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Grady Nichols returns to Oklahoma City's Charlie Christian International Music Festival

The Tulsa saxophonist will bring a new show Saturday inspired by his recently released sixth album “Destinations.”
by Brandy McDonnell Published: May 30, 2012

Released April 30, his sixth album “Destinations” offers plenty of variety, bringing a jazzy, cosmopolitan energy with first single “London Baby!,” going country with “Tulsa” and channeling a reggae vibe with “Beachside.” The album also includes instrumental covers of Journey's classic rock ballad “Faithfully” and Keith Urban's country chart-topper “Only You Can Love Me This Way.”

“My whole approach to playing sax has been to play it in such a way that it sounds like somebody is singing to you, that it sounds like a vocalist. To take a song, write it in the standard kind of pop format — where you write a song that basically it's singable, it's hummable — but the saxophone's the voice,” Nichols said.

“As a result, I've worked with a lot of pop music songwriters, which has been really cool because it's been different for them to create songs ... in such a way that every note has to count, every note has to mean something when you play it.”

For the album, he reunited with Grammy-winning singer/songwriter/musician Bill Champlin, and the former member of Chicago lent his voice and Hammond B-3 organ skills to “You Know Me.” Nichols also reteamed with Grammy-nominated jazz fusionist Jeff Lorber for “You with Me.”

Nichols recorded “Destinations” at Ben Folds' studio in Nashville, Tenn., with producer Chris Rodriguez, a singer/songwriter/guitarist who has played with Urban, Kenny Loggins, Amy Grant and more.

“I just put myself in situations where I'm writing with a lot of different songwriters,” Nichols said. “It's cool to kind of get out of a comfort zone and just write and learn and learn and write and see what you can come up with that's something distinctive musically to contribute.”

by Brandy McDonnell
Entertainment Reporter
Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1...
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27th Annual Charlie Christian International Music Festival

• Wednesday: Opening of a new exhibit on Frederick A. Douglass High School's music history, 1 p.m., at 900 Martin Luther King Ave.

• Thursday: Jamming Across the City, 7 p.m., Urban Roots, 322 NE 2, and Woody's Sports Bar & Grill, 2501 NE 23. Admission is $5.

• Friday: Live music, 6 to 11:15 p.m., Metro Tech Amphitheater, 1900 Springlake Drive. Reality & The New Era, Equilibrium, Billie Jeane, Robert Banks Band and the reunited After Five Jazz Band. Admission is $10.

• Saturday: Live music, 6 to 11:15 p.m., Metro Tech Amphitheater. Miss Cooki, Spencer Brown & The Dudes, Jeremy Jackson & Sultry Soul, Grady Nichols Band and Jeremy Thomas Quartet. Admission is $10.

• Sunday: James Cleveland Gospel Show conducted by the Rev. Dr. A. Cortes Rex, 5 p.m., Douglass High School.

• For more information: 524-3800 or

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