder at the Tom Tom Club last week following a gig with Ghost Quartet, he explained that, "I wanted to make an exit, instead of just disappear or fade away and this is kind of one last opportunity to reconnect with all of the band's I've played in."
Of course, Tedder will be playing his sax (and other instruments) throughout the night, but the focus really isn't on him so much as enjoying a variety of styles of music. As such, the show that he has put together at the Jazz Hall of Fame this coming Friday night, June 28, has a bit of everything: Jazz, hip-hop, world beat, indie-rock and even a little classic rock.
The lineup for the night will include sets by Ghost Quartet, Mexican Cartel and Mundi as well as a guest set by indie dance rock act, Guardant. Even after the main sets finish up, however, Tedder expects the night to linger as he opens the stage to wrap the night with an extended jam session.
So Cool He Uses a Flute as a Drumstick. When multi-instrumentalist Ryan Tedder bids farewell to his hometown Friday, we’re going to be short, like 10 musicians in this town, because he’s that versatile.
Three of those acts are projects that Tedder is involved in and shows just how diverse his talent is as well as how his career has evolved so far. When asked about the differences between the projects and how they each give him a different type of outlet, Tedder described the freedom he enjoys with each.
Ghost Quartet -- which includes Jordan Hehl on bass, Steven Schrag on keyboards and Nicholas Foster on drums -- is what Tedder described as "Me and my best friends. For me, though, it's my difficult or most demanding group because I work on the music so much. It's improvisational and we all know each other really well after five years, but there's an aspect to it that also leaves me the most exhausted after a Ghost Quartet gig."
Part structured, part improvisational, Ghost Quartet adheres most to the jazz elements of Tedder's training and playing, although it also leaves plenty of room to cross genre boundaries as the group also was part of the Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon tribute that did so well at the Jazz Hall this past spring.
Mexican Cartel, on the other hand is an eclectic, indie hip-hop experiment that includes Mason Remel on keyboards with Tedder on sax, Nicholas Foster on drums, Jean Paul Pope on cello and Scott Phillips (AKA: Dr. Freeman) rapping. Not only does the group veer in a completely different direction, but it also has yielded strong reactions in its limited performances.
"Mexican Cartel had basically played its last show already, but a few people were so unhappy and vocal about it that we're calling it our 'Coming back from the dead' show," Tedder shared. "This group is just a different thing completely because it gave me an opportunity to work with an MC with hip hop grooves. There's no improvisation with the Cartel, but it's unlike anything else I've ever done before, not just because of the hip-hop element, but because I'm playing harmonies with the cello."
"It's really Mason's brainchild," Tedder continued. "He does all the writing and knows what direction he wants to go with it, but it's been really cool to be able to be a part of someone else's vision, which is part of why I always enjoyed it."
Of course, there's also Citizen Mundi, who finally reformed over the winter for a reunion with a slightly altered lineup in March.
"Mundi was my first major music project," Tedder reflected, "and reforming the band was really more about hanging with old friends and rekindling a vibe. It's kind of like reading a favorite book that you haven't read in a long time. It's comfortable and familiar and a little fresh at the same time."
And what about the addition of Guardant? "They're just really good guys who agreed and want to be part of the show," he explained. "I'm friends with those guys and I went to school with the Huletts, so it all just works."
So what is drawing Tedder to Chicago, and what does the future hold? While he already has some music lessons lined up, his musical career is open to evolve.
"My goal is just to meet musicians once I get out there and put together a new project to explore new musical opportunities," he shared. "The way a band sounds has so much to do with the way people react to each other. I just want to expand my playing and meet new people and continue to grow. I love Tulsa, but I feel like I'm ready to try something new. Plus, I have an uncle out there, and there's just something about the city that has always drawn me there and captured my imagination."
Before leaving, though, Tedder wanted to do something to celebrate his Tulsa ties and go out in style. As a result, he's throwing a huge going away and farewell bash at the Jazz Hall of Fame this Friday night, June 28 with all of his friends and some special guests. Cover charge is $10 and doors open at 7pm, although he suggests people arrive early, as the music will start at 7:30 as Ghost Quartet kicks off with a couple of numbers, then quickly transitions into what will likely be the last time to hear select Dark Side of the Moon selections with the group that originally came together this past April. Mexican Cartel, Mundi and Guardant will play, and then all bets are off as Tedder opens the stage to friends and fellow musicians.
"Basically, I just want this to be a good time for everyone. Anyone who wants to bring an instrument and play can play; anyone who wants to dance can dance."
It all promises to be a great celebration as the party is catered by Elote with free appetizers and the Jazz Hall's cash bar is open. The jam session may even stretch out into the wee hours of the night, as the doors close at 2am and friends continue to play on -- all to be dictated by the moment and the chemistry. Make your plans now to party on and say farewell. Additional donations will be accepted -- after all, it costs a lot to move across the county and start over, but you can rest assured Tedder will continue to make Tulsa proud.
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