Please join us at the Central Library as we celebrate art and music as part of our Adult Summer Reading Program. On July 9 we will host jazz historian and pianist John Hamill.
The Stories Behind the Song…is an entertaining one-hour of piano playing and commentary by jazz
historian John Hamill. Taking some of the best of the Great American Song Book (Moonlight
Serenade, Take the “A” Train, San Antonio Rose, As Time Goes By, and others), Hamill tells the story
about the song and then plays it in his jazz-inflected, pop style. For example, Moonlight Serenade is the
fourth title that Glenn Miller’s composition had—its first was Now I Lay Me Down to Weep. Hamill
explains why the melody Miller original composed for a musical arranging course underwent so many
title changes and why and how it ended up being called Moonlight Serenade. He’ll tell why Take the
“A” Train was a musical memo for its composer, why there was a “New” San Antonio Rose, and other
anecdotes about American popular music.
Hamill is a journalism graduate from Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois) who teaches writing
at the University of Tulsa. He also teaches The History of Jazz in Oklahoma State University’s OLLI
program. The former editor of TulsaPeople magazine, he hosted KCMA’s Music in the Morning, and
the jazz show Midnight Oil. A piano student of Rosalie Talbot beginning in the second grade, Hamill
switched from classical to pop when he discovered chords and sheet music. Over the years he has
served as music director for the Youth Services Radio Days, RSVP’s Supper Club Show, and the Red
Glove Revue. He was a founding member of the Tuxedo Junction combo, played solo keyboards for
two years at Jody Walls’s 2300 Riverside Restaurant and currently leads his own jazz trio.
We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of this information. However, you should always call ahead to confirm dates, times, location, and other information.