Keeping a jazz orchestra together and performing around the world for over a decade are not easy tasks. Founder and leader Sherrie Maricle of Diva has accomplished all of that — along with being Diva’s drummer. The awards, honors and praise heaped upon Diva have been numerous by both fans and critics, but Diva now faces a major change in its original goal of a large jazz ensemble of women. -Sherrie Maricle and Diva will perform in West Lafayette at Purdue’s Loeb Playhouse on Friday night.- NUVO: You have gone on record as saying that Diva is changing its focus. Is that because there’s a shortage of women instrumentalists playing jazz?
Maricle: I think mostly that in our experience of 10 years that there is definitely a shortage of women players that are qualified and capable and have the talent of working in this band. It’s not that there aren’t great players coming through the ranks. The musicians of Diva have to be phenomenal sight readers, [work with] a great ensemble and section players and hopefully can play great solos, too.
NUVO: Have you already started integrating men into the ranks of Diva?
Maricle: Yes, we actually have. One of our tenor saxophone player’s brother is a brilliant trumpet player … one of the best I have ever heard, and he has played in some performances with us. Diva is a high-impact jazz orchestra that is an explosive powerhouse of precision sound with awesome soloists, propelled by Maricle’s swinging drums. You can check them out Friday, Jan. 23 in West Lafayette at Purdue’s Loeb Playhouse at 8 p.m. For ticket information, call the box office at 765-494-3933 or (800) 914-SHOW. Tickets are also available at Ticketmaster: 239-5151.
Jazz happeningsDowntown The Chatterbox, 435 Mass. Ave., will bring back drummer Kevin Kouts Group featuring guitarist Paul Holdman on Friday, Jan. 23. Pianist/vocalist/composer Jeff DeHerdt’s Quartet will perform original compositions from his forthcoming CD Saturday, Jan. 24. Music both nights runs 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. with a cover charge.
Jazz on the Avenue, 617 Indiana Ave. in the fourth floor ballroom of the Madame Walker Theatre Center, will present vocalist James Bell on Friday, Jan. 23, performing 6 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $7 with an optional buffet dinner available. Reservations: 236-2099.
Circle City Bar & Grille, 350 W. Maryland St. in the Marriott Downtown, has Hook Up playing Wine Wednesday Jan. 21 from 5 to 8 p.m. Betheny Dunlap & Neapolitan are on the bandstand Friday, Jan. 23 followed by Hook Up returning Saturday, Jan. 24.
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, 45 S. Illinois St., features the fluid tenor sax sound of The Rob Dixon Quartet for its “Sizzling Steaks & Jazz Sunday” Jan. 25 performing 7 to 10 p.m.
The Jazz Kitchen, 54th Street and College Avenue, brings in the new fusion compact big band sounds of jazz, funk, soul and hip-bop grooves of Seven Pleasures, featuring new tunes from their forthcoming CD Friday, Jan. 23. Jazz bassoonist Michael Rabinowitz will make his Indy debut, featuring Mark Buselli’s trumpet, on Saturday, Jan. 24. Shows both nights are at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, 96th and Keystone Avenue, brings in The Bluenote Trio for “Sizzling Steaks & Jazz Wednesday” Jan. 21 playing 7 to 10 p.m.
Sullivan’s Steakhouse, 3316 E. 86th St. Keystone at the Crossing, will present the hot jazz sounds of Claude Sifferlen, piano, Joe Deal, bass, and Kevin Johnson, drums, Friday, Jan. 23, playing 5:30 to 11 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 24 playing 5:30 to 11:30 p.m.
Sangiovese Restaurant, 4110 E. 82nd St., each week has the marvelous voice of Brenda Williams backed up by David Meeks’ piano and Frank Smith on Wednesdays and Shannon Forsell with Ray Larman’s piano on Thursdays. On Fridays, David Meek plays solo piano and sings.
Rick’s Cafe Boatyard, 4050 Dandy Trail, has jazz/pop vocalist Tim Brickley Fridays and Sundays; Monica Herzig plays Saturdays. Bassist Jennifer Kirk’s Quartet plays Mondays. Sax groove master Greg Bacon returns Tuesday, Jan. 27. Music times each night run 7:30 to 11:30 p.m.
Chuck Workman is the producer/host of the Sunday Morning Jazz Show at 107.9 WTPI.