The adventures of Annie
Annie Ellicott makes a living as a professional jazz singer.
Producer Mark Kuykendall and vocalist Annie Ellicott collaborated on Ellicott’s latest album, “Lonesome Goldmine.” It is her first album of original material.
When 15-year-old Annie Ellicott volunteered to sing Nat King Cole’s “Orange Colored Sky” at a concert for her high school jazz band, she couldn’t have imagined the spark it would ignite in her. Now an adult, Ellicott makes a living as a professional jazz singer, dividing her time and performances among her native Tulsa, Kansas City and Los Angeles.
Though Ellicott waited until her teenage years to embrace her magnetic quality as a solo vocalist, music was a huge part of her childhood. Her father, Rod Ellicott, was a professional musician who played bass guitar in rock bands around town, so musicians frequented the house.
“There was a lot of music around growing up, and I always had a natural interest in it,” Ellicott says.
She started pursuing that interest at an early age, performing in the Tulsa Youth Opera Chorus when she was in elementary school. Ellicott learned the piano as a young girl before transitioning to the saxophone at Central High School.
Around that time, she came to love jazz vocalists like Chet Baker, Nat King Cole and the incomparable Sarah Vaughan.
From that high school jazz band director who gave Ellicott her first solo to Buddy Bruce, the local guitarist who heard her sing and offered to help her compile her first tune list, Ellicott found mentors and fans almost immediately.
“The path really kind of unfolded for me,” she says. “I did have to do things that were scary and say, ‘Yes,’ over and over again, and then show up. But other than that, it really just has had its own legs.”
Most recently, she sought out an old friend, local producer Mark Kuykendall of Unknown Tone Records. The pair collaborated on her first album of original material, “Lonesome Goldmine,” which releases next month.
The record is a slight departure from Ellicott’s traditional jazz style, incorporating elements of singer/songwriter folk, jazz fusion and ambient soundscapes. The combination feels cinematic in nature.
“It’s a real wash of sound,” Ellicott says. “So, if you were to have it on headphones and close your eyes, it induces really rich imagery. And it’s also something that you listen to and think, ‘Oh, that would be perfect for a movie.’”
This month, however, Ellicott is back to her roots. She will perform a selection of jazz and standards at Cascia Hall’s Performing Arts Center for the second installment of LIFE Senior Services’ Musical Mondays concert series.
Although it is open to Tulsans of all ages, the series launched in 2002 in an effort to provide Tulsa seniors the opportunity to hear quality music from some of the city’s best musicians without requiring them to drive downtown.
Since its inception, Musical Mondays has presented 66 concerts and sold more than 25,000 tickets to an enthusiastic audience who otherwise might not have experienced the talented musicians like Ellicott that Tulsa has to offer.
15th annual Musical Mondays featuring Annie Ellicott
Doors open at 6 p.m. Concert starts at 7. Cascia Hall Performing Arts Center, 2600 S. Utica Ave. $10. Call 918-664-9000, ext. 245, or visit www.lifeseniorservices.org for a full schedule of 2016 series musicians and details on series tickets.
May’s Best Bets for Live Music
5/3 Graham Nash, Brady Theater Grammy Award-winner Graham Nash was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his roles in The Hollies and Crosby, Stills & Nash and into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame for his solo career and with CSN. The 74-year-old Nash’s “This Path Tonight” tour supports his recently released collection of new solo recordings, his first in 14 years. Concert starts at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7.
5/19 Dwight Yoakam, The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Since 1985, country crooner Dwight Yoakam has sold more than 25 million copies of 20-plus albums and compilations. He recently released his latest album, “Second Hand Heart.” Expect hints of Elvis Presley, The Everly Brothers, The Beatles and The Beach Boys, among other influences. Concert starts at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7.