2005 Inductees

NAT KING COLE - Jay McShann Lifetime Achievement Award 
Born Nathaniel Adams Coles in 1917, at four he moved to Chicago when his father was called to the True Light Baptist Church. Even at that age he could sing "Yes, We Have No Bananas" as he accompanied himself on the piano. His first public performance as a pianist was at four in Chicago's Regal Theater. His mother, who was his first music teacher, wanted him to become a classical pianist.

Although as early as 12 he played the organ and sang in his father's church, his interests were with jazz - an interest and type of music that displeased his parents because of Jazz's connection with nightclubs and the sporting life. However, three of Nat's brothers - Eddie, Fred and Isaac - were already jazz musicians, and Nat first played piano in Eddie Cole’s jazz band, the Rogues of Rhythm.

In 1936 he moved to Los Angeles where he formed a group that later became the King Cole Trio. In 1943, he recorded his first national hit record, "Straighten Up and Fly Right," which was based on one of his father's sermons and on a traditional black folktale. Success followed with "It's Only a Paper Moon" in 1945, "The Christmas Song" in 1947, "Nature Boy" in 1948, "Mona Lisa" in 1949 and "Too Young" in 1951.

Cole was the first African-American jazz musician to have his own weekly radio show (1948-49).  In 1956, he became the first African American to have a weekly program on network television (1956-57), but the show was canceled because it could not find a national sponsor. Although Nat 'King' Cole moved away from jazz, and is best known as a melodious, smooth singer of such popular songs as "Pretend," "Route 66," "Christmas Song" and "Rambling Rose," his stronger claim to a place in musical history is as a jazz pianist. He is also known as an actor in "St. Louis Blues" (1958) and "Cat Ballou" (1964).

An heir of Earl Hines, whom he studied closely as a child in Chicago, King Cole was an influence on such followers as Oscar Peterson.  And his trio, emerging in the dying days of the swing era, helped lead the way in small-band jazz. His rich, husky voice and careful enunciation, and the warmth, intimacy, and good humor of his approach to singing, allowed him to succeed with both ballads and novelties, such that he scored over 100 pop chart singles and more than two dozen chart albums over a period of 20 years, enough to rank him behind only Frank Sinatra as the most successful pop singer of his generation. 

FREDDY COLE - Living Legend Award 
Lionel Frederick Cole was born on October 15, 1931, the youngest of Edward and Paulina Nancy Cole's five children. His three elder brothers, Eddie, Ike, and Nat (12 years Freddy's senior), were all musicians. "I started playing piano at five or six," Freddy remembers. "Music was all around me." In the Chicago home of his youth, visitors included Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Lionel Hampton. He also credits Billy Eckstine as a major influence. "He was a fantastic entertainer," Freddy recalls. "I learned so much from just watching and being around him."

After a possible career with the NFL was shelved due to a hand injury, he began playing and singing in Chicago clubs as a teenager. Although he was ready to hit the road at 18, his mother intervened and he continued his musical education at the Roosevelt Institute in Chicago.

Freddy moved to New York in 1951, where he studied at the Juilliard School of Music and found himself profoundly influenced by John Lewis, Oscar Peterson, and Teddy Wilson. He got a master's degree at the New England Conservatory of Music and then spent several months on the road as a member of an Earl Bostic band that also included Johnny Coles and Benny Golson.

It was back in New York that Freddy successfully laid the groundwork for a career that continues to flourish to this day. He developed a vast repertoire of songs in Manhattan bistros and concurrently began to supplement his live performances with television and radio commercial jingle work.

Freddy has been a recording artist since 1952, when his first single, "The Joke's on Me," was released on the obscure Chicago-based Topper label. The following year, he produced a moderate hit, "Whispering Grass," for Columbia's OKeh subsidiary. After making singles and albums for Dot, De-Lite, and other domestic labels in the Fifties and Sixties, Freddy recorded several albums for European and English companies during the Seventies that helped him to develop a loyal overseas following, especially in Brazil.

Cole believes that becoming an international favorite made him "widen my scope a little bit." He developed a stand-up act, a better rapport with audiences, and learned to sing in other languages. "It made me much more of a performer."  Freddy cut albums for his own Atlanta-based First Shot and Dinky labels during the Seventies and Eighties and for the Sunnyside and Laserlight labels in the early Nineties, before joining the Fantasy family.
Cole doesn't apologize for sounding so much like his brother, Nat "King" Cole. There are certain unmistakable similarities. He plays piano and sings and performs live with guitar and upright bass, just like Nat. Yet his voice is raspier, smokier, and jazzier even. But he has emerged from the awesome shadow cast by his elder brother. In truth, his phrasing is far closer to that of Frank Sinatra or Billie Holiday than that of his brother and his timing swings a little more.

His peers from the world of jazz are quick to sing his praises. Milt Jackson asserts that "Freddy Cole is one of my favorite singers." And Joe Williams believed that Cole is a "very, very important voice with a special elegance and quality."   With his sixth Fantasy release, Cole's career continues to ascend. His vocals--suave, elegant, formidable, articulate, polished--are among the most respected in jazz, and he occupies a place in the front ranks of America's homegrown art form with a style and a musical sophistication that are uniquely his own.

Indeed, while earlier in his career reviewers compared him with his older singing brother Nat Cole, today rave reviews pour in for Freddy on his own terms: "When it comes to spinning a tale of love, Cole belongs right up there with illustrious predecessors like Johnny Mathis, Tony Bennett, [and] Frank Sinatra. . . .” (Stereo Review); "Cole, one of the few male jazz singers these days, is at the height of his powers" (New York Times).

Freddy Cole himself simply states, "You put yourself inside a song and make it happen to you."

STEVE WILKERSON - Jazz Inductee
Steve Wilkerson, saxophone and clarinet virtuoso began his professional career at age 11, in Ramona, Oklahoma, when he joined his father’s dance band. Awarded a full scholarship to the University of Tulsa, he was lead alto and jazz soloist for their award winning jazz ensemble. He completed a Bachelors Degree in classical clarinet and won the coveted Downbeat Combo Award. After graduation, he toured with the Stan Kenton Orchestra as lead alto and jazz soloist. After moving to Los Angeles, he began extensive work on tenor sax, receiving rave reviews from Leonard Feather who proclaimed him “a ruling master of the tenor sax” and his CD with Joey DeFrancesco titled “A Blue Sorta Thing” validates that statement.  His baritone sax release, “Shaw ‘Nuff” was featured in a major article in Downbeat Magazine and hailed by Jazz Journal International as one of the top jazz albums of the year. Steve has recorded with Shelley Manne and The Frank Capp Juggernaut Band. His solo on “Soft as Velvet” was picked as one of the best recordings of the Juggernaut Band on the Concord album of the same name. A former student of Phil Woods, Cannonball Adderly and Donald Sinta, Wilkerson has performed with the likes of Clark Terry, Mel Torme, Sarah Vaughn, Nancy Wilson, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, Barbra Streisand and Barry Manilow.

A sought after educator and clinician, Steve has been professor of jazz at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA, for 16 years. He has given master classes for major universities including UCLA, USC, the University of Texas, Cal State, Fresno, and Morningside College in Iowa, to name a few. He has taught for the National Music Camp in Interlochen.

Steve holds the honor of being recognized as Outstanding Alumni from Pittsburg State University in Kansas where he completed a Masters Degree in Classical Saxophone; outstanding Teacher by the Religious Institute; Who’s Who of American College Professors in 2004 and 2005. 

ANDREA BAKER - Jazz Inductee
Andrea Baker has received rave reviews from music critics including Zan Stewart and Bill Kohlhasse of the Los Angeles Times, Scott Yanow of Jazz Now Magazine, John Barrett of Jazz Improv Magazine, Don Heckman of the LA Times and Leonard Feathers.

Andrea has appeared at the Wichita Jazz Festival, the Texas Jazz Festival, Sacramento Jazz Festival and the Big Bear Jazz Festival. She has been guest artist and clinician for such schools as the National Music Camp in Interlochen, Morningside College in Iowa, the University of Tulsa, University of Texas, Arlington and Cal State, Fresno, and UCLA, to name a few. She has appeared with the Stan Kenton Orchestra, the Ray Anthony Orchestra, the Billy May Orchestra, the Jack Sheldon Orchestra, the Frank Capp Juggernaut Band, and with guitarist, Barney Kessel (an Oklahoma Jazz Hall inductee and jazz legend).  She has performed for such celebrities as Merv Griffin, Red Buttons, Suzanne Somers and Milton Berle.  She has recorded extensively for Skyline Records and Dane Records.

In addition to her extensive music career, Andrea has recently rekindled her involvement in acting.  She has produced albums for other artists and was the production advisor for The Art of Jazz Saxophone, distributed by Hal Leonard.

She holds a BME from the University of Tulsa and MM from Pittsburg State University in Kansas.  A composer/arranger/ clinician/educator /critically acclaimed interpreter of American songbook, Andrea Baker is also knowledgeable of the rhythm section instruments (bass, piano and guitar.) Her multi-faceted skills keep her in high demand for jazz clinics, both vocal and instrumental. She has taught vocal and instrumental music at the high school, college and university levels and is currently the director for the top performing Studio Jazz Big Band Ensemble for Pasadena City College. She is the first woman to hold this position. She also teaches jazz voice at Pasadena City College.  Andrea is a native of Muskogee, Oklahoma.

MADELINE MANNING MIMS - Gospel Inductee
Madeline Manning Mims is an accomplished Christian recording vocalist who thrills audiences whether she is singing “My Tribute” over national television, the National Anthem at the Milrose Games in Madison Square Gardens, or “Amazing Grace” to prison inmates across America.

Her capability as an outstanding musical performer has taken her from the world of athletics (track), where she was requested to use her singing talents for international banquets and stadium renditions, to international concerts, television and studio recordings.

Madeline has received a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from Tennessee State University. She has received an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity degree from Oral Roberts University, where she attended and studied in the Masters of Divinity program.  She is a bible teacher and track coach at Metro Christian Academy in Tulsa.  Madeline is an author, international speaker and contemporary gospel recording artist.  She and her family have a ministry through sports and the arts known as AMBASSADORSHIP, INC.

Gary Hill of the Track and Field News reports, “Another 3-time Milrose winner – Madeline Manning – provided the most stunning performance of the night, and it didn’t even come on the track. A gospel singer of increasing renown, Manning thrilled and chilled the crowd with a magnificent a cappella version of “The Star Spangled Banner.”  She is founder and president of the professional sports chaplains program known as United States Council for Sports Chaplaincy.

Madeline Manning Mims was also named one of America’s Outstanding Young Women – Madeline is a GOLD and SILVER Olympic medalist in track.

She pioneered the 800 meter run for the United States by being the first (and at present) the only American woman to bring back a GOLD Medal in this event, along with the American Record, which she held for 15 years, the Olympic Record and the World Record.  She has been a member of four (4) Olympic Teams for the United States, spanning a 16-year international career.

As a speaker and leader among world athletes, Madeline has shared at the White House and on the steps of the Capitol in response to the Presidential address to the Olympians and the American people.  Madeline has been inducted into the National and Olympic Halls of Fame. She was honored in the stadium at the 2000 Sydney Olympics as an Olympic Legend.

She is founder and president of the professional sports chaplains program known as United States Council for Sports Chaplaincy.  She has been a chaplain at the 1988 Seoul, 1992 Barcelona, 1996 Atlanta, 2000 Sydney and the 2004 Greece Olympiads.

DAVID SKINNER - Blues Inductee
David Skinner, born in Henrietta, Texas, began singing on stage at the very young age of eight years old. His mother and father were avid music lovers with a wide range of music interests – jazz, blues, folk, classical, and Broadway.  David took up guitar and began playing in bands at age 14. After graduating high school in 1968, he continued playing in various bands throughout his college years.

In 1972, David moved to Austin, and joined a band called Rockola, with Lou Ann Barton, Randy DeHart and others. Through contacts from this band, David met and played with the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimmy Vaughn, Kim Wilson, Marc Benno, Johnny Winter, Ray Sharpe, Lightning Hopkins, Little Feat, New York Dolls, BW Stevenson Danny Sanchez, and many others in the Texas music scene. After leaving the Rockola band, David played in several bands throughout the South, including Skydog, Nighttrain, and Kegbelly.  He also played with and/or opened for Aerosmith, Delbert McClinton, Lynrd Skynrd, 38 Special, Holly Hatchet, Black Oak Arkansas, Sonny Landreth, Spencer Davis Group, Clifton Cheneir and the Amazing Rhythm Aces.
 
Since moving to Tulsa in 1980, David has been performing and contributing to the Tulsa music scene for over 25 years, having played with the bands Remedy, The Gators, Larry Cagle Band, The Automatics, Tatu and the Polly Ess Band. The last few years one may have seen him playing with Night Train, and currently, with the David Skinner Band.

ELDREDGE JACKSON - Legacy Tribute Award
Oklahoma jazz fans have enjoyed the sound of Eldredge Jackson for more than 15 years. A seasoned contemporary jazz musician, singer and songwriter, Jackson has been writing his own music since age 11 and has mastered keyboard, percussion, woodwind and string instruments.

Jackson’s yet to be titled debut CD will be released in late 2005. Fellow Tulsan and renowned bass guitarist, Wayman Tisdale will be the producer.  Tisdale is a former Legacy Tribute Award recipient, smooth jazz performer and composer.

Jackson has recently performed at the Cherokee Casino in Catoosa. Other performances have been at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame Concert Series, the Greenwood Jazz & Blues Heritage Festival, A Day in the Park at Owen Park, Urban League of Oklahoma City’s Family Fun Fest, as well as other festivals, special events and clubs in Oklahoma and Texas.

THERESA  “TERRI” HERITAGE - Maxine Cissel  Horner Community Spirit of Excellence Award
Terri is a Registered Nurse and has been president and CEO of Interim HealthCare of Tulsa, Inc., since 1974.  She was appointed by Governor Frank Keating of Oklahoma and served two terms on the Oklahoma State Board of Examiners for Nursing Home Administrators.  Presently, she serves on the executive board of directors for the Parent/Child Center of Tulsa and several other civic boards including the Children’s Service Advisory Board for the Laura Dester Children’s Shelter.

Terri is committed to advocacy for children and senior citizens and continues to lobby the State Legislature for additional funding for child abuse prevention. She is a member of the Rotary Club of Tulsa and co-chairs their “Adopt A School Committee” for Celia Clinton Elementary School, where she tutored Kindergarten children in reading and organized “Adopt A Classroom” through the Club. She was chosen volunteer of the Year at Celia Clinton Elementary.

Named one of Tulsa’s eight Outstanding Women by Tulsa Woman’s Magazine in 1999, she is also one of the 2003 Oklahoma Red Cross “Everyday Heroes.” She received the Pinnacle Award for Health Care in 2004, presented by the Mayor’s Commission on Women.

One of her most recent honors is she was named Guardian Angel of 2005 by the Parent Child Center of Tulsa for her support of children’s issues and her dedication to the prevention of child abuse. 

DEAN P. VAN TREASE - Maxine Cissel Horner Community Spirit of Excellence Award
Dean P. Van Trease has served as President and CEO at Tulsa Community College for the past 15 years. As president, he was responsible for overseeing the operation of four campuses, with an enrollment of over 27,000 students annually in regular college classes. When he joined Tulsa Community College as executive vice president in 1970, he helped establish the first new public institution of Oklahoma higher education in 50 years.

He has served as board chair on the American Council on International Intercultural Education and on the International/Intercultural Services Commission for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).  In Oklahoma, President Van Trease has served as board chair of the Hither Education Council for Presidents and President of the Council of Community College Presidents. Furthermore, he is recognized as Founder of the Oklahoma Global Education Consortium and served as chairman of the board this past year.

He has been involved in many community and statewide activities over the years. Four years ago, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Education Hall of Fame.

President VanTrease and his wife Vesta enjoy living in Tulsa and traveling to different areas of the world.