Christian Pearson

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The First 'Skirvin Jazz Club' Performance was Amazing... Here's what 2019 Looks Like

Last night’s performance at the Skirvin Hotel in Downtown Oklahoma City was rewarding on many levels. I got to perform with musicians I look up to, collaborate with a diverse set of creatives, realize a vision for an immersive jazz experience in one of my favorite venues, and hang with a hip audience that was ready for the vibe. Most importantly, the concept worked better than expected and the outlook is good for a regular ‘Skirvin Jazz Club’ series in 2019.

Photography by the talented  Audrey Short

Photography by the talented Audrey Short

The Audience at Skirvin Jazz Club

The audience really brought their best. There was a strong sense of anticipation pre-show, and the crowd was receptive throughout the night. Deliberate staging was a big part of our vision for the event. We moved tables from the center of the room to make space for our sextet. The musicians faced each other, and the crowd sat around, 360 degrees, enjoying Park Avenue Grill’s full menu including charcuterie boards, an extensive wine selection, and our featured mixed drink, the “Skirvin Jazz Club Special.” It’s a club special, get it? I thought that was funny. The lighting and intimate setup created amazing vibes that were really good for the music. We literally made the band the center of attention. That’s important for local music.

“Putting the band in the middle of the room like this was paradigm-shifting”

-a pretty epic compliment from an audience member last night

We put a lot of intention into the setup, and I feel that really bolstered the music experience. I hope other venues see the value in moving artists from the corner to the forefront.

The energy stayed strong. After our closing number, the audience followed us into the Red Piano Lounge, where we kept taking requests and playing tunes until the bar closed. It felt good.

The Musicians

I featured a combination of vocalists and instrumentalists. Maddie Breedlove and Rod Porter took the lead on various jazz Christmas tunes, and the three of us sang a fun trio version of “Santa Baby.” Once we settled in, we showed off Trevor Galvin’s rockin’ altissimo, Jemar Poteat’s excellent feel, and Rei Bowen’s rock-solid precision and time.

The combination of vocals and horns felt really nice for this show. In 2019, I hope to feature a combination of vocalists and instrumentalists.

The 2019 Vision for Skirvin Jazz Club

I wanted Skirvin Jazz Club to show off OKC’s jazz vocalists and instrumentalists. I see this show as a way to invite Oklahoma’s professional and cosmopolitan crowds to be an active part of OKC’s Jazz Scene.

I have personal history with the Skirvin… My Friday night spot at the Skirvin Red Piano Lounge was my first legit professional gig. I’ve spent thousands of hours playing that red piano, and I’ve learned so much there. I feel The Skirvin Jazz Club is an important next chapter for me as a musician, host, and entertainer. With Saints Sessions, I generally took an administrative role; with Skirvin Jazz Club, I plan to take a more active role as a host and performer.

I want the Skirvin Jazz Club to be a place where Oklahoma City and its guests can experience artful music presented in an entertaining format. From the decor to the menu, I believe we will pull audiences into a musical experience that makes them feel close community with the people in the room.

We’re going to make The Skirvin Jazz Club the best night out in Oklahoma.

Christian PearsonComment