Higher Plains Jazz and Hip Hop Festival

Out of a back alley conversation at a Jazz show,
two cats postulated on the preponderance of folks that would love to see a coalescing of the fine arts of true Hip Hop and Jazz. They contemplated how way way back in the way back whence both disciplines were forged, when the cosmic musical potencies had influence and encouragement, who would have known that, much later in time, out of the plains would emerge an event, so akin to an essence itself, so rich in modus and form that
hoi polloi and aristocracy alike
would make their way from localities near
and far to see the splendor and wonder
that was to be known as
The two cats after intense deliberation
Agreed, they had to “get them some of that”.
And so it began…

Shaun Martin of Snarky Puppy

Grammy Award winning producer, keyboardist, pianist, songwriter, arranger, working with Kirk Franklin among others.

Raekwon of Wu-Tang Clan - Day 2 of Higher Plains Festival

Corey Woods AKA Raekwon, born January 12, 1970 in Brooklyn, New York) is an African American rapper and a member of the Wu-Tang Clan. Though he isn't as commercial as other Wu-Tang Clan members, he released, in 1995, the album "Only Built For Cuban Linx" that was acclaimed world-wide and is considered as one of the best Wu-Tang solo albums. He is a pioneer of the Mafioso rap concept and sound.

RC & The Gritz (Erykah Badu's Band)

With a well-deserved nomination for “Best Funk/R&B Band” for this year’s Dallas Observer Music Awards, The Gritz Band is more of an eclectic super-group than your average hip-hop band. Known by some as Erykah Badu’s band, the group is made up of a diverse mix of musicians from across Texas: RC “Rceeezy” Williams, keyboards; Cleon Edwards, percussion; Braylon “Brother B” Lacy, bass; Claudia Melton, vocals; and Jah Born, MPC (drum machine).

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, RC Williams is the musical director of The Gritz Band. Brought up in a family of strong musicians, RC was introduced to every music genre at a young age. While attending Arts Magnet School in Dallas, he committed himself to learning jazz and synthesizer combinations, while advancing to playing keyboards and the organ for Grammy Award-winning gospel group, God’s Property. RC has performed alongside great musical talents like Snoop Dogg, Jill Scott, Queen Latifah, The Roots, Pharell, Mos Def, Common, Talib Kweli, Kirk Franklin, Musiq, Bilah, N’Dambi, Floetry, The Game, Soulive, and many more. RC was nominated for three Grammy Awards for his production and writing on Erykah Badu’s 2003 album, World Wide Underground.

Claudia Melton is the vocalist for nationally praised Dallas-based hip-hop/soul group, The Gritz. Born in Corpus Christi, Texas to a family of vital influencers of South Texas music, Claudia began playing violin at the age of four, piano at eight, and saxophone at 11. Heavily influenced by jazz, her father, Claude Melton, was a former President of the Texas Jazz Festival. Claudia perfected her interests and musical talents with advanced jazz studies at the University of North Texas, where she earned a B.A. degree in vocal performance. Claudia has sung alongside a plethora of talented artists, including Grammy Award-winner Norah Jones, Boys II Men, Erykah Badu, Emily King, Dave Hollister, RL of Next, Anthony David, N’Dambi, Case, Choklate, Wayna, Jaguar Wright, Carl Thomas, Rahsaan Patterson, Liv Warfield, and more. In 2008, Claudia was selected by the International House of Blues Foundation as a master teacher and narrator to implement the Blues School House curriculum for 5th-12th grade students in Dallas public schools. Claudia is riding on the crest of new international acclaim for her latest work, One Hour, a track that pairs her unique vocal melodies with the style of Dallas hip-hop sensation Big J of Clever Monkeys and the production of Irish jazz hip-hop performer G Frequency. Claudia’s current project is her first solo album, which will highlight her skillful vocal talent, influenced by jazz, soul, and some of the hippest music today. You can catch her next performance at the Texas Jazz Festival on October 17th in Corpus Christi.

Drummer of The Gritz Band is Cleon Edwards. A small-town guy, Cleon was born in Ferris, Texas. At the young age of two, he began playing drums alongside his father at their church. With the heavy positive influence of his church, Cleon grew and thrived with his drumming abilities and was soon given opportunities to play with influential musicians such as Bobby Sparks, Elbert Taylor, Jr., Robert Sput Searight, Shaun Martin, Daniel Jones, and many others. Over the years, Cleon has performed with numerous artists, including Talib Kweli, Snarky Puppy, Candy West, Geno Young, Myron Butler and Levi, Tim Clifton, Purpose, Kim Burrell, The Clark Sisters, N’Dambi, Freddie Jones, Terrence Mackey and Nu Restoration, Jaguar Wright, and Rahsaan Patterson. He is currently “keeping the pocket strong” for RC and The Gritz Band along with the legendary Erykah Badu, and is currently working on his new album, entitled Musik’s Mind.

Another native Dallasite, Braylon Lacy is the band’s bassist. He has collaborated with such musical talents as Marcus Miller, Waymond Tisdale, and Layla Hathaway.

Jah Born, the band’s MPC player, was born in Brooklyn and raised in Dallas. Violin, cello, and bass were all instruments Jah picked up at the early age of nine. Raised by a father who was a pioneer of the art of DJing, at the age of 12 Jah was given his first set of turntables and a mixer, a gift from his father, who encouraged his son to become a disc jockey. By the time Jah let his music career flourish, he was collaborating with Erykah Badu and began making music with The Gritz Band. Jah currently plays shows with his other band, Cannabanoids.

With a group like this, Dallas should count its blessings. When it comes to The Gritz, hip-hop never sounded so good.

Extended (NOLA Jazz)

What makes EXTENDED so exciting to the jazz community in New Orleans grows out of the way, together, they create, each with an awareness of each other, including plenty of space for improvisation and interpretation.

EXTENDED is Brad Webb on drums, Matt Booth on bass, and Oscar Rossignoli on piano. All of them compose for the group, and with the particular musical personalities of the group foremost in mind — an approach that has thrilled locals and will likely soon reach audiences both nationally and internationally.

Jabee is quickly becoming one of the mid-west top hip hop acts, With the “08 release of his "Blood is the New Black" album last year produced mostly by DJ VADIM . Also being named one of URB magazines next 1000, and being voted for several OKC Hip Hop awards,HE has toured and opened for various acts ranging from Big K.R.I.T and The Clipse to performing along side A$AP Rocky and Dom Kennedy and Although Jabee has been doing this for a long time, it seems like this is just the start of a long winding trail to reach all the goals Jabee has set fourth for himself.

Jabee has been getting alot of love and support from the underground hip hop world. Jabee has been featured on www.illroots.com with his guest spot on the higly downloaded Mike Waxx - DOOMED mixtape, to being featured on 2dopeboyz , Complex, Egotrippin, and OkayPlayer. Jabee has been able to embrace different cities while opening for the “into the wild tour” with Killer Mike , EL-P and performing on the Skull candy stage on the warped tour, Hot import nights tour and several Scion Session dates. Jabee Linked with DJ’s Mick Boogie , Terry Urban and their PressPlay Show to Release “Must Be Nice” mixed by Mick Boogie, The Mixtape featured some of Jabee’s best work with Production by DjGreen Lantern, 9th Wonder, Black Spade, Picnic Tyme,and DJ Vadim , and features from Hip Hop heavy weights like Blu, Oddisee, LMNO, Black Spade, Johnny Polygon, XV, and EL prez .

Jabee was also asked to contribute a track for the Official Boondocks Season 3 mixtape hosted by Talib Kweli and David Banner.

Jabee Released “Lucky Me” presented by DJbooth.net and IM King clothing in 2011 considered some of his best work yet, and has reached over 40,000 Downloads, with Production from Woodys Produce, Hannibal King, Commissioner Gordon , Ira G , and others. It features King Mez, Naledge (kidz in the hall) , and others.

Jabee most current work is a 7” vinyl project in collaboration with producer EL-P the side A single “Stephanie” is currently in rotation on college radio and xm stations and is still gaining momentum for the release of the 7" release.

Henna Roso

Henna Roso is a non profit organization and a musical ensemble dedicated to raising food and awareness for hunger related issues.

Stephon Joseph Simon, better known as Steph Simon, is an American rap artist, songwriter, and Hip-Hop street mogul from the Northside of Tulsa Oklahoma. Intrigued by his cities powerful history and culture of Black Wall Street Simon felt like Tulsa is more than capable to be mentioned with the nations elite cities.
In 2012, he began to gain local recognition following the release of his 1st studio project titled "So Far So Good." Apart from his solo career Simon is also a member of the World Culture Music Collective, Founders of the World Culture Music Festival, has worked as the lead vocalist for the band "The Rowlands" honoring the late 1921 Black Wall Street catalyst Dick Rowland.
In Sept. 2015, Simon released his 2nd studio project titled "Visions From the Tisdale" that earned him a regional following. Landing him multiple Festival performances, regional tours, Tulsa World Notoriety, as well as The Tulsa Voice Album of the year nomination. After his latest sell out show at the Nightingale theater Nov. 28th Steph Simon & The Rowlands are gearing up to release "Live from the Tisdale" summer 2017.

Annie Ellicott is an interdisciplinary artist working to expand her role as a singer/songwriter through video production, stagecraft, and performance art. Annie has toured the United States as well as Europe, performing both traditional jazz and original compositions.

More recently Ms. Ellicott has been touring through New Orleans and performing with jazz pianist Jeff Goldblum in San Francisco and Los Angeles. She has also been expanding her role as a jazz singer and stage actress through collaborating on performance installation projects with composer and sculptor Mark Southerland.

Annie released an album of original music entitled “Lonesome Goldmine” on Unknown Tone Records in Sept. of 2016. This genre-bending album is a mix of soundscapes and haunting songwriting, moving her work from electro-acoustic to the avant-garde. She also debuted a multi-media presentation of “Lonesome Goldmine” including live musical performances, music videos, performance art and dance.

We Make Shapes is an electronic band from Tulsa Oklahoma


Tulsa Hip-Hop Collective. Students of the culture in all its forms. We've come to contort cerebellums.
SUR'RON the 7th

Mike D & Stone Trio

Lessons In Fresh

All Four Elements Of Hip Hop

$15.00 - $150.00


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