There is no stronger bond than what has been forged among the local jazz musicians and followers over the past two weeks. The recent passing of highly-regarded saxophonist/clarinetist Chuck Carter sent shock waves through the jazz community.
Jason Curry will perform at the Jazz Kitchen on Friday.
The Chuck Carter I remember goes back to the early days of his career, playing at the old Essex House in the 500 Room, perfecting his bebop licks. If there ever was a standard for a bebop musician, Carter set it, not only in his playing but in his lifestyle, even down to his cool hipness of understated humor punctuated with a lot of “like, man.” Classic among jazz fans was Carter’s hip renderings of “Mother Goose Rhymes.” Carter’s passion as a jazz musician took him through the big bands of Stan Kenton to Von Ohlen/Allee, where his muscular bebop baritone sax solos were always spectacular. Returning to Indy, Carter worked in various groups before teaming up in the late ’90s with a young upcoming drummer, Gene Markiewicz, to form the Carter/Markiewicz Jazz Quartet, which recorded the Evolution Step 1 CD. Markiewicz recalls what it was like playing and hanging out with Carter. “He was my partner, teacher, and I loved him,” he says. “I learned from him all the time. Chuck used to always carry a bag of stuff like snacks, his clarinet and things. I drove us to a gig 15 minutes from my house. By the time we got there, Chuck had totally trashed my car with his stuff. To ride with Chuck was like watching an egg being dropped, he just sort of spread out. He was funny messing with his stuff. As one of his fans, I never got over the fact that I was playing with Chuck Carter — he was that great of a musician.”
Ron Brinson’s benefit, A Jazz Bouquet
Last Sunday at the Jazz Kitchen, an overwhelming response occurred from local jazz musicians. One of their own, drummer Ron Brinson, is battling lung cancer. For over five hours, they came to perform and raise money through silent auctions and donations to offset Brinson’s medical expenses. I was there and it was an amazing sight to see the Jazz Kitchen filled to capacity for the whole evening with musicians and fans who appreciate Brinson’s skills and contributions to this city’s jazz climate. Singer Cozette Meyers deserves a big hand for putting it all together. Five groups played that Brinson had performed with during his career. Deep Six opened the evening executing crisp, tight ensemble work on bebop charts with everyone playing in exceptional form, especially on the solos for Ron, who was their drummer at the group’s inception. The Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra set was next, roaring out with a flag-waving chart on “Cherokee.” The band really shouted and swung hard on new tunes and arrangements, with some blistering solos from everyone. A special moment came when Frank Glover’s clarinet played “My One and Only Love,” a tune that featured Chuck Carter. It was the polished mainstream jazz of Tom Mullinix’s Quartet that turned out to be a surprising crowd pleaser among his peers. Tom swung on trumpet and sung with enthusiasm through a slick and balanced set of standards, then, changing to Dixieland, played with a lot of verve. Cathy Morris’ Brazilian Lounge Band followed with a bright performance. Morris acknowledged Brinson not only as the band’s original drummer but for also bringing tunes to the group. The evening closed out with the Afro/Cuban sound of Sancocho’s percussive group. It was a fitting close because the drums are common to all cultures, representing the heartbeat of life. The evening was an outpouring of love and caring for Ron Brinson by his peers and fans.
Downtown At the Chatterbox, jazz/pop vocalist Tim Brickley’s Quintet returns Friday, Oct. 17 followed by the outstanding Deep Six sextet of top Indy jazz talents led by Harry Miedema on Saturday, Oct. 18. Performances both nights are 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. The Murat Centre features the very popular smooth jazz saxophone of Dave Koz with “The Saxophonic Tour” on Sunday, Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Special guests Marc Antoine, Jeff Lorber and Chris Botti, who attended IU Music School, will be on hand. Circle City Bar & Grille in the Marriott (350 W. Maryland St.) has the Tom Earle Trio playing Wednesday, Oct. 16 from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday brings the Latin-flavored sound of Conga Jazz; Saturday features vocalist Betheny Dunlap & Neapolitan. Sets both nights go 7 to 10 p.m. Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, 49 S. Illinois St., has its “Sizzling Steaks & Jazz” Sunday series showcasing The Rob Dixon Quartet from 7 to 10 p.m. Northside The Jazz Kitchen has the hot young alto saxophonist Jason Curry Quintet debuting Friday at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Friday’s new tradition, “Jazz After Set,” starts at midnight. On Saturday, it’s salsa, merengue and party with Groupo “317” at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. The Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra returns Tuesday, Oct. 21. Chuck Workman is the producer/host of the Sunday Morning Jazz Show at 107.9 WTPI.