Jazz Notes

Crescent City Prayer

Now that we are in the

new year, there will be some changes in the local jazz

scene. New events are appearing, and some of the older ones are

beginning to disappear.

One of those new events

debuts Saturday, January 14, 2012. It's a collaborative event

between the Indianapolis Jazz Foundation and the Rhythm Discovery

Center, and will be held at the Rhythm Discovery Center. This

program, titled the Rhythm of Indiana Avenue, will feature Indy Jazz

Hall of Fame drummers. Lawrence Clark III will host a discussion of

Indianapolis jazz tradition and the history of Indiana Avenue at 1

p.m., in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Following the

discussion, Gene Markiewicz will lead a group of local jazz artists

performing standards written by local composers and musicians.

"Jazz has had a

global effect on music in the twentieth century, and the heart of jazz

is its rhythm and syncopation. That makes it unique,"� says Michael

Kenyon, executive director of the Rhythm Discovery Center.

The Indianapolis

Jazz Foundation

presents the rich history of jazz in Indianapolis to

the community throughout the year. We are excited to host this event

that will celebrate some our local artist and their stories," he


The Rhythm Discovery

Center has made admission to the Center free and open to the public all day for this special program.

One of the first jazz

albums of 2012 came from local artist, jazz pianist, composer and

educator Frank Puzzullo. It was released by local label Owl Studios.

Although he's actually based in Muncie, Puzzulo's no stranger to the Indianapolis jazz scene.

Crescent City Prayer

is the name of the record Puzzullo dedicated to New Orleans and the

nine years he lived and worked there. Let any concern about whatever

happened to bebop be assuaged. Puzzullo's album is keeping the

flame alive with his cooking take-no-prisoners quintet. Puzzulo

contributed six originals and arranged two standards for this


Mark Buselli's

trumpet and Andy Fusco's sax make up the front line. Buselli's

playing is relaxed and flowing, and Fusco's alto sax complements

Puzzulo's hard, swinging bebop lines.

Bob Bowman's bass and

Joel Spencer's drums have driving swing and bop accents that propel the

quintet to a high level. Opening track "You Do" is a freewheeling

bebop romp that sets the tone for the whole record. Puzzullo's solo

shows his reflective and sensitive side on the ballad "Spring is


There is a cultural

loss of Indy's jazz history going on in our community. One reason for this

is because there is no physical repository or building for deceased jazz

artists from Indy. Those are who gave this city a worldwide reputation for its

jazz legacy. Where are the instruments of those Indy jazz legends

today? What about the numerous sheets of paper that hold the notes of

jazz compositions to be played for the

public or for music educators to pass on to their students?

I am sure that there

are numerous tapes in this city from local artists who recorded their

gigs that are deteriorating. They hold a treasure trove of sounds

that music students and educators could benefit from. Photos of the

past jazz artists performing and of the legendary local jazz clubs that

no longer exist are invaluable documentation of the golden

era of Indy jazz.

There are other urban

cities where jazz thrived and that also claimed a share of this

nation's musical art form. Unlike Indy, some have repositories for

this art form called jazz museums.

I can't help but

wonder how we can pass on a jazz legacy to future generations when we

can't preserve the past to build on to.

Could there be a museum

devoted to jazz and our local legendary performers for the public to

enjoy and future musicians and music educators to use to maintain Indy's reputation? Let's keep our legacy alive

in the world jazz community.


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