2009 Inductees

The 21st Anniversary Induction Gala was dedicated to the memory of Wayman Lawrence Tisdale and entitled “Swinging All the Way Up.”

Wayman Lawrence Tisdale (June 9, 1964 – May 15, 2009) was an American professional basketball player in the NBA and a smooth jazz bass guitarist. A three-time All American at the University of Oklahoma, he was elected to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, his father, Louis Tisdale, was a well-known pastor in Tulsa, Oklahoma, serving for 21 years as senior pastor of Friendship Church. Throughout his youth, continuing through his college basketball career, he played bass guitar at his father's church. Tisdale called music his "first love". Music and church were so important to Tisdale, who graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa.

Following an outstanding basketball career, Tisdale launched his music career with Power Forward in 1995 on the Motown Label. Primarily a bass player, he recorded eight albums, with the 2001 release Face to Face climbing to No. 1 on Billboard's contemporary jazz chart. In 2002, he was the first to be awarded the Legacy Tribute Award by the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. Others albums were: In the Zone, 1996; Decisions, 1998; Presents 21 Days, 2003; Hang Time, 2004; and Way Up! 2006. His most recent release, Rebound, (2008) was written and released after he had been diagnosed with bone cancer.

Wayman died on the morning of May 15, 2009 at St. John Medical Center in Tulsa, where his wife had taken him when he had trouble breathing. Tisdale's death was a "great shock." Tisdale had been planning to go into the recording studio the following week for a project with jazz guitarist Norman Brown. 

On May 21, 2009, over 4,000 mourners attended Tisdale's memorial service at the BOK Center in Tulsa. In June 2009 the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa announced that its new specialty health clinic in north Tulsa would be named in Tisdale's honor.

Toby Keith's 2009 album American Ride is "dedicated in memory of Wayman Tisdale and Noel McFarland." The album includes the song "Cryin' for Me (Wayman's Song)", a tribute to Tisdale featuring Keith, Dave Koz, Marcus Miller, and Arthur Thompson, which begins with the outgoing message from Tisdale's answering machine.

Wayman met his future wife Regina, in April 1981 at church. To that union, four children were born.

Regina served as the honorary chair of the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame 2009 Induction Gala.

BOB WILLS – Jay McShann Lifetime Achievement Award
Bob Wills' name will forever be associated with Western swing. Although he did not invent the genre single-handedly, he did popularize the genre and changed its rules. In the process, he reinvented the rules of popular music. Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys were a dance band with a country string section that played pop songs as if they were jazz numbers. Their music expanded and erased boundaries between genres. It was also some of the most popular music of its era. Throughout the '40s, the band was one of the most popular groups in the country and the musicians in the Playboys were among the finest of their era. As the popularity of Western swing declined, so did Wills' popularity, but his influence is immeasurable. From the first honky tonkers to Western swing revivalists, generations of country artists owe him a significant debt, as do certain rock and jazz musicians. Wills was a maverick and his spirit infused American popular music of the 20th century with a renegade, virtuosic flair.

Tulsa is where Wills and His Texas Playboys began to refine their sound. Wills added an 18-year-old electric steel guitarist called Leon McAuliffe, pianist Al Stricklin, drummer Smokey Dacus, and a horn section to the band's lineup. Soon, the Texas Playboys were the most popular band in Oklahoma and Texas. The band made their first record in 1935 for the American Recording Company, which would later become part of Columbia Records. The bandleader cut a number of tracks that were released on a series of 78s. The singles were successful enough that Wills could demand that McAuliffe -- who wasn't on the first sessions due to ARC's abundance of steel players under contract -- was featured on the Playboys' next record, 1936's "Steel Guitar Rag." The song became a standard for steel guitar. Also released from that session was "Right or Wrong," that featured Duncan on lead vocals.

Toward the end of the decade, big bands were dominating popular music and Wills wanted a band capable of playing complex, jazz-inspired arrangements. To help him achieve his sound, he hired arranger and guitarist Eldon Shamblin, who wrote charts that fused country with big band music for the Texas Playboys. The Texas Playboys were breaking concert attendance records across the country, filling out venues from Tulsa to California, and they also had their first genuine national hit with "New San Antonio Rose," which climbed to number 11 in 1940. Another hit was “Tulsa Time.” Wills soon settled the renamed "Texas Playboys" in Tulsa, Oklahoma and began broadcasting noontime shows over the 50,000 watt KVOO radio station. Their 12:30-1:15 Monday-Friday broadcasts became a veritable institution in the region. Nearly all the daily (except Sunday) shows originated from the stage of Cain’s Ballroom. In addition, they played dances in the evenings, including regular ones at the ballroom on Thursdays and Saturdays.Throughout 1941 and 1942, Wills and His Texas Playboys continued to record and perform and they were one of the most popular bands in the country. However, their popularity was quickly derailed by the arrival of World War II.  In 1962, Wills had a heart attack that temporarily debilitated him. The following year, he had a second heart attack, which forced him to disband the Playboys. In 1968, the Country Music Hall of Fame inducted Wills and the following year the Texas State Legislature honored him for his contribution to American music. The day after he appeared in both houses of the Texas state government, Wills suffered a massive stroke that paralyzed his right side. Wills was well enough to accept a citation from ASCAP in Nashville, as well as appear at several Texas Playboy reunions, which were all very popular. In the fall of 1973, Wills and Merle Haggard began planning a Texas Playboys reunion album, featuring McAuliffe, Stricklin, Shamblin, and Dacus, among others. The first session was held on December 3, 1973, with Wills leading the band from his wheelchair. That night, he suffered another massive stroke in his sleep; the stroke left him comatose. The Texas Playboys finished the album without him. Wills never regained consciousness and died on May 15, 1975, in a nursing home. He was buried in Tulsa, the place where his legend began. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide Steve Pryor – Blue Inductee

JOHN WOOLEY – Maxine Cissel Horner Spirit of Community Excellence Award
John Wooley is the author, co-author, or editor of 22 books, including his current novel Ghost Band and the non-fiction look at the state’s musical history, From the Blue Devils to Red Dirt: The Colors of Oklahoma Music, one of only three books commissioned by the Oklahoma Centennial Commission and a finalist for the 2007 Oklahoma Book Award. Wooley’s earlier horror-fantasy tale, Dark Within, was a finalist for the 2001 Oklahoma Book Award for Best Novel, and his first, Old Fears -- co-written with fellow newspaper writer Ron Wolfe -- was optioned by both Wes Craven and Paramount Pictures and is currently under option with former Paramount vice-president Brian Witten. Other recent works include the Rogers State University centennial book, 100 Years on the Hill. 

Wooley has just completed The Reel Sooner Cinema, a history of made-in-Oklahoma movies for the University of Oklahoma Press, and a book about Craven and his work for John Wiley and Sons in New York. Current projects include a history of the Cain’s Ballroom, with co-author Brett Bingham, and the play Time Changes Everything, written with Thomas Conner, which debuted in the summer of ’09 as part of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center Trust’s SummerStage festival.

He also penned the script for the made-for-TV movie Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective, the award-winning independent film Cafe Purgatory, and the recent documentary Bill Boyce – Money Actor, along with writing comic books (including the Plan Nine from Outer Space graphic novel), trading cards, and thousands of magazine and newspaper stories, most of them in conjunction with his work as the music and horror-movie writer for the Tulsa World, a position he held from 1983 through most of 2006. He has written liner notes and occasionally appeared as a keyboard player on discs from Oklahoma artists, including Steve Ripley and the Red Dirt Rangers.

Wooley is currently a columnist for Oklahoma Magazine and an adjunct lecturer in the American Studies Program at OSU-Tulsa, where he teaches classes on horror movies and Oklahoma’s music and movies.

 In addition, he produces and hosts the highly rated Swing on This, Tulsa’s only western-swing radio program, heard every Saturday night on NPR affiliate KWGS (89.5 FM.

As a result of his efforts on behalf of his state’s music and musical figures, Wooley became, in 2003, the first – and so far only – writer to be inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

His involvement with western swing over the past quarter of a century has brought him several other honors and awards. He was inducted into the Western Swing Music Society of Kansas’ Hall of Fame in 2004, designated a Western Swing Hero by the Cowtown Society of Western Swing Music in 2003, and given a Certificate of Appreciation by the Western Swing Music Society of the Southwest in 2001, a Certificate of Appreciation and Key to the City by the City Council of Tulsa in 1998, and a Citation from the Oklahoma Legislature in 1997, In 2006, he joined many of his musical heroes as a member of the Tulsa World’s SPOT Music Hall of Fame.

DR. STEPHEN L. WILEY – Gospel Inductee
Stephen Wiley is recognized as the first artist to have recorded a full-length Christian rap album with his 1985 release on the Brentwood Records label, Bible Break, a fact which was acknowledged by T-Bone (rapper) in his song "Our History" on his own album entitled GospelAlphaMegaFunkyBoogieDiscoMusic in 2002. 

Wiley was born and grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and attended college at the University of Oklahoma. He began a career as a jazz drummer in 1979 and wrote a song called "Basketball". This tune would later go on to be recorded by mainstream rapper Kurtis Blow.  By 1982, Wiley was performing rap music with Christian lyrics at a time when Run DMC's breakthrough to the mainstream was still a year away. In 1984, Wiley took a job as chaplain at a juvenile detention center. 

Wiley released Bible Break and saw its title track reach the No. 14 spot in 1986 on Christian radio. CCM rap reviewer Jamie Lee Rake referred to later Wiley efforts as "a string of embarrassments; however, that remark was balanced by a 1988 article in Spin magazine nicknaming the young chaplain the "Grand Master of Rap".

Wiley would later serve as assistant pastor/youth minister at the predominantly-black Crenshaw Christian Center in Los Angeles under televangelist Frederick K.C. Price. He then released two more albums for the Star Song label which were better received garnering a hit with "Peace", a duet with Renee Garcia from the 1990 album Rhythm and Poetry and "Attitude" from 1991's Rhapsody. The latter album sought to bring in fans of more traditional gospel by including harmonies from gospel group Witness on the song "Real"
Dr. Stephen L. Wiley, a graduate of Rhema Bible Training Center, is an anointed teacher of God's Word. Dr. Wiley is well known as an international youth evangelist and motivational speaker.  He has been instrumental in developing and establishing many recognized church youth group ministries around the country. During his evangelism travels, he is credited for pioneering Gospel Rap and is known as the "Godfather of Gospel Rap".

Dr. Wiley is known for keeping the Word practical and simple to understand. In addition to graduating from the University of Oklahoma, he is also a graduate of Friends International Institute in Anaheim, California with a Master's degree in Biblical Counseling and a Doctorate in Ministry. Dr. Wiley is married to Pamela Wiley and together they have ministered for over 20 years. They have two children, Stefani Renee, and Andre' Jackson.

Dr. Wiley is presently founder and Pastor of Praise Center Family Church in Muskogee and Tulsa Oklahoma; "One Church in Two Locations. “

Olivia Duhon – Legacy Tribute Award Recipient
Olivia Duhon is a graduate of the University of Tulsa, and while at the TU performed for several years as one of the members of the female singing ensemble, The Sophisticated Ladies.  Soon Olivia began singing as a jazz vocalist around the Tulsa Sonny Gray; TU jazz professor and bassist, Vernon Howard and TU music major and drummer, George Toumayan.  Soon Olivia was invited to perform all around the state of Oklahoma for special events private parties and night clubs in the Tulsa area, developing her own following.  She also made her professional singing debut at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame and has since performed on a number of occasions.   Olivia sings the songs of Billie Holiday and the great ladies of jazz, original compositions and Dinji has become here signature tune.

Olivia Duhon received our Legacy Tribute Award in 2009.