Week two of IU Medical Group’s Animals and All That Jazz at the Indianapolis Zoo, Thursday, July 24, brings an appropriate sound for a tropical setting with popular contemporary jazz violinist Cathy Morris’ Brazilian Lounge Band.
Bossa nova and popular Latin jazz music for dancing will be the sounds of the evening from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Cafe on the Commons in the Indianapolis Zoo. Elegant and varied menu items for dining by Crystal Catering are available along with a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
Admission is free for zoo members, non-members pay the cost of admission to the zoo. There is plenty of free parking in what should turn out to be a tropical party jam rain or shine.
The return of Cherryl Hayes
When former Indy resident and jazz singer Cherryl Hayes returns to Indianapolis from her new home in Bangkok, Thailand, it’s a special occasion. Cherryl, who will be appearing at the Jazz Kitchen on Friday, July 25, for two shows at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m., has developed into a significant singer on the Far East international scene.
Her story is one of throwing all caution to the winds and following her passion and dream: She quit a secure position working in a telephone communications corporation, sold off her personal belongings and followed her dream to an unknown future overseas.
Locally, she had developed a large following of jazz fans with her uninhibited three-and-a-half-octave range vocal stylings and her love for scat singing. She won the WTPI Winter Jazz Festival competition that resulted in her only Stateside CD to date. She has also performed in local theatrical productions of Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Nunsense.
Cherryl has performed in a variety of prestigious rooms such as New York’s Tavern on the Green and Bangkok’s Oriental Hotel’s Bamboo Bar. The king and queen of Thailand are in fact devout fans, as Cherryl has become a regular performing guest at their palace.
She managed to find some time to talk with NUVO.
NUVO: Working on the international circuit in the Far East, have you become more of a show-oriented performer, rather than concentrating on jazz?
Hayes: It depends on the venue, but I haven’t changed anything in doing what I want to do. I am still doing the songs that I want to do. I am still doing Sarah Vaughn and Ella Fitzgerald.
NUVO: Do you find that working in front of Far East audiences you have to entertain or educate them?
Hayes: I just entertain them; they will learn from it. They will come and ask me, “Where did you get your training?” When I reply I had no training and that this is a gift from God, they are astounded. They are always thinking you have gone to school.
NUVO: If you were to be stranded on a deserted island with only three recordings to take with you what would they be?
Hayes: I would like to be stranded on an island with Oscar Peterson and a grand piano. I really and truly want an orchestra led by Johnny Mandel: I want that whole group like he did on Shirley Horn’s Here’s to Life CD. Then I would like to sit and talk to Sarah Vaughn.
Cherryl Hayes rejected the conformity of being conservative in her career and followed the passion that has led her to complete happiness in a new profession. Though it has taken her to the other side of the world where she states she is now a permanent resident of Bangkok, her roots are still deeply embedded as a product of Indy’s jazz community.
Sylvia Howard: another jazz singer returns
Sylvia Howard represents a jazz talent who left Indy as a child to also make her mark as a singer, performing on the stages of the world. Though not necessarily recognized in the States, she is known among its jazz artists who have played overseas. Howard left the states in 1989 to perform in Singapore; she spent 10 years performing in various southeast Asian countries’ best hotels and clubs. She was convinced that she needed to increase her visibility by performing in Europe and so moved to Paris, France.
Since then, she has performed in 15 clubs in Paris and four clubs in Rome. Howard wrote and sang the title song “I Want To Go Somewhere” for the French film Ni Pour Ni Contre and performed on the soundtrack for the film Moi J’en Veux. She also conducted children’s workshops at the different schools in Paris. Add to Howard’s repertoire performing at jazz festivals in France, Indonesia and the U.S.
It has been two decades since she has returned to Indy and she was amazed at the positive musical changes in the city. She took time out for this conversation.
NUVO: When did you first become interested in performing jazz?
Howard: I actually got interested in singing jazz on stage in Phoenix, Ariz., by a lady named Margo Reed. She puts me in mind of the feeling or spirit of your Mary Moss.
NUVO: Do you consider yourself a jazz or pop artist or a composite entertainer?
Howard: I never thought it was a good idea to limit myself because I have had to sing the jazz. I have had to sing the blues, the gospel and do the R&B and the pop, but I will put the passion of my heart into the jazz and the blues.
NUVO: What are your plans for the future of your career?
Howard: Since I have been back in the States, especially since I have been back home in Indianapolis, I am one of these people who goes all of the time. I never expected to feel so comfortable and so happy to be back in Indianapolis, especially with family and friends that I have not seen in 25 years. Though she has never performed in her hometown, she admitted that she would consider moving back here to live. There is definitely room for her seasoned passionate and sophisticated voice on the Indy music scene.
Chuck Workman is the producer/host of the Sunday Morning Jazz Show at 107.9 WTPI.