Indy Jazz Fest
Another year, another Indy Jazz Fest. IJF and the F1 race both took place this past weekend. Both events had almost the same number of participants. Who fared better? Food for thought. The local music scene was represented well with the likes of Tad Robinson, Slide Hampton, Indy Jazz Legends, Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra, Brenda Williams, Cool Chilies, Steve Allee, KWYJIBO (the best local band name since Beeblebrox), Slide Hampton and even Monika Herzig, who was at the sponsor booth area, playing piano along with a puppet show (you had to be there).
One of the differences between this year and last was the lack of stage noise. Since there were only two stages, as soon as Act A was done, Act B started performing. This year, you could relax and enjoy the music of Adam Birnbaum in the distance while waiting for Tad Robinson. No unintentional Brad Mehldau/Shaggy remixes like last year. Sure, foot traffic would get a little congested in the evenings, but this is no big deal.
This was Susan Tedeschi's third appearance at Indy Jazz Fest. One of her endearing traits is her ability to belt out a song and once the song is over, immediately shrink back to life size and quietly say, "Thank you." This is a good thing.
Thank you for starting your performance with "Brick House" so all the jazz fans could go home early.
There were a number of acts that I probably would never see by themselves, but the festival provided an opportunity to check them out (Manhattan Transfer, David Sanborn, Gary Burton). I finally was able to see Joey DeFrancesco (very good performance), who was freaking out at the sight of some of his past album covers (think early '90s with tall hair and laser light graphics).
Happy Father's Day: I got to spend Father's Day on the festival grounds with my daughter Emma. Plus, Mavis Staples gave a shout out to her father Pops Staples and Steve and David Allee jammed together. It was a good day to be a dad.
I saw Mavis Staples close out the Chicago Blues Festival the week before and it was a delight to see her again. Yes, she pretty much did the same set, but she still packs a vocal punch, from The Staples Singers classics to her new album, Have A Little Faith on Alligator Records. Give me one good reason why you don't own this.
Festival closer Tony Bennett was solid. Note to Michael Buble: With all due respect, you realize that Bennett could pimp slap you any time he wants, right? Just checking. Hearing "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" is like seeing Dave Brubeck do "Take Five" or The Rolling Stones do "Satisfaction." When you die, you're immediately sent to the concertgoers section of the pearly gates.
After Bennett, I went to the Slippery Noodle to check out local acts Benito DiBartoli and Tony Cheesebourough (who can be heard live on The Blues House Party this Saturday night at 9 on WFYI 90.1 FM). On my way to the club, three South American racing fans stopped me on the road and asked ...
"Good night, sir. Is there strip club nearby?"
Yup, this is my city.
Matthew Socey is host of The Blues House Party on WFYI 90.1 FM.