Last Thursday, the American Pianists Association announced a comprehensive lineup for the 2005 Indy Jazz Fest presented by Kroger. Fans will note some changes in stage setups at the Military Park site for the June 17-19 run. Two stages will be operating within the park. Of particular interest is the timing of the acts; none will conflict due to staggered start and end times so fans can see and hear all performances to completion. Friday
Appropriately, the Indy Jazz Legends will open on the Jazz Central Stage followed by Orquestra Bravo and Tad Robinson's Blues. The newly named Criminal Justice Institute Stage opens with the outstanding Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra, then it's APA Cole Porter Fellow Adam Birnbaum's Trio and, next, the world renowned Manhattan Transfer.
On the Jazz Central Stage, trombone giant Slide Hampton returns home followed by The Bad Plus Trio and Brenda Williams' dynamic vocals. The Criminal Justice Institute Stage opens with KWYJIBO, followed by the popular Susan Tedeschi, followed by smooth jazz stars Chris Botti & David Sanborn Group and the R&B icons The Commodores.
The Jazz Central Stage features The Cool Chilies, followed by B-3 organ master The Joey DeFrancesco Trio, and Steve Allee. The Criminal Justice Institute Stage opens with vibist Gary Burton's Generations followed by blues vocalist Mavis Staples and closes with the legendary Tony Bennett.
Festival hours on Friday are from 5 to 10:30 p.m.; Saturday hours 2 to 11 p.m.; and Sunday hours 2 to 9 p.m.
This year puts great emphasis on the festival as a family gathering site. Surrounding the Jazz Central Stage is the Bank One Jazz Village that hosts educational and other activities, such as Neighborhood Row with a focus on activities for children under 14. Included in the Village are free Anthem health screenings for the whole family. New to the festival in the Village will be some of the city's skillful local artisans to display and sell their artwork. The festival's reputation for dining delights will continue with an exceptional variety of foods.
Tickets are now on sale: A three-day pass is $45 and will not be available when the festival opens. Tickets are $20 per day in advance and $30 day of show and can be purchased at any Ticketmaster outlet. Tickets are also available online at www.ticketmaster.com and www.murat.com or by phone at 317-239-5151. Children under the age of 14 are admitted free when accompanied by a ticket-holding adult.
Cool City Swing Band CD
A testament to Ellington's "It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing" is the stamp of the seven-piece Cool City Swing Band, directed by pianist/leader Roy Geesa. The band is now 6 years old, according to Geesa, and has worked primarily for corporate and private functions. But since adding vocalist Shannon Forsell, the band has performed more in public. They have recorded their first CD, I Love Being Here With You, with American Cabaret Theater stagemates Forsell and Jimmy Guilford handling the vocals.
"The one group of tunes people can expect to hear is some swing music or some nice easy listening jazz. That's the one thing that seems to be most universal. It's the one true American artform," Geesa stated.
Cool City's I Love Being Here With You CD is right on the money with this release. Not only does it swing, it is satisfying and soothingly fun with the band's tight, crisp and sparkling arrangements and energetic vocals from Forsell and Guilford. Forsell sings on 10 of the 16 tracks; she is especially impressive on the ballads. Guilford's five decades of performing come through on his polished vocal renderings of ballads and humor on his four tracks. Both singers come up with a humorous duet on "Shoo Be Do Be." The CD's one instrumental salutes the television theme song from American Bandstand.
Friday, April 22 is the CD release party at the Fountain Square Theater from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m.
Frank & Joe Show
Guitarist Frank Vignola and master percussionist Joe Ascione have a captivating new sound that is rapidly building a following on the East Coast. The six-piece New York band of three guitars and three percussionists mix the gypsy swing of Django Reinhardt, Latin grooves and '70s funk with unique jazz improv into an exciting blend. Their latest CD, 66 2/3, will be released nationally May 10 on Hyena Records. Vignola gave NUVO this interview about the group from his home in New York.
NUVO: How would you describe your distinctive blend of music?
Vignola: Just by accident we kind of stumbled into it. I have learned more in the past two years of us playing together by exploring different kinds of rhythms and odd time signature grooves, so we kind of put that into what we do.
NUVO: Do you find that the playing tradition of jazz is becoming obsolete for today's younger musicians?
Vignola: Jazz is broken into many different categories. I think having respect for playing the melodies has kind of gone down in the world of jazz. People having respect for the melody and playing the melody, it's interesting to experiment with hip-hop grooves and improvising over it, I don't really consider that jazz. Jazz to me is that classic era of swing and bebop, which was really a dance music.
The Frank & Joe Show will kick off its national tour Wednesday, April 22 at Radio Radio, 1119 Prospect St., at 8 p.m.
BWJO plays Cole Porter
The Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra will wind up its fourth concert season with "Anything Goes: The Music of Cole Porter" Sunday, April 24, at the Indiana Historical Society Theater. Vocalists Everett Greene and Cynthia Layne will perform the timeless Porter lyrics with special arrangements from the pen of co-leader and Artistic Director Brent Wallarab. Performances are a 2 p.m. matinee and a 7 p.m. evening concert. A short pre-concert lecture will be offered by Wallarab at 6:15 p.m. Ticket prices for the matinee are $15 adults and $10 students and seniors. The evening concert prices are $20 adults and $15 students and seniors. To order call the BWJO Ticket Line at 317-464-5388
Prevent Blindness Indiana musical
Singer/entertainer Jimmy Guilford, who has glaucoma, will host a unique cabaret-style show titled "Here's Looking at You" Sunday, April 24, at the Meridian Hills Country Club from 2 to 4 p.m. Featured performers are Shannon Forsell, Bob Motz, Kelleen, The Counts and The Roy Geesa Quartet. Proceeds from this event will go to purchase sight-saving items for children. Tickets can be reserved by calling 317-955-9580, ext. 26 or e-mail email@example.com.