February being Black History Month, the Arts Council of Indianapolis has a month-long, ambitious program titled "Art & Soul" that honors Afro-American culture expressed through artistic achievements, such as performance, visual and literary arts. The celebration, now in its eighth year, is underway at 11 sites in the city.
The sensuous vocal stylings of the Cynthia Layne Quintet will perform at the Jazz Kitchen Friday, Feb. 14, featuring saxophonist Rob Dixon.
"Celebrating All That Jazz" is a free, diverse offering of jazz at the Artsgarden that has all the trappings of a mini jazz festival. Bruce Williams is the program consultant for Art & Soul for the Arts Council of Indianapolis. He pointed out that its purpose is bigger than the city limits. "As part of Art & Soul"s mission Ö saluting Indiana Afro-American artists, it"s open to celebrate artists and arts throughout the state." Admittedly, though, Williams says he concentrated the jazz experience on the historical significance of Indiana Avenue and the Afro-American musicians who reflect its legacy in performance. The schedule is as follows: Friday, Feb. 14 at 12:15 p.m., bassist Frank Smith will lead the Indiana Avenue Jazz All Stars in a concert of tunes by Indiana composers. Veteran vibist Billy Wooten and the Vida Bole Ensemble take the bandstand at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, opens at 12:15 p.m. with the Freetown Village Ensemble performing Afro-American folk songs. George Middleton"s Trio will offer smooth jazz sounds starting at 2 p.m. The very popular group led by Mary Moss and Women Kickin" It!, featuring Stephanie Knox, Janiece Jaffe and Monika Herzig, will wrap up the week-long jazz celebration from 4 to 5 p.m. The price is right and that makes another good reason to enjoy the jazz culture being presented. Jazz happenings It"s time to take stock of that someone special in your life with Valentine"s Day this week. The jazz community will be featuring special evenings for romantic sounds all over Indy. Downtown The Chatterbox brings back the soulful trumpet of the Kyle Quass Quartet Friday, Feb. 14 for some heartfelt sounds. Saturday will feature a rare appearance by the modern classic jazz violinist Sara Caswell"s Group. Music sets both nights are from 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. The Elbow Room celebrates Valentine"s Day Feb. 14 with guitarist Tom Sullivan"s Trio performing soft jazz romantic tunes from 7:30 to 11 p.m. to complement special Valentine dining, from shrimp cocktails to crepe suzette. Tom Sullivan plays on Fridays 7 to 10 p.m. and the Sunday Jazz Brunch is from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jazz On The Avenue on the fourth floor of the Madame Walker Center welcomes back the lady with a soulful, jazz and blues song, Mary Moss and Friends, who should provide a lot of musical love for this Valentine offering, Friday, Feb. 14 from 6 to 10 p.m. Indiana Historical Society has the Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra presenting a Valentine"s Day concert on Friday entitled "Isn"t It Romantic?" Featured will be great American romantic ballads by Hoagy Carmichael, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart and the Gershwins. Performing with the BWJO will be a trio of outstanding vocalists, Janiece Jaffe, Eric Felton from Washington, D.C., and the mellifluous, award-winning sound of Everett Greene. The concert starts at 8:30 p.m. Tickets for the concert can be reserved by calling 464-5388. Before the concert the Indiana Historical Society is sponsoring a dinner with music and dancing at 6:30 p.m. For dinner tickets call the Indiana Historical Society at 232-1882. Circle City Bar & Grille in the Marriott has a Valentine"s Day special progressive wine tasting four-course dinner package at $85 per person on Feb. 14. The Jason Curry Quartet presents its progressive jazz playing 5 to 10 p.m. Reservations are required by calling 405-6100. Northside It"s Valentine"s Day at the Jazz Kitchen Friday, Feb. 14 when they offer up an evening of romance and song "In The Round" with the sensuous vocal stylings of the Cynthia Layne Quintet, featuring saxophonist Rob Dixon. Performances are at 7, 9 and 11 p.m. Reservations are recommended by calling 253-4900. Fire and passion are added to the Valentine"s Day weekend when Latin jazz is played by Groupo Quatro at 8 and 10 p.m. Then DJ Marco Dominguez takes over for hot salsa and merengue dancing until 2 a.m. Mark your calender for Big Band Weekend Feb. 21 when the standard bearers of big band jazz, the Count Basie Orchestra led by Grover Mitchell, will play at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. The highly acclaimed Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra is on the bandstand Saturday, Feb. 22 for a CD release night of its second CD, Heart & Soul, the Music of Hoagy Carmichael, for two shows at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. The New Fountain Lounge has guitarist Steve Weakly featured with the Jason Curry Quartet Wednesday, Feb. 19, 8 p.m. to midnight. Eastside The Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra plays its Second Annual Valentine"s Day concert and dinner Friday, Feb. 14 with "Big Band Music From the Heart" at the Community Life Center at Washington Park East. For tickets and dinner reservations call 396-2513. Chuck Workman is the producer/host of the Sunday Morning Jazz Show at 107.9 WTPI.