At this time of year, I pause and think what I'd like to have the big man in the red velvet threads lay down for jazz aficionados in the Circle City. So this is my Yuletime list.
1. With all of the new, trendy, sophisticated restaurants popping up downtown, it would be pretty cool to have some equally urban jazz being performed in those venues, giving this city's vast amount of jazz musicians and vocalists a chance to add to the ambience of the patrons' dining experience. After all, we are a city known for jazz, with a renowned jazz festival based on our rich jazz tradition. This should be on display for all visitors and residents to enjoy downtown on a regular basis.
2. Will someone please record a neglected treasure in this city: jazz pianist Earmond Hubbard? Yes, he is Freddie Hubbard's older brother. I caught him last month at the Chatterbox blazing away with another local treasure, trumpeter Clifford Ratliff's Quintet featuring the return home of saxophonist Hank Hankerson. Earmond Hubbard is an original. He plays and sounds like no one else. He unleashes so much energy and passion after years of practicing and playing alone in his home and being in the shadow of his legendary brother. That night at the Chatterbox, he did a solo feature on the Matt Dennis ballad "Angel Eyes" that completely mesmerized the room, with brilliant runs injecting wry humor and soft definition. It was a tour de force performance. Not only should Hubbard be recorded, the same goes for Ratliff's Quintet - this group should be heard by jazz fans at venues all over town.
3. How about bringing Indy's two jazz organizations a substantial amount of new members? The Indianapolis Jazz Foundation follows the modern jazz tradition and emphasizes jazz education in the public schools. It is also known for its prestigious annual Jazz Hall of Fame awards. The Indianapolis Jazz Club is one of the oldest in the nation. Their emphasis is on traditional jazz before 1950. They produce traditional jazz concerts at various venues, bringing in big-name traditional jazz bands.
For you, the man with the big bag, that's my list for Indy's jazz scene; I hope Yule make it a happening.
* The Jazz Kitchen will hold its Holiday Jam Part 2 Wednesday, Dec. 21 from 7 to 11 p.m. Admission is $5. Rob Dixon & Triology will serve as the core band for a variety of local jazz artists sitting in.
* Popular saxophonist Gregg Bacon & Friends can now be heard every Thursday at Cibo's (formerly Vizion) on the mezzanine from 7 to 11 p.m.
* Cynthia Layne's fiery vocals and band can be heard on Thursdays at the Red Room in Broad Ripple from 9 p.m. to midnight.
* Davis and Devitt perform a free concert Thursday, Dec. 22 from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. in the Artsgarden.
* Dave Hepler, solo jazz pianist, plays a free concert Tuesday, Dec. 27 from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. in the Artsgarden.