Well, you may have already read this news in the Star (darn you Jay Harvey and your scoops!) or on the Indy Jazz Fest's updated site, but we'll still pass along the lineup for the week-long Indy Jazz Fest, which falls Sept. 13-18, features weekday events at The Jazz Kitchen and Madame Walker Theater and culminates with an outdoor show Sept. 18 at the Opti-Park in Broad Ripple.
Vocalist Al Jarreau, recovered after being hospitalized last month in France, his career revived last decade with a move towards a more substantial jazz and R&B repertoire, performs 7 p.m. at the Opti-Park.
Followed at 8 p.m. by smooth jazz saxophonist and flutist Najee, a disappointing choice to end the fest if ever there was one. Najee can record serious soul jazz when he gets the druthers, but he doesn't often get the druthers, and usually ends up providing a fresh record for stations still playing the "Quiet Storm" format. It's too bad, because in an era when the kids in this town are listening to — and showing up for shows by — crossover soul/R&B acts like Sharon Jones and Black Joe Lewis, one doesn't need to appeal to a wider audience by booking MOR-style, smooth jazz. Maybe this show isn't for the kids, but, then again, who is listening to smooth jazz anymore?
Also on the bill for Saturday: Guitarist Mike Stern (5:15 p.m.), who spent time backing Miles Davis and Jaco Pastorius, and continues to carry the flag of fusion by, say, working in African and Latin idioms, and collaborating with acts like Medeski, Martin and Wood; the Charmaine Neville Band (3:45 p.m.), a New Orleans-based group fronted by a lesser-known but equally-talented Neville sibling; an Owl Studios All-Star showcase (2 p.m.) featuring local talent and at least one out-of-towner on the label (drummer Mike Clark); and a high school jazz showcase (12 p.m.)
Now to the rest of the week. Dee Dee Bridgewater has been paying tribute to Billie Holiday since mounting a one-woman Broadway show in the late '80s, and she'll perform Holiday's music at the Madame Walker Theater Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. Of course, it's way more than a tribute act when essayed by someone with the talent of Bridgewater. Expect some significant reinventions, other respectful recreations ("God Bless the Child" remains mostly intact on Bridgewater's 2010 album, Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie With Love From Dee Dee).
And we get more New Orleans-style jazz with a visit from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to the Jazz Kitchen Sept. 14 at 9:30 p.m.
The week sees another tribute to a game-changing female vocalist, Nina Simone, staged by her daughter who performs under the stage name Simone (Sept. 15 at The Jazz Kitchen). And soul vocalist and guitarist Raul Midon will visit The Jazz Kitchen Sept. 13.
Check out the link at the top of this piece for ticket details and any updates.