Like everything else in this nation today, the E-word, "economics," has also had an impact on the jazz scene. This doesn"t mean that 2003 will be a negative year for jazz; it just may not be as big a showcase. But the quality of music will still be there and jazz fans will see and hear outstanding musical performances for their hard-earned dollars.
Brilliant pianist/composer/arranger Steve Allee will be at the Jazz Kitchen on Jan. 3 and 4.
Historically, jazz has always come up with its most productive musical periods during times of economic deprivation, and Indy"s jazz productivity should continue to grow on many fronts.
One interesting trend concerns the number of quality dining venues that are incorporating some form of jazz to compliment their innovative menu offerings.
There will be some exciting new CDs released by local artists in 2003. Especially worth listening to will be the Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra in a tribute to Hoagy Carmichael, with superb vocals from Delores King Williams and Everett Greene.
Look for the new WTPI Indy Jazz Sampler, Vol. 6 later in 2003, showcasing the year"s Indy jazz talent.
The Indianapolis Jazz Foundation"s new president for 2003 is Robert Clark, who states the organization"s goals for the new year: "The key for us is jazz education, especially with our youth. I see that growing," he says. "I think membership will grow as more people see what our organization is, with more emphasis on our programs so that we can generate more public support for them. In addition to our education mission, we are there to support jazz in general. This can be a year to do even more to highlight our local talent because we have got some great talent right here in Indy."
David Andrichik, the proprietor of Indy"s oldest sustained jazz club, the Chatterbox, expresses his thoughts about jazz in 2003: "What I have observed over the past three or four months at the Chatterbox - and what I see will also carry into 2003 - are some interesting personnel changes with steady groups. One or two individual players might be going out on the road or changing cities, looking for other opportunities. I am guessing that"s a factor of the economic situation both here and the potential of other things in other cities. So what has occurred is that while there have been personnel changes, some of the newer, younger guys and gals have been given the opportunity to put together their own bands or to front new bands."
There will be some major changes in 2003 for outdoor jazz events. Overall, jazz will be performed and the music will evolve in sound and settings that reflect the ongoing changes that impact the life of the jazz artist.
OK, it"s the new year, so let"s resolve to increase your appetite for more of Indy"s outstanding jazz artists. One thing"s for sure: The sounds they are laying are definitely non-fattening.
The Chatterbox will kick off the new year with legendary jazz saxophonist "Pookie" Johnson & The Indy Allstars on Friday, Jan. 3, with an in-the-pocket rhythm section. Former New York modern saxophonist Rob Dixon"s Quartet brings fresh intensive sounds to the bandstand on Saturday, Jan. 4. Sets both nights run from 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.
The Jazz Kitchen opens its new year with the brilliant pianist/composer/arranger Steve Allee. On Friday, Jan. 3 it"s the Steve Allee Group featuring some of his favorite musicians from the Bob & Tom Band for two shows at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 4 brings you the rare opportunity to hear the Steve Allee Big Band for two shows at 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. It showcases 16 of the top local musicians who have contributed to the Allee Big Band"s swinging sound over the past two decades.
Sullivan"s Steakhouse has the hard-swinging trio of Claude Sifferlen, piano, Joe Deal, bass, and Ron Brinson on drums performing for its New Year"s weekend Friday and Saturday, Jan. 3 and 4 from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m.
The Elbow Room presents the soft jazz sounds of the Tom Sullivan Duo from 12:30 to 2 p.m. for the Sunday Jazz Brunch.
Chuck Workman is the producer/host of the Sunday Morning Jazz Show at 107.9 WTPI.