Sophie Faust’s lithe, fluid tenor sax
closed out the five-day Indy Jazz Fest 2015 Pub Creep at Outliers. Along with Rob Walker on bass, Josh Roberts on drums and Joel Tucker on guitar, Faust romped through a program of standards and original compositions. The real fun here, as with Tucker taking the lead at Flat 12 on Sept. 16, is being in the moment of the birthing of a song THEIR way. The trio backing Faust have been playing together since their student days at IU Jacobs School of Music so they’re comfortable pushing and pulling each other while at the same melding to give Faust space.
That same exciting edginess and simpatico happened at Flat 12 with Sean Imboden’s melodic tenor sax partnering with Tucker’s singerly guitar, Brian Yarde adding an extra bit of swag on drums and Kevin Anker on Hammond Organ swelling the sound.
Anker was equally at the fulcrum with Chris Pyle on drums backing inimitable blues vocalist Tad Robinson at Twenty Tap on Sept. 14. This trio breathes together so exquisitely the feel of the story resonates through your bones. It’s not only the story Robinson is imparting—it’s equally the world in which the words are living.
At Broad Ripple Brewpub on Sept. 17, Steven Jones on keyboards and Richard Floyd on drums joined twin tenors Rob Dixon and Nick Gerlach. Dixon and Gerlach are as operatic as jazz can get when they meld and play off each other, intermittently uniting and vying against each other — playful and serious, teasing depth and breadth into and out of standards. Watching their entrances and exits is as much fun as hearing their sounds as they take an individual stance into a tune and then find their way into amplifying the point in unison.
I missed Tuesday’s program at Sun King, so I’ve had to recall the range from hard bop to sultry inspired by Jared Thompson and Quartet. Gratefully, Pub Creep volunteers let me know “the group was great, as expected.”
The saxophone ruled this year’s Pub Creep programming. Credit Dixon, a.k.a. “Indy’s Mayor of Jazz” with putting it all together — a task way harder than matching up any other part of the expansive 10-day festival appearing all-around town.
A loyal following is a special part of the Pub Creep experience. Patrons who otherwise cannot afford participating show up at each of the venues and readily share their impressions of players and ambiance.
“I feel like I’m contributing by buying a pint or two and putting dollars in the collection bucket every night,” one patron told me. “And I like watching what’s going on as much as hearing the music.”
Thanks to Brewers of Indiana Guild for underwriting the players.