Review: David Baker 80th Birthday Celebration

David Baker

'Tis the season. Jazz lovers will be

offered a variety of holiday events this season at both ends of the social and

financial spectrum.

The annual Indianapolis Jazz Foundation's

Holiday Showcase is now at the Jazz Kitchen on Wednesday, December 14. The doors will

open at 6 p.m. and music starts at 6:30 p.m., featuring Jesse Wittman Trio. One

of the major events during the IJF's Holiday Showcase is its induction of local

musicians into its Jazz Hall of Fame.

The 2011 inductees are Alan Burke,

piano/organ; Carl Hines, piano; Gene Markiewicz, drums; Gary Walters, piano;

and Steve Weakley, guitar.

"Celebrating the Indy Jazz

Legends" will be the theme of this year's IJF Holiday Showcase with guest

artists performing. Scholarships will be awarded to four outstanding college jazz studies music students.

A silent auction will be held in the banquet room of the Jazz Kitchen, and food

and drinks will be available from the Jazz Kitchen's award winning menu.

Admission is $20.

On Saturday, December 17, the

Crispus Attucks Museum invites the community to attend the Museum's year-end

Holiday Jazz Celebration from 3 to 5 p.m. This event is free of charge and

features legendary Indy jazz pianist Carl Hines with fresh interpretations of

your holiday favorites and complimentary dining. An RSVP is required for this

free and open to the public event due to limited seating.

The event is the Crispus Attucks

Museum's way of saying "thank you" for a year of jazz celebration. To

RSVP, call 317-226-2435.

On Sunday, December 18, the

Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra presents its holiday show featuring the rich

baritone voice of Everett Greene at the Jazz Kitchen. The BWJO will perform

selections from Duke Ellington's innovative rendition of the Nutcracker suite.

Shows are at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Admission is $25.

On Monday, December 19, some

of Indy's finest gospel performers will perform an exciting Holiday Gospel

Showcase

at the Jazz Kitchen. The show is directed by jazz drummer Kenny

Phelps. It features soulful modern gospel renditions of holiday favorites.

Performances are at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Admission is $12.

On Wednesday, December 21, a

special black tie event will be held at the Jazz Kitchen. The Indy Jazz Fest, Owl Studios,

Maribeth Smith and Associates, The Indianapolis Jazz Foundation, American

Pianist Association, Mark Sheldon and the jazz community will celebrate the 80th

birthday of Indianapolis native and living jazz legend Dr. David Baker.

Dr. Baker, who founded and led

Indiana University's Jazz Studies program to a prestigious national and

international reputation, will be honored by generations of jazz musicians who

studied under his tutelage. An evening of special music programs under the

direction of Brent Wallarab will feature the compositions of Dr. Baker by the

BWJO, The David Linard Trio and the American Pianist Association's finalist

Zach Lapidus will perform.

The event requires an RSVP and black

tie attire. Admission is $125 per person. The evening includes cocktail

reception and a buffet dinner. Donations will be accepted for the IU Foundation

for the inaugural David Baker Scholarship. Contact the Jazz Kitchen to RSVP.

The sounds of the season are

superbly represented in vocalist Heather Ramsey's new holiday CD Peace

Like a River. The collaborative efforts of Ramsey and Monika Herzig's piano

and arrangements are scintillating. The title track of Amy Grant's "Peace

Like a River" is a gospel rouser featuring a children's choir of Ramsey's

students from her music school. Herzig's arrangements lift Ramsey to a soulful

shouting performance. The musical textures are diverse, and include guest

appearances by trumpeter Mark Buselli, violinist Carolyn Dutton, guitarist Peter

Kniele and saxophonist Tom Clark. The tunes are holiday secular; Ramsey creates

a responsive performance to Herzig's arrangements.

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