The Norman Transcript

N-town stories

June 13, 2014

Jazz in June heats up summer nights with free, live music

NORMAN — Summer nights are heating up with swinging tunes during the 31st annual Jazz in June, scheduled for June 19-21.

From blues to big band, funk to country, this year’s free event offers a little bit of something for everyone during three nights of music, said Debra Levy Martinelli, Jazz in June spokesperson. 

“People who are not jazz and blues aficionados, this is the event to go to because it’s an introduction to a whole bunch of different kinds of music,” Martinelli said. “I am not a music aficionado in any way but I go there and it’s magic. Under the stars — it really is magic.”

The concert series began as a single performance in 1984 that attracted a crowd of 300. This year, Martinelli said Jazz in June is expected to attract 50,000 people, similar to audience sizes from years past.

The series, originally a partnership between the Norman Arts Council and the Cimmaron Circuit Opera Company, was formally created as a separate non-profit in 1990 with the Norman Arts Council, Cimmaron Circuit Opera Company and KGOU as partners with members at large.

Over the last 30 years, the concert series’ lineup has included a variety of local, regional and nationally recognized musicians. Jazz in June Program Chair Jim Johnson said the committee tries to book a lineup that reflects the interests of audience members.

“It’s such an intimate event, Jazz in June, we consider it a big ol’ block party even though it attracts people from even farther. To me, we’re all in it together,” he said. “So we just try to deliver what the audience wants or surprise them with what we think they’ll really like.”

Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks is headlining this year’s event with a sound that fuses swing, jazz, folk and country during “Jazz in the Park” 9-10:45 p.m. June 21 at Andrews Park, 201 W. Daws St.

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