Indianapolis has a rich tradition of large jazz ensembles - orchestras and big bands. The Buselli/Wallerab Jazz Orchestra, now in its eighth year of existence, will open its second season as a repertory jazz orchestra at the Indiana Historical Society, Sunday, Oct. 6 with a tribute to Hoagy Carmichael. Orchestra co-founders Mark Buselli and Brent Wallerab are committed to keeping the city"s legacy of orchestral jazz alive and enriching our cultural life with a two-pronged program. Buselli, who is the BWJO educational director, has some ambitious goals for the BWJO in 2002-"03. There is a four-point proposal according to Buselli: 1. outreach to six Indianapolis public schools; 2. clinics to area junior high and high school music students; 3. pre-concert lectures at the Indiana Historical Society; 4. the High School All-Star Jazz Ensemble. Buselli speaks with enthusiasm about one of his personal goals for the BWJO: "One of my goals with this organization is to have a side-by-side program, which is the same way the Indianapolis Symphony does, but with jazz. Playing the best of Basie and the best of all the big bands and kids sitting by professionals playing." On the artistic side, Wallerab musically steers this 16-piece orchestra as the artistic director with his skillful, innovative arrangements, compositions and passion for the orchestral jazz tradition. For the season opener, Wallerab will offer a musical tribute to Hoagy Carmichael with his original "Jazz Suite," based on some of Carmichael"s best-known songs. There will also be guest vocalists performing with the BWJO, a new dimension for this ensemble. The rich baritone of Everett Greene and the sultry stylings of Cynthia Layne will be included for this event. Wallerab is grateful to be the repertory house band at the Indiana Historical Society, but acknowledges there is a profound reason for the BWJO"s continuity. "We are lucky about the Jazz Kitchen. It is something we can never take for granted. The fact that David Allee gives us his venue to play. One of the things I would like to point out that sets us apart from any other band is this is a full-time, regular-playing band. We don"t just get together five or six times a year and do special concerts. We play every week of the year and that"s rare. How many bands can say that we are a regular, full-time working band, we don"t just play when we get a gig. We play all the time." Wallerab is also busy recording the BWJO"s upcoming CD, The Buselli/Wallerab Jazz Orchestra Plays Hoagy Carmichael, with vocalists Everett Green and Delores King Williams, set for release this winter. Other BWJO concerts slated for the season are "Duke Ellington"s Nutcracker Suite" Dec. 7-8; "Isn"t It Romantic" Feb. 14; and "Porgy & Bess" April 13. "The Buselli/Wallerab Jazz Orchestra Plays the Music of Hoagy Carmichael" concert is on Sunday, Oct. 6 and will have a matinee show at 2 p.m., followed by a 7 p.m. performance with a pre-concert lecture at 6:15 p.m. by the BWJO"s co-founders Brent Wallerab and Mark Buselli. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for seniors and students. To order tickets call the BWJO"s Ticket Line at (317) 464-5388. Jazz happenings
If autumn doesn"t seem right due to this mixed-up weather, take heart and fall into the reliable sounds of jazz this week in Indy. The Jazz Kitchen will celebrate the birthday of one of Indy"s local jazz saxophone legends with a "Pookie" Johnson B-Day Roast Friday, Oct. 4, from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. The partying will continue on Saturday, Oct. 5 with the entertaining style and sound of vocalist Mary Moss & the Carl Hines Quintet with two shows at 8 and 10 p.m. The Chatterbox welcomes back the fiery vocal sounds of Wendy Reed & Friends Friday, Oct. 4. Saxophonist Keni Washington & Omniverse return Saturday, Oct. 5. Music sets both nights are from 10:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Sullivan"s Steakhouse has Claude Sifferlen on piano and Joe Deal on bass playing Friday and Saturday, with saxophonists Chuck Carter Oct. 4 and Lou Kratzer Oct. 5. Music times both nights are 7-11:30 p.m. The Indianapolis Artsgarden features Conga Jazz Saturday, Oct. 5 from 1-3 p.m. Ruth"s Chris Steakhouse"s "Sizzling Steaks & Jazz" will debut saxophonist Rob Dixon"s Quartet Sunday, Oct. 6 from 7-10 p.m. Adam"s Mark Hotel downtown has the Frank Puzzullo Trio playing each Friday and Saturday, 8-11 p.m. Lulu"s at the Keystone Commons Mall showcases vocals by Mary Moss backed up by Carl Hines on piano and Mingo Jones on bass Thursday, Oct. 3, 8-11 p.m. Sangiovese Restaurant features vocalist Brenda Williams supported by David Meeks on keyboards and Frank Smith on bass every Wednesday. Shannon Forsell sings with Ray Larman on keyboards on Thursdays and Janiece Jaffe with Simon Rowe on keyboards provide hip sophisticated sounds on Fridays. Music times each night are from 7-10:30 p.m. Rick"s Cafe Boatyard presents the jazz/pop vocals of Tim Brickley Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Gregg Bacon plays on Monday and Tuesday. Monika Herzig"s Trio plays Saturdays. The Indianapolis Museum of Art welcomes saxophonist Gregg Bacon for its First Friday, Oct. 4, playing 5:30-8 p.m. Bernice"s Midtown Dining has the smooth contemporary jazz sounds of Sansing & Stevi each Saturday, 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. The Elbow Room, with a unique Sunday Jazz Brunch, offers the tasty swinging jazz guitars of Jack Brengle and Tom Sullivan to go along with its signature Blueberry Beignets and that sumptuous Pajama Breakfast each week from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. It"s worth checking out. Oops, correction from last week: Marco Solari is the general manager of the Elbow Room; Rick Rising Moore is the owner. Chuck Workman is the producer/host of the Sunday Morning Jazz Show at 107.9 WTPI.