An all-star jazz tribute 

A Celebration of Aletra Hampton’s Life

Aletra Hampton spent over eight decades of her life giving her best to the public. Now that she has left us, the time has come for the public and her musical peers to honor a life that served us all.

On Monday, Dec. 17 at 7 p.m., A Celebration of Aletra Hampton’s Life in music and spoken word will take place at the Indiana History Center’s Basile Theater. Headlining the evening will be arranger/composer/trombonist and three-time Grammy winner Slide Hampton, along with Pharez Whitted, trumpet, Melvin Rhyne, piano, and David Young, sax.

Other guest performers contributing their talents include David Baker, who will give a poetry reading, and Bam Miller.

A special five-minute video presentation excerpting a feature documentary on the lives of Aletra and Virtue Hampton’s careers will be shown. The documentary was filmed and produced by Charlie Wiles and Todd Lothery.

The memorial tribute runs from 7-11 p.m. Admission is a suggested donation of $10. All proceeds from the event go to the Aletra Hampton Benefit Fund at Chase Bank. There is free parking on the north side of the IHC.

Here’s a list of performers slated for Monday night:

• Pianists: Steve Allee, Marvin Chandler, Betty Hayes, Monika Herzig, Carl Hines, Mike Simmons

• Vocals: Vickie Daniels, Everett Greene, Larry Greene, Cynthia Lane, Mary Moss, Carol Rhyne, Kelleen Strutz, Brenda Williams

• Drums: Greg Autry, Harold “Mad” Caldwell, Larry Clark III, Dick Dickinson, Jack Guilford, Paula Hampton, Kenny Phelps

• Saxophone: Gregg Bacon, Rob Dixon, Bill Pennick, 10-year-old Bryan Thompson

• Trombone: Reginald Duvall, Jim Pratt

• Trumpet: Clifford Ratliff

• Bass: Mingo Jones, Billy Myers, Frank Smith

• Guitar: Dave Adkins

Here’s what some jazz greats had to say in tribute to Aletra and the Hamptons:

David Baker, distinguished professor of jazz studies at Indiana University
“I spent so much time with the family, they were so great and did so much for us. We all played with that family band. I played four or five years with them and would tour locally with them. We played concerts, dances and we rehearsed almost daily at the house. I can remember sitting there and we would be playing and they would have a huge tub of Kool-Aid with a 50 pound block of ice in it … For all intents and purposes it was our school. We learned from Aletra, Virtue, Carmelita, Dawn and Slide. These were the people that welcomed us into their musical family. It was like going to a university because they taught us so much.”

Drummer Larry Clark III, surviving member of the Hampton Sisters quartet
“She had a way of saying things to you that later on smacked you in the face. I was always in a rush and Aletra would always say, ‘You know I’ve got a problem, I have to work on it all the time,’ and it dawned on me she was talking about me. She would never dress you down personally.”

More jazz notes

Astrologically speaking, December is a good month for composers. Here’s a few composer birthdays, along with some of their tunes that are well-loved by jazz musicians.

• Dec. 6, Ira Gershwin “Embraceable You”

• Dec. 16, Andy Razaf, “Stompin’ at the Savoy,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’”

• Dec. 21, Harry Warren, “The More I See You”

• Dec. 26, Steve Allen, “This Could Be The Start of Something Big”

Stacie Sandoval’s Tropical Jazztet will kick off Bentley’s Bar & Grill “Jazz It Up” series on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m. Bentley’s is located in Fishers at 116th Street and Allisonville Road. Admission is $5.


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