In the arena of contemporary jazz and specifically the Smooth Jazz category, in recent years a new successful trend has developed of assembling individual top stars in that category for touring together as all star groups.
From left, Norman Brown, Rick Braun and Kirk Whalum will perform at the Murat Theatre Wednesday, Nov. 13.
The latest grouping to follow this format has a unique twist of recording a CD first, then launching a nationwide tour in support. BWB, formally known to Smooth Jazz fans as trumpeter Rick Braun, saxophonist Kirk Whalum and guitarist Norman Brown, will hit Indy to perform at the Murat Theatre Wednesday, Nov. 13. Even more exciting is the rhythm support that backs up Braun, Whalum and Brown: Mitchell Foreman on keyboards, Michael Manson on bass and Rafer Griffin on drums. I spoke with the Grammy award-winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum, who spoke quite candidly about the reasons for this tour and the need for the music they are presenting. NUVO: I understand the reason that you and Braun and Brown got together for this recording and tour is a mutual love for old school jazz. Is that true? Whalum: It is. I think that"s a good thing because what Smooth Jazz needs is a good dose of old school. NUVO: Were the CTI recordings of the seventies and eighties a influence on BWB"s recording of "Groovin"? Whalum: Recordings today are devoid of that spirit of that time where you bring a lot of guys together who have a mutual respect for each other and that they are bringing something unique to the proceedings. That is the spirit of the CTI recordings, they kind of bridged a gap, you know, between the bebop years and fusion. What we are going to do in the year 2002 is the thing that worked so well in 1980. We feel very strongly about the fact that we are better together. Jazz Happenings As daylight grows shorter in duration that streches out the nighttime for you to enjoy even more great local jazz in Indy this week. The Jazz Kitchen will resound with the critically acclaimed award winning Buselli/Wallerab Jazz Orchestra on Friday, Nov. 8 for two sets at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Joining the BWJO as a special guest will be vocalist Everett Greene. A special night and the next generation of a major jazz artist happens Saturday, Nov. 9 when the American Pianist Association"s Cole Porter Jazz Fellow the 18 year old phenom Aaron Parks Trio will play a pair of sets at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. The Chatterbox brings the energetic vocal style of Wendy Reed & Friends Friday, Nov. 8. Indy jazz legend saxophonist Pookie Johnson & Indy Jazz All Stars will jam on Saturday, Nov. 9. Music sets both nights runs from 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Ruth"s Chris Steakhouse Downtown brings back the Kevin Kyser Trio for its "Sizzling Steaks & Jazz" set Sunday, Nov. 10 from 7 to 10 p.m. The Circle City Bar & Grille in the Marriott Hotel Downtown has Conga Jazz playing Friday, Nov. 8 from 7 to 11 p.m. The Adam"s Mark Hotel Downtown features the swinging jazz piano of Frank Puzzullo on Friday and Saturday from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. in the Tiffany Rose Lounge. Sangiovese Restaurant showcases three great vocalist weekly with Brenda Williams and Wednesday with David Meek, keyboards, and Frank Smith, bass. Thursday, Shannon Forsell sings, backed up by Ray Larman, keyboards, and Friday Janiece Jaffe is at the mike with Simon Rowe at keyboards. Downtown at the Elbow Room"s Sunday Jazz Brunch guitarist Tom Sullivan and Duncan Putnam bass offer soft jazz sounds for the Pajama Breakfast and if you show up between 10 and 11 a.m. in pajamas those wonderful blueberry beignets are complimentary. The North United Methodist Church at 38th and Meridian will present the second annual tribute concert to the late popular bandleader Larry Liggett featuring trumpeter Lancaster Price leading the eight-piece Larry Ligget Band with musicians that play in that band. The concert is Friday, Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. Chuck Workman is the producer/host of the Sunday Morning Jazz Show on 107.9 WTPI