The Madame Walker Theatre Center will debut its new Sunday Jazz Brunch in the fourth floor ballroom on May 1. The time of the brunch is unique and should be appealing for families, especially after church, with the times of 1 to 5 p.m. Popular vocalist Mary Moss, pianist Carl Hines and Larry Clark on drums will entertain from 2 to 5 p.m. The Madame Walker Theatre Center will hold its brunch the first Sunday of each month. Admission is $15 per person and includes the Sunday buffet. Mary Moss & Carl Hines play The Madame Walker Theatre Center Ballroom for New Sunday Jazz Brunch, May 1.
Jazz Appreciation Month winds down this week with two concerts.
* The IUPUI Jazz Band, directed by Jack Gilfoy, will hold its JAM concert Thursday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall of the IT Building (southwest corner of Michigan and West streets). General admission is $5.
* The Artsgarden closes out the month-long celebration of JAM with the Indiana Avenue Jazz All-Stars in a free concert Friday, April 29 at 12:15 p.m.
* Fans of Gregg Bacon's smooth groove sax and flute sounds can now catch him on a regular basis performing with keyboardist James Simmons every Tuesday from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the Cafe @ Ray, 941 S. Meridian St. No cover charge. Bacon will surprise his fans by adding vocal skills to his performance. Check him out.
* Last month I told you about the Inner City Music School headed by Hazel Johnson Strong at the Brightwood Community Center, 2410 Station St., where they offer free instrumental music and dance instruction with a focus on jazz for inner-city boys and girls ages 5 to 18. The April 9 response was exceptional with 140 children applying.
This is a breakdown of the children's choices for what they wanted to learn: Thirty applied for drums and five for percussion taught by Larry Clark and Dick Dickinson; 25 for keyboards/piano taught by Melvin Rhyne; eight for flute; six for clarinet; and three for saxophone taught by Alonzo "Pookie" Johnson. Seven children chose guitar taught by Steve Weakley; five for bass taught by Frank Smith; five for trumpet taught by Clifford Ratliff and a combined 51 for choir and dance taught by Hazel Johnson Strong and Brenda Walls. Tiffany Anderson teaches jazz dancing. Walls is also teaching the history of jazz. Lelanetta Ward is teaching music education.
In a grass-roots but much needed program such as this there is always a need for funding to keep this non-profit program productive. There is also a need for certain instruments that are playable or that can be repaired.
Instruments needed are five guitars, three electric basses, 20 practice pads or drums or drum sets and percussive instruments, four flutes and two clarinets. The Inner City Music Education Program can be reached by calling 585-0016.
* The Hancock County Public Library at 700 N. Broadway in Greenfield will present the Oliver Nelson Jr. Jazz Quintet featuring David Baker and Jamey Abersold in a free concert Thursday, May 5 at 7 p.m. Reservations are recommended by calling 317-452-5141, ext. 12.
Jazz in retrospect
The past month has brought a variety of nationally regarded jazz artists to town in performance. I was on hand for some of these shows. Especially uplifting was the Jazz Oratorio by former Indianapolis native Dr. Willis Kirk of Rejoice Rejoice.
Joey DeFrancesco left no doubt that he is the heir to Jimmy Smith's B-3 jazz organ throne with his appearance at the Jazz Kitchen.
Wynton Marsalis was in great form with his quintet's appearance at Clowes Hall, playing with a relaxed intensity in the traditional mode and showing he could venture outside into more challenging harmonic waters.
Tenor saxophone prodigy Sophie Faught's farewell concert produced by her teacher/mentor Harry Miedema, director of jazz studies at the University of Indianapolis, was a night to remember. Faught will graduate from Franklin Central High School next month and attend Indiana University's School of Music and Jazz Studies with David Baker. Listening to her and Miedema weaving contrapuntal lines around each other on the tune "It's You Are No One For Me" was an exciting glimpse of Faught's future as she more than matched her teacher's musical challenge.