Last Sunday, I saw Trying To Get Good, an exceptional documentary about jazz trumpeter Jack Sheldon’s life screened during the Indianapolis International Film Festival. Sheldon has been a longtime favorite of mine for his horn and humor. Directors Doug McIntyre and Penny Peyser sensitively explore the relationship between Sheldon’s off-beat private life and passionate drive as a jazz musician. Sheldon’s hip jazz comedy is priceless, but is revealed to be a cover for a tragic personal life full of self-destruction and emotional denial.
Sheldon’s personal turmoil ceases when he picks up his trumpet or sings; he’s really at peace on the bandstand. The live jazz club music scenes are fabulous.
Sheldon was the guru of a West Coast jazz scene that was laid-back and hip, and prominent jazz artists contributed stories about working with the emotionally unstable Sheldon. Vegas may have had its Rat Pack but this film shows that L.A. had cool cats like Billy Crystal and Clint Eastwood (who scats bop with Sheldon in a hilarious scene).
Cinco de Mayo is coming up, and vocalist Stacie Sandoval’s salsa groups will be the hardest-working bands in town. Friday, May 2 at 10 p.m., Orquesta Bravo! takes its salsa rhythms to the Adobe Grill, 4939 E. 82nd St. Saturday, May 3 from 4-6 p.m., Stacie Sandoval & Latin Trio Con Paz play at the Rathskeller in a performance free for all ages. Finally, Saturday, May 3 at 9 p.m., Orquesta Bravo! brings salsa sounds to Fishers’ Fionn MacCool’s Irish Pub, 8211 E. 116th St., with free admission for all ages.
Mes Aimee, 238 N. High School Road, will feature the eclectic vocal stylings of Goldie & Exquisitely Yours featuring Robert Coleman’s guitar Saturday, May 3. Doors are at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m. with no cover charge.
Morty’s Comedy Joint will feature Cynthia Layne & Friends at “Jazz & Jokes” Thursday, May 1 from 6-8 p.m.