JazzChuck Workman

When Animals and All That Jazz, presented by the IU Medical Group, kicks off its 2005 season on Thursday, Indy's women jazz artists will be at the forefront. This year, the six-week-long popular jazz event features "A Salute to Indy's Women of Jazz." Kicking off the series will be two of Indy's favorite voices, Brenda Williams and Shannon Forsell, backed up by the Cool City Swing Band. The performance will be an exciting and fun-filled showcase of hip and swinging presentations of Broadway show tunes, jazz, blues and standards with a big band-type backing. Shannon Forsell

Brenda Williams

Animals and All That Jazz concerts are held Thursdays at the Indianapolis Zoo's outdoor stage at Cafe at the Commons Plaza. In the event of rain, the performance will be moved under the Kroger Pavilion Tent. Concert times are 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Admission to Animals and All That Jazz is free for zoo members or is included with the regular zoo admission fee for non-members. A wide array of dining and drink options are available each week. Seating is available, but you may bring your own lawn chairs. Tables can be reserved for a fee by calling 317-630-2013. This week, zoo members can get free Kombo Roller Coaster rides presented by One American.

The lineup for the series showcases some of Indy's top female jazz artists: July 21, Monika Herzig's Women of Jazz; July 28, Cynthia Layne & Friends; Aug. 4, Jan Aldridge Clark Group; Aug. 11, Mary Moss & Friends; Aug. 18, Cathy Morris & Collage.

Conversation with The Rippingtons' Russ Freeman

One of the pathfinding groups of contemporary and smooth jazz, The Rippingtons will perform at the Music Mill Friday night for two shows at 7 and 9:30 p.m. The Rippingtons are on a national tour in support of their latest CD, Wild Card on the Peak label. I caught up with the group's founder and leader Russ Freeman during a break in New York for this interview.

NUVO: The Rippingtons have been together 20 years; is there any musical project you would like to record that you have not done to date?

Freeman: The immediate thing that comes to mind, now that we have had David Benoit do his orchestral album, I would love to do a symphonic classic guitar album. I don't know if it's ever gonna happen.

NUVO: Have you noticed, as the music has changed, are The Rippingtons drawing a new type of fan?

Freeman: What I found in The Rippingtons is that our longtime fan base has had children that have grown up on our music and are now consumers of our music.

NUVO: Has technology impacted the overall feel and sound of The Rippingtons?

Freeman: What has happened with us is kind of an opposite effect. When we started, everything like midi was brand new. The computer age was just dawning and the Internet didn't exist. We went through this whole phase of technology and then I suddenly realized that the technology wasn't really serving the music and wouldn't be as well-served as if we went back to the traditional instruments. This would last longer and would stay in style. Things go out of style very quickly, so I made a conscious move in the '90s that I wanted to go back to the basics. That's where I noticed our most successful albums are with the acoustic piano, classical guitar, the real instruments, and get away from all of this technology.

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