Chuck Workman

Legendary Indy singer/pianist Flo Garvin, circa late '60s. Garvin passed away last Sunday.

Indy's pioneering jazz vocalist and entertainer Flo Garvin-Deakyne passed away last Sunday. Garvin was the first African-American woman to host her own entertainment show on local television. In the late '50s, Garvin could be seen on WFBM Channel 6. She was noted for her trio singing and playing standards and jazz at The Embers, Larue's Supper Clubs and numerous local venues around Indy. She was also credited with opening doors for minority musicians and entertainers to play downtown and in other venues in the city. Garvin was enshrined in the Indianapolis Jazz Foundation's Jazz Hall of Fame in 1999.

Singer Mary Moss says this about Garvin: "I was in awe of her; she graciously established an audience rapport singing and playing piano. She was an entertainer."

Singer Areta Lamar Bush says, "She was a lovely person and I loved to hear her sing and play."

I personally knew her and, by today's standards, she was a local forerunner to the Shirley Horn vocal/piano technique with an elegant, cosmopolitan performing style. A lot of entertainers are indebted to Flo Garvin.

She is survived by daughters Karen Rudd and Kelly Garvin Long and sons Duane Garvin, Stacy Garvin and Steve Garvin. Garvin was a longtime member of Womack CME Church. Arrangements by Williams & Bluitt Funeral Home are pending at this time.

Holiday showcase extravaganza

The Indianapolis Jazz Foundation will present its annual Holiday Showcase Extravaganza with proceeds to benefit Jazz For Kids and The United Christmas Fund Thursday, Dec. 1 in the fourth floor ballroom of the Madame Walker Theatre Center.

Performing artists at this year's event are Monika Herzig, Cathy Morris, Charlie Smith Project, Cynthia Layne, Everett Greene, Larry Greene, Rob Dixon & Trilogy, Joe Harrison and the Inner City Music School Group. The house band is Frank Smith on bass, Marvin Smith and Reggie Bishop on keyboards and on drums Kenny Phelps and Larry Clark III.

The show will be from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. There will be five new inductees into the Indianapolis Jazz Foundation's Jazz Hall of Fame. Inductees for the 2005 class are "Killer" Ray Appleton, Larry Clark III, Everett Greene, Bill Lancton and Tommy Mullinix. Mary Moss and I will be your MCs for the evening. Advance tickets are $15 and $20 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at the Chatterbox, the Jazz Kitchen, Indy CD & Vinyl and Madame Walker Theatre Center box office. Grant's Catering will provide an optional buffet.

Jazz in retrospect

I checked out a lot of great jazz being played around Indy last week.

A new spot for jazz on Saturdays, 6 to 9 p.m. is Ellington's, named for the Duke, at the Embassy Suites Hotel North, 3912 Vincennes Road just north of 86th Street and west of Michigan Road. It is a comfortable room and the sound of Convergence was an apt fit under the warm glow of Ellington's numerous chandeliers.

Leader/bassist Harry Maginty has a tight, tastefully swinging trio playing in the modern mainstream style. Keyboardist Jamie Newman is an eloquent, lyrical player propelled by Kurt Lubbe's sensitive drums and Maginty's strong, rhythmic bass lines. Sue Maginty's mellow vocals on standards added to the atmosphere.

It was good to hear music of this caliber in a room named for the royalty of jazz.

CD pick of the week

Higher Ground

Hurricane Relief Benefit Concert

18 stars of jazz and pop

Bluenote Records

This is the audio portion of the PBS Hurricane Relief Benefit Concert of Sept. 17, 2005, at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Its purpose was to resurrect the artistic culture of a community that created an original and perpetual music for the world: jazz!

Wynton Marsalis and the LCJO perform with a passion and urgency. Artists from New Orleans and beyond like Terence Blanchard, The Nevilles, Buckwheat Zydeco, Diana Krall, Dianne Reeves, James Taylor, Norah Jones, Shirley Caesar and Bette Midler are just a few who give heartfelt performances. Trumpeters Terence Blanchard on "Over There" and Irvin Mayfield on "Just A Closer Walk With Thee" give soul-stirring and absorbing performances.

Rating: Not necessary, because "all of the net proceeds from sale of this CD are to benefit the musicians and music-related enterprises of Greater New Orleans area affected by Hurricane Katrina."