Hurricane Katrina's impact cut deep into the essence of what New Orleans and the Delta means to this nation: jazz. In conjunction with musicians all over the country, Indianapolis Musicians Local 3 of the American Federation of Musicians will undertake a fund-raising drive that will include "Party Gras" on Sunday, Feb. 12, a dinner-dance at the Ritz Charles, 12156 N. Meridian St., from 4 to 7 p.m. Because numerous musicians in New Orleans, Biloxi and Jackson, Miss., not only lost jobs but also lost their instruments, Central Indiana musicians are now raising funds and seeking donations of playable musical instruments to help these artists get back on their feet.
Veteran Indy jazz trumpeter/band leader Tommy Mullinix, who is on the "Party Gras" program, has played with Delta musicians throughout his career. "They lost thousands of horns, drums and guitars in the flood. We have got to do this because of the history of New Orleans and those people down there. We can't let this die." Patrons who purchase the $100 per person tickets for the event will be entertained by the Cool Chilies, Everett Greene and Marvin Chandler, The Al Cobine Band, Cathy Morris and members of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.
Instruments may be dropped off at AFM Local 3 office, 325 N. Delaware St., in Indianapolis or arrangements can be made by calling 317-636-3595. Cash contributions will be matched by the national AFM's Gulf Coast Relief Fund. Checks should be made payable to the fund. A portion of the donations raised from this effort will go towards Local 3's own Destitute Member Fund. All donations to the effort, whether cash or in kind, are deductible.
I will serve as the evening's MC and I hope that you are able to participate.
Here are some Valentine's Day offerings of romantic jazz sounds that may fit your occasion.
* The Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra will present "Stairway to the Stars," a Valentine's Day concert at the Indiana History Center. See our Cover Story for more information.
* The Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra plays its Valentine's Day dance and concert in the Ballroom of the Scottish Rite Performing Arts Center, 650 N. Meridian St., at 7:30 p.m. Advance tickets are $20, $10 for students. A full dinner package is available for an extra charge. Call 317-262-3120, www.indyjazz.org or email@example.com.
* Rick's Cafe Boatyard has two bands and dining. On the upper level, Convergence will play from 6 to 10 p.m. Downstairs at the bar, Rob White's group will play from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. A special Valentine's $49.95 dinner package for two is offered on both levels: cranberry glazed boneless pork loin, baked apples, vegetable couscous, asparagus and dessert. Reservations are suggested, call 317-290-9300.
* Speedway United Methodist Church at 5065 W. 16th St. will have a UMM Dinner & Dance in the Fellowship Hall Sunday, Feb. 12 featuring Mary Moss, Bill Lancton, Alan Burke and Russell Taylor. Dinner starts at 5 p.m. with dancing from 6:15 to 8:30 p.m.; for tickets and info call 317-241-1563.
* The Carl Hines Quintet will play a free concert Friday, Feb. 10 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of the United Methodist Church at 3803 N. Meridian St.
* Pike Performing Arts Center, 6701 Zionsville Road, presents "An Evening of Sinatra & Basie" Saturday, Feb. 11 featuring Joe Girard and the Stardusters Jazz Orchestra. Tickets are $13 and $18; call 317-216-5455.