Rob Dixon has been a major player on Indy’s jazz scene since arriving here from New York four years ago. He graduated from IU’s School of Music, and, initially, his tenor sax sound and style was very much in the school of John Coltrane and Joe Henderson, giving him a local identity as a strong, straight-ahead player. There was a demand for his skills as a sideman in various local small groups, as well as the Steve Allee Big Band and the Buselli Wallarb Jazz Orchestra.
But Dixon is more than just a player — his composing and arranging are just as potent as his abilities on sax.
Dixon admits that he is more than one dimensional in his musical tastes. “I am first and foremost a jazz artist, but I love all those other different types of music and I wanted to incorporate them into all my original compositions.” His CD, What Things Could Be, is a showcase of 15 originals that reflect Dixon’s musical passions.
“Conceptually, the CD comes from the place where jazz is fused with gospel, R&B, hip-hop and soul because that’s what I heard in my mind. I think what actually came out of the project was a little different. It definitely is its own thing and has elements of all of those types of music.”
Some of the guest artists on the CD are vocalist Cynthia Layne, Goldie and MC Rusty of the Mudkids. Owl Studios will release What Things Could Be Saturday, June 3 at Dixon’s CD release party at the Jazz Kitchen. Shows are at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.
Rob Dixon & Triology will perform at the Indy Jazz Fest Friday, June 16 on the APA Stage.
Two-time Grammy nominated and multiplatinum selling pianist Peter Kater will play a “Cool Music for a Hot Summer Afternoon” free concert at the Glendale Branch Library, 6101 N. Keystone Ave. Sunday, June 4 at 2 p.m. Kater, who has recorded over 30 CDs over two decades covering contemporary jazz, world fusion, Native American collaborations and solo New Age, has also composed music for over 70 television and film programs.
Known for his environmental and humanitarian work, Kater was honored with the Environmental Leadership Award by the United Nations. In a phone conversation, he reveals that his interests are inclining away from playing. “Lately, I am really preferring composing and being at home in the studio because I have been traveling and doing concerts going on to 25 years. I am just all traveled out.” Kater did state that once he is on the stage he is happy.
Photographer Larry Goshen’s camera has meticulously documented the Indy jazz scene for the past two decades. Saturday, June 3 at the Wheeler Arts Building, 1035 E. Sanders St. in Historic Fountain Square, Goshen will present a one-time exhibition of his photographs of Indiana Avenue jazz legends Jimmy Coe and Alonzo “Pookie” Johnson. Goshen said, “These two Indiana Avenue musicians dedicated their lives to music, and it is our hope to keep their spirit and dedication alive.” The free exhibit will be in Studio 121 of the Wheeler Arts Building from 5 until 10 p.m. A display of the Indiana Music & Entertainment Museum will also be in the studio with live jazz by Clifford Ratliff & Friends.
• The Indianapolis Jazz Club continues its 50th anniversary celebration with a concert by Jean Kittrell & The Rivermen Sunday, June 4 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Sterett Senior Center, one block north of East 56th Street on Post Road. Admission is $20 at the door.
• The outdoor jazz venue scene is under way. Rick’s Cafe Boatyard “Jazz on the Deck” features Rob White on Saturdays and Jennifer Kirk on Sundays. They can be heard from noon to 4 p.m.
• Easley Winery, 205 N. College Ave., will present various artists performing in “Groovin’ in the Garden” Tuesdays, 5-7 p.m. and Saturdays, 2-5 p.m. May to Sept. 30 with free admission.