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Spunk Adams Helps Bring Life Back to Crossroads with Jazz in the Mall at Plaza Mayor

Brian C Scott November 28, 2016 Artists, Features, Reviews No Comments
Spunk Adams Helps Bring Life Back to Crossroads with Jazz in the Mall at Plaza Mayor

Where death once lurked in the shadows, life has returned to Crossroads Mall, thanks in large part to the sounds of Jazz in the Mall at Plaza Mayor.

More than a decade ago, the once busy and thriving Crossroads Mall in Oklahoma City was shaken by a shocking and senseless act of violence that rendered it a virtual wasteland for many years afterwards. In May of 2006, the sound of gunshots ominously signaled the end of an era for the previously popular shopping complex, as a young man opened fire in the mall, injuring a teen before being fatally wounded by gunfire from an off-duty police officer who was working as a mall security guard at the time. The deadly incident garnered national media attention, putting Crossroads Mall on the map for all the wrong reasons. Rumors of the incident possibly being gang related began to circulate, and fear of further incidents caused many former faithful patrons to begin to shop elsewhere. Soon thereafter, short-lived infamy gave way to long term abandonment and desolation, and the mall gradually became a virtual ghost town.

Now, more than ten years later, not only is the mall finally on the rise and beginning to thrive again, it is now filled with sounds that distinguish it from any other mall, but this time for the better. Where shots once rang out, now there are saxophones, drums, keyboards, and even the shaking of a tambourine instead. This time, the unmistakable sound is Jazz in the Mall, and it is music to the ears of many Oklahoma City residents who have longed for the resurrection of the once-happening city spot.

Spunk Adams

Spunk Adams

Jazz in the Mall, a new monthly live music offering at Plaza Mayor at the Crossroads (formerly known as Crossroads Mall), presented by the brand new Jive Supper Club and Lounge, features local jazz artists jamming out on the mall’s lower level, making beautiful music for a captive audience as well as passersby to enjoy while they shop, eat and stroll on a Sunday afternoon. This Sunday’s installment featured local jazz sax sensation Rhyan “Spunk” Adams, an artist who certainly lives up to his name. Backed by a richly talented live band, Spunk brought the funk, took us to church (tambourine included), and thrilled us with smooth, rich saxophone artistry that made heads nod, feet tap and bodies sway in Plaza Mayor all afternoon long. It was easy to forget that we were sitting in a mall at all, let alone one with an unfortunate past, and not in a concert hall or jazz lounge.

Keeping it one hundred, the only disappointment of the afternoon was that not more listeners filled the seats, although the couple dozen or so patrons who did come out were treated to a world-class performance. Spunk Adams and company (notably including Jalyn Powell on drums and Neaven Morgan on keys, among others) played their hearts out, exhibiting more talent, skill, artistry and soul than most internationally known artists. To top it off, there was no cover charge. Y’all know how much we love free stuff, especially really good free stuff. Yet relatively few were in the mall to support and enjoy one of Oklahoma’s own, a trend bemoaned by many other local artists as well. On this day, perhaps many were suffering from post-Thanksgiving malaise or extended “itis” from soul food leftovers; perhaps some were too hung over from the Tyrese concert at the Riverwind Casino to come out and support a lesser known local artist; or perhaps for some local residents, the stigma of the Crossroads incident of over a decade ago still lingers in their minds. If the latter is the case, rest assured that the new Plaza Mayor is a whole new venue, filled with life, vibrance and hope for a brighter future, for the venue and for the city as a whole. In recent years, the mall had many vacant spaces, and those that were occupied were almost exclusively Hispanic and Latino-owned establishments, mirroring the predominant patronage of the mall since the mass exodus of Blacks and Whites alike that began the Spring of ’06. Now not only are there now several more diverse shops and eateries in the mall, including many Black-owned and operated outlets, but there are far fewer vacancies than there have been in quite a while. Families filled the mall’s corridors again, children played free of care, and many passersby stopped spellbound in their tracks at the scintillating sounds emanating from Spunk’s saxophone as they shopped and strolled.

Jazz in the Mall will return once a month, on a Sunday afternoon from 2 to 4pm at Plaza Mayor at the Crossroads (formerly Crossroads Mall), according to David Threatt, proprietor of the Jive Supper Club and Lounge, sponsor of the live jazz event. Come out and enjoy an afternoon of good music and good vibes in a great location. There is absolutely nothing to fear, but fear itself.

For further information, follow Jive Supper Club and Lounge on Facebook. You can also follow Rhyan “Spunk” Adams on Twitter at @iamSPUNKKKK.

For those who missed it, here’s a taste of Spunk Adams and company performing live at Sunday’s Jazz in the Mall, courtesy of Culturocity Associate Music Editor Austin Scott. Enjoy.

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About The Author

Brian C Scott is the founder and Executive Editor of Culturocity. He is an author, poet and stage actor. He is a true lover of the arts in all forms, as well as a staunch advocate for the African American community. He is also a professional software engineer with over 24 years of industry experience. He holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Information Systems. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, he resides in Edmond, Oklahoma.

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