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HHr-PJM 2017-FINAL2 -Publishing Version

Pure Jazz Magazine covers the music called Jazz from a very unique perspective not seen in most publications.

Page 26 - Pure Jazz

Page 26 - Pure Jazz Magazine geico.com

Cissel, they don’t want to be in here because they don’t want people to think they’re funny”. Aduni: Um-m-m. Chuck: I said, “You mean the little boys can’t sing?” “Have ya’ll heard of Justin Bieber?” You know Usher can – you know how young Usher was? You know how young Michael Jackson was? And they don’t want to be called names? Are you serious? So there were no young boys in the class. And there were boys in the band, because you know there are bass players, guitar players and drummers… Aduni: And drums. Chuck: You know we got to be that. Aduni: Right. Chuck: But you know we get on the violin, or the horn, or another instrument, they are like – “no, but I want to do this hip hop”. So we -we’ve lost something along the way unfortunately in my opinion. Aduni: So, who was your greatest influence and inspiration in starting you on your path? Chuck: Sammy Davis, Jr. And as I grew, it became Nat King Cole, because – you know as a young African American child watching television, you know you would get a glimpse of Sammy Davis, Pearl Bailey on the Ed Sullivan Show. It was an event back then to see them on television shows. Aduni: But didn’t Nat have a show at that time? Chuck: Uh-huh, but I was gonna say that Nat King Cole – and only for one season, and it seemed like it ran forever, because the sponsors you know – remember the whole South – the thing about the South is not going to accept a Black man performing on TV. And they didn’t – and the Southern viewers were like, “If you don’t do cancel this show, we’re not going to buy your cigarettes.” Aduni: Right. Chuck: But watching Nat King Cole – Sammy Davis was my joy and Sammy was full of energy and life, and could play instruments and dance and sing – he was more like me. But when I saw Nat King Cole, I was completely blown away by his Oklahoma has a rich African American music culture that has nurtured both rhythm & blues greats and legendary Jazz pioneers. You can visit the former haunts of musical giants and revel in the places where famous artists such as Charlie Christian, Jimmy Rushing and the Oklahoma City Blue Devils let loose. elegance, his sophistication, and the ease with which he sang, and then his voice was completely unreal. A little raspy, but then it was also like butter. When you hear like, (starts singing) “Unforgettable” – just how he did it, and his diction, phrasing, and the tone. It was – unearthly to me. He was magical, and no one has been able to duplicate that sound. He just was a – there’s only been one, and I know they rave was about Frank Sinatra and his voice, but Nat King Cole? There was no one like that, no one could touch that. And then he was tall and elegant, and always had on suits, and just – he was my hero, when I got a little bit bigger – and recorded a “live” CD honoring Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington, and those were heavy influences on me musically, and vocally. And I always had this voice – I remember my Aunt Neet telling me when we were driving to Los Angeles from Tulsa, and I was singing in the back seat, and she said, “O-o-o that boy sounds like Johnny Mathis doesn’t he?” And I will never forget that. Aduni: (Laughs) Chuck: And so I remember people saying that I had a similar, tonal quality, and phrasing like Johnny Mathis. So when it came to singing the songs of Nat King Cole, it was very natural. Aduni: I know I was listening to “Sizzling Hot” last night – all of them really I could find, “Just for You”, and the one you did with … Chuck: Marva King. Aduni: Marva King – gosh I mean it brought back so many memories, and I was just thinking, Oh - your range was so solid, and you had very smooth transitions, it was just – it was just - heartfelt, you know, and I was reading some of the comments underneath, and people were, “I’ve been looking for this – this “Sizzling Hot: - I’ve been looking for these song – you know they just don’t have songs like that anymore. Chuck: No - well no because it was real music – just call it what it is – I mean much of today’s music is over the top and gross. The language that’s used in songs today – I wanna… Aduni: It’s more than risqué, but you know a lady says “risqué” and not the other things. Yeah. So what was the best advice you were ever given? Chuck: From my mother. Aduni: Okay? Chuck: “Just be you.” And as I grew into show business, my first professional gig was at the Starlight Theater in Kansas City. Mo. - Starlight Theater, and I was hired as a singer, but they discovered that I danced as well, and I trained at OU (Oklahoma University), and I put about ten years - worth of training under four years at OU, because what I knew was social dancing, you know – “the jerk”, “the mash potatoes” and “the twist”. I didn’t know anything about ballet, or the principles of modern dance, and so I had to learn all of those things, and learn quickly if I wanted to be on Broadway, so I did. And when I auditioned my sophomore year, I went to Kansas City and auditioned- and I got it. I was shocked, but they liked me. And it was there that I learned about the various types of people in show business. Because I was a young happygo-lucky kid from Greenwood, what did I know? And I went to OU with 50,000 white kids and 150 black people, so when I went to KC, it was two black people and a cast full of white kids. And so they treated me, some of them, were like, why is that -here? that N-word here? You can feel that very clearly. Aduni: Oh definitely. Chuck: And the ignoring, and the pretending that you’re invisible, and ignoring you and all of that. Aduni: Right. Chuck: But I had to learn to work through all of that, and I just got stronger. And so I go into the next Summer Stock at Casa Manana Theater in the Round in Fort Worth, then after doing that – and I had lead roles in that summer, and had a starring role Pure Jazz Magazine - Page 27