Good for the scene
Charlie Redd spreads love through music.
For 20 years, bass player, singer and bandleader Charlie Redd has called himself a Tulsan. But Redd brings the “flava” of his past homes — San Antonio and Austin, Texas; Japan; Hong Kong; and his birthplace, Los Angeles — to the music he makes in Oklahoma and beyond.
Though he recently provided background vocals to greats including Jimmy Vaughan, Charlie Sexton and Robert Plant, even participating in a superband of legends at the most recent Austin Music Awards, Redd might be most well-known in Tulsa for his funk-pop band Full Flava Kings.
The band’s lead singer and bassist, Redd describes his music career as a sequence of opportunities. From joining the Tulsa-based band Freak Show in the 1990s, which first moved him to Oklahoma, and then hitting the road with Vaughan and Eric Clapton, he now travels in stints with Full Flava Kings.
“My music is inspired by everything I hear,” Redd says. “The Beatles; Earth, Wind and Fire; Stevie Wonder; Prince; Jimi Hendrix at the top of the list of artists. Gospel, jazz, blues, rock ’n’ roll, classical, reggae. So many different influences.”
Redd has quietly done much for the local music community; not only by entertaining locals and creating amazing dance floors for audiences, but also by engaging local musicians and providing them a much-needed stepping stone. For example, Branjae Jackson of Branjae and the Filthy Animals and Count Tutu launched into the Tulsa music scene in recent years after honing her skills with Full Flava Kings.
“Full Flava is not just Kings. It’s also Queens,” Redd says. “A lot of people have come in this band as protégés, then gone on to have their own success. Some major success.
“It’s almost like an institution. (Musicians) learn how to run the business. (I) always share any information I can.”
One lesson he hopes to impart is the importance of musical themes. “I would like to encourage new artists, especially in the hip-hop genre, to focus on more positive, inspiring and encouraging messages. Take responsibility for what you’re writing and sending out to the world.”
Singer/songwriter Ellicott debuted her original album, “Lonesome Goldmine,” released on Tulsa-based label Unknown Tone Records, on Sept. 18. A departure from her jazz roots, it features eight songs — dark, layered vignettes with mesmerizing melodies.
Exploring lyrical topics that dive into self-reflection with instrumentations as complex as the subject matter, the sound weaves together piano, upright bass, ukulele, accordion and percussion with found sounds, field recordings and tape loops. Visit unknowntonerecords.bandcamp.com.
“Sounds of Solitude: Cybertech Dreaming”
James is a multi-instrumentalist who creates soulful, complex original works in Tulsa. On May 24, he self-released his latest album, an electronica-heavy sequel to his 2015 release, “Sounds of Solitude.” His sound — which features a variety of acoustic and electronic instruments — harkens to bands such as Plaid or Telefon Tel Aviv, while complex layered time signatures, Rhodes piano and blended synth have the jazz fusion qualities of Bernie Worrell, Weather Report, Flying Lotus and Thundercat. Visit mistermjii.com.
Editor’s note: The writer’s husband, Mark Kuykendall, produced Ellicott’s album.