Monika Herzig is a consummate jazz pianist, composer and bandleader. Add to that her doctorate in music education and jazz studies at Indiana University, where she teaches at the IU School of Music. Her new CD release In Your Own Sweet Voice on Acme Records has Herzig’s Acoustic Project performing her arrangements of jazz and pop songs by women composers who have not received their due recognition.
I spoke to Herzig at her office in Bloomington about her campaign to draw more attention to women, not only as composers, but also as instrumentalists in jazz.
NUVO: Are you campaigning to recruit more young women into developing careers as jazz instrumentalists?
Herzig: As a female jazz instrumentalist, I often feel pretty lonely. I noticed that there’s not many out there. So I made it one of my goals to encourage people to notice the people who are there and supported. Hopefully, in turn, it attracts the next generation to thinking this is something that is really possible and can be done. So it’s an encouragement for future generations to go into that field and be more active.
NUVO: Most women who are active as jazz artists seem to be primarily singers and pianists. Do you think there is a need for women to look at brass and reed and rhythm instruments?
Herzig: Absolutely. We have our ladies’ band and we have not yet been successful in finding a drummer. Bass players are very rare; saxophone and trumpet players are getting to be a little more [numerous], but there is a big need.
Monika Herzig will hold her CD release concert and CD signing party Wednesday, Aug. 24 from 8 to 11 p.m. at Tutto Bene at Third and Rogers in Bloomington. The Indianapolis CD release concert will be Monday, Sept. 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the IT Building auditorium on the IUPUI campus.
• Congratulations to Jazz Kitchen owner David Allee, who now has a new band member. Last Saturday morning, his wife Jami gave birth to an 8-pound-7-ounce boy named Samuel Joseph Allee. Everyone is doing fine and the proud poppa David may be passing out stogies.
• Larry Michael’s Conga Jazz will be featured at Broad Ripple Park’s Jazz Series, 1610 Broad Ripple Ave., Tuesday, Aug. 23. The free concert starts at 7 p.m.
• The Rodney Stepp Band will be showcased at the Washington Park Family Center, 3130 E. 38th St., Sunday, Aug. 21 in a free concert from 5 to 8 p.m.
• The Cool City Swing Band plays the City Market’s free Lunchtime Concert, Friday, Aug. 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Daniel Young, jazz/pop singer/guitarist, can be heard on Tuesdays at Brix Bistro, 65 S. First St. in Zionsville. Conga Jazz plays Thursday, Aug. 18. Music goes from 6:30 to 9 p.m.