History of Oklahoma Jazz – Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

Jazz History

They call jazz “America’s classical music.” Jazz was born and bred in the United States; originally inspired by ragtime and folk songs, early jazz artists drew their musical inspiration from country dances, field hollers, work songs, and the blues. Oklahoma musicians were instrumental in the creation of the so-called “Kansas City” style of jazz, bluesy … Read more

Jesse Ed Davis – Washita Love Child Artist

Jesse Ed Davis

September 21, 1944 – June 22, 1988 2002 Blues Inductee Jesse Ed Davis was born in Norman, Oklahoma on September 21, 1944 of Kiowa and Cherokee parents. He was playing guitar at venues in and around Oklahoma City by his early teens with other young musicians like bassist John Selk, vocalist Jerry Fisher, and drummer … Read more

Ernestine Dillard – Award-Winning Singer Bio

Ernestine Dillard

Ernestine Dillard, from Bixby, is perhaps best remembered for her April 23, 1995 performance, when she electrified 11,000 mourners and a national television audience with her “God Bless America” medley that closed the Oklahoma City Memorial Service for the victims of the Murrah Building bombing. In 1994, she ended a 33-year career as a registered nurse, the last … Read more

Debbie Campbell – Buckwheat Singer – Tulsa Sound

Debbie Campbell

November 28, 1950 – February 2001 Born Deborah Ruth Vorhies on November 28, 1950 in Forth Worth, Texas, Debbie received her first guitar as a Christmas gift from her parents when she was 12 years old. She began touring nationally while still in her teens with an all-girl band, the Kandy Kanes, and then went … Read more

Mahalia Jackson – Gospel Singer Who Changed the World

Mahalia Jackson

October 26, 1911 — January 27, 1972 Born as Mahala Jackson and nicknamed “Halie”, Jackson grew up in the Black Pearl section of the Carrollton neighborhood of Uptown New Orleans, Louisiana. The three-room dwelling on Pitt Street housed thirteen people and a dog. This included Little Mahala (named after her aunt, Mahala Clark-Paul whom the … Read more

Ace Moreland – Blues/Rock Singer, Guitarist & Harmonica Player

Ace Moreland

November 18, 1952 — February 3, 2003 Ace Moreland was born in Miami, Oklahoma, in 1952. He was part Cherokee. A guitar player since age five, Moreland played in his first band by the time he was 12. Once he figured out the fret board, he concentrated on learning how to play slide guitar, harmonica, … Read more