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Local jazz combo downplays greatness



Although guitarist James Slaw describes the band as "just a couple local players," the seven members of the metro act A Little Jazz are more musical heavyweights then they might let on.

When Grammy Award-winning jazz guitar legend George Benson came to Oklahoma City for a gig at the Civic Center early this summer, members of A Little Jazz were picked up and taken to the show by Benson himself. The band also has opened for acclaimed jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis.

The contemporary jazz group has recorded a new record, "Flowing Free," and will be having a release party 8 p.m. Thursday at The Red Cup, 3122 N. Classen.

The 10-track record was recorded at OKC's Destinations studio and largely includes cover songs. The album's two originals, "Cheri," written by band saxophonist Smokey Hondolero, and the title song, written by Slaw himself, are among the best on the record.

"Our music is just one step away from The Weather Channel," joked Slaw. "It's smooth jazz mostly, which fits well at The Red Cup."

Slaw said the band has been playing at the coffee shop for years, and fits well there because "people just sit and listen, drink their coffee and tap their feet."

A Little Jazz has been a monthly presence at Odie's Blues Saloon for the last seven years, and Slaw said at least three of the band members have been playing together for two decades. "Joe Wertz


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