Steve Allee Big Band plays the Jazz Kitchen Saturday, Nov. 19 with shows at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.
Last month, a loving tribute was held in the ballroom of the Madame Walker Theatre Center to honor Russell Webster, a brilliant saxophonist and composer, for his career contributions to jazz.
Webster was a postman who, while still delivering the mail, delivered his passion for jazz. He is Indy's legendary "Whistling Postman." But at night Webster's saxophone was blowing both hot and sweet sounds all over this city.
A prolific person at many local jazz events, Bam Miller captures the essence of the musicians playing in charcoal sketches and the written word. With Miller's permission, this is part of her "Ode to a Whistling Postman Russell Webster":
He whistles ... as he's walkin' along ... yes he whistles ... a tune or a song ... He made in his head ... Or one he knows instead ... A whistlin' and a walkin' along ... He's blowin' ... On his horn real sweet ... and his blowin' is makin' you move your feet ... He's moving the mail with a way out wail ... A whistlin' and a-walkin' along ... Ballads ... Ballads ... He knows 'em ... bebop ... bebop ... He blows 'em ... Mister mellow he can be with his far out hip ... philosophy.
CD of the week
The Great Jazz Trio
This is the third recording of The Great Jazz Trio in three decades, with its anchor being jazz elder statesman and pianist Hank Jones. Jones, like good wine, gets better with age. This time, he has a new rhythm section with him in John Patitucci, bass, and Jack DeJohnette, drums. The threesome handle a combination of standards and jazz classics with surefootedness. Jones' piano shows grace and lyricism on the ballad "I Surrender Dear," then he uncorks a gutsy blues ride on "Night Train." Patitucci and DeJohnette are the perfect foils for his musical excursions, listening but standing tall when they step up to solo. Patitucci really shows monster chops on "Lover Come Back to Me" and DeJohnette is a lesson in dynamics and tonality on drums.
Highlight of the set: Jones' flowing, blues-tinged rendition of "Greensleeves" is understated lyricism at its best.
Rating: 4 Stars
This is a modern jazz trio performing at a peak level of execution led by an elegant pianist in veteran Hank Jones.
* The Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra will play a USO dance Thursday, Nov. 18 at the Indiana State Museum's Legacy Theatre from 7 to 10 p.m. For tickets call 317-232-1637.
* D'Vine A Wine Bar, 2727 E. 86th St., will feature Convergence on Friday, Nov. 18. Saturday, Nov. 19, X-Factor performs smooth and urban jazz. Music both nights runs 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
* Tommy Wills "Man With a Horn" tenor sax can now be heard Tuesdays at the Tip Top Grill, 1400 N. Capitol Ave., from 8 to 11 p.m.
* The Uptown Quartet will play The Rathskeller, downstairs in the Athenaeum building, 401 E. Michigan St., Thursday, Nov. 17 from 7 to 10 p.m.