A great tradition of this city's jazz community is annually produced by the Indianapolis Jazz Foundation, a non-profit group whose purpose is to maintain and familiarize the populace with Indy's jazz legacy and support music students' interest in jazz. Thursday, Dec. 9, IJF will showcase some of the best of Indy's jazz artists in a fund-raising showcase at the Madame Walker Theatre Center fourth floor ballroom. Rob Dixon Quartet will perform Friday at the Jazz Kitchen.
Indianapolis Jazz Foundation President David Shanks had this to say about the event: "This is a tradition that Cathy Morris began several years ago, although it certainly has evolved into different kinds of things. I think her dream at that time was to provide an opportunity for many jazz artists, performers and talented people to give back to the community. That is the reason we have made this a benefit not only for the Indianapolis Jazz Foundation but, more importantly, for the United Christmas Service." The performers who participate in this annual fund-raiser donate their talents for free and jazz fans get an opportunity to hear musicians play or jam together who would not get a chance to do so otherwise.
This year's lineup of jazz stars are Mary Moss, the "Lady With A Song"; Monika Herzig, nationally acclaimed pianist/composer; Bill Lancton, stellar guitarist and co-leader of Dog Talk; jazz poet Carmela Thomas; Everett and Larry Greene, great balladeers; Carl Hines, top local pianist; Franklin Central High School tenor sax sensation Sophie Faught; Charlie Smith, strong contemporary jazz guitarist; and the horn groove jazz funk style of Seven Pleasures.
A major highlight of the Ninth Holiday Jazz Showcase will be the announcement of the 2004 inductees into The Indianapolis Jazz Foundation Hall of Fame. I was honored by IJF into the class of 2002. This year's inductees are Ralph Adams, WICR jazz host; Steve Allee, pianist, bandleader and composer; Claude Sifferlen, highly acclaimed innovative pianist; and the late Larry Liggett, renowned saxophonist, bandleader and Indianapolis Public Schools music educator. IJF's Shanks was asked about the criteria for being chosen for this honor: "The people that we choose for the Hall of Fame have to have real Indianapolis roots. The board comes together and determines who they think would qualify as one of the great jazz people in our town. Not only in terms of a performer but those who have contributed in so many other ways. So we look at people who have made major contributions to the art of jazz in Indianapolis.
Then the board puts together a list and this year we went out to our members and asked who they thought would be qualified as a member of the IJF's Hall of Fame. Then we combine both lists from our board and members and the results are a summation of the totals of both lists."
Doors for the Ninth Annual Holiday Jazz Showcase will open at 5 p.m. A $9 optional buffet begins at 5:30 p.m. and the Showcase begins at 6 p.m.
Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door the night of the performance and can be purchased at the Madame Walker Theater by calling 236-2099 or at the Jazz Kitchen.
Chatterbox, 435 Massachusetts Ave. Friday, vocalist Kelleen & Friends. Saturday, Mo' Funk and vocalist Goldie. 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Cover charge.
Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, 45 S. Illinois St. "Sizzling Steaks & Jazz Sunday" with Cynthia Layne & Friends, 7 to 10 p.m.
Jazz Kitchen, 54th Street and College Avenue. Friday, Rob Dixon Quartet, 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Saturday, closed for private party. Monday, Frank Glover Quartet, 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, Midcoast Swing Orchestra, 7 to 11 p.m. Cover charge.
D'Vine A Wine Bar, 86th and Keystone Avenue, Woodfield Shopping Center. Thursday, Craig Peterson, sax, and Julie Ann, vocals, 8 p.m. to midnight. Jeff Kunkle, keyboards, Dave Laskey, guitar, Dave Ellman, vocals and keyboard, 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Sullivan's Steakhouse, 3316 E. 86th St., Keystone at the Crossing. Friday, Steve Corn, piano, Joe Deal, bass. Saturday, Bill Kennaugh, piano, Steve Woerner, bass, 5 to 11 p.m. Sunday, Alki Scopelitis, piano, Fred Withrow, bass, 5 to 9 p.m.
Smokehouse Cafe, County Line Road and Meridian Street. "Sunday Jazz Brunch" with The Impulse Jazz Trio, 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, jazz for dining and dancing, saxophonist Tommy Will's Twosome, 7 to 10 p.m.
Bella Vita Restaurante, 11699 Fall Creek Road in Geist Marina. Sunday, "Jazzing Up Breakfast," Steve Weakly, guitar, and Steven Jones, keyboards, 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Chuck Workman is the producer/host of the Sunday Morning Jazz Show at 107.9 WTPI.