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June 22, 2014

Musicians lead jazz clinics

NORMAN — The headlining band for this year’s Jazz in June festival played Saturday afternoon in Norman’s Performing Arts Studio for musicians and fans as part of the festival’s series of free clinics.

Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, this year’s headliner, is comprised of a jazz violin, two guitars and two female vocalists doubling as the percussion section.

Michael Lewchuk, Jazz in June president, said the clinics provide an educational angle to the festival, with an opportunity for fans and musicians to get an up-close look at headlining artists.

In addition to Hicks’ band, simger/songwriter Kyle Reid and jazz duo Charlie Hunter and Scott Amendola also featured their music in earlier clinics Saturday.

“The clinics allow people to experience the artists that have made music their life,” Lewchuk said.

As Dan Hicks and his band mates warmed up their instruments, he strummed his guitar and recollected his musical history.

Hicks cultivated his love for percussion at age ten while growing up in California. Hicks said he then went on to teach himself guitar and began to play in various venues in San Franciso to get exposure to the crowds, and test the waters as a live performer.

But Hicks knew his solo days wouldn’t last forever, and began gathering band members to add to the smooth, jazzy sounds known as “Hot Licks.”

“I’ve got a good group going,” he said. “I could be on stage alone, but I don’t want to be.” Since the band’s inception in ‘68, some of Hicks’ band members have changed, but their sound has stayed consistent. Hicks said he’s been working in the same context of jazz, folk, bluegrass and rock for the past 13 to 14 years.

“It’s so good to hear him in person,” Deborah Winfrey, Jazz in June festivalgoer said. “It just makes all the difference in the world.”

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