JAM: Jazz Appreciation Month (April)

 In Bulletin, News

Indianapolis, IN — The Jazz Kitchen (5377 North College Avenue) announces new jazz education series in celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month, April 2018. Jazz 101 will take place every Monday evening in April from 6-7pm, just before the weekly Jazz Jam Session which starts at 7pm.

Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) was created at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in 2001 to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz for the entire month of April. JAM is intended to stimulate and encourage people of all ages to participate in jazz – to study the music, attend concerts, listen to jazz on radio and recordings, read books about jazz, and more.

The weekly Jazz 101 sessions at The Jazz Kitchen will be moderated by Kyle Long. Long produces and hosts the radio show “Cultural Manifesto” on 90.1 WFYI Wednesdays at 9pm and writes regularly for NUVO Newsweekly. Cultural Manifesto explores the merging of a wide spectrum of global music with the more familiar American styles of music, such as soul, hip-hop and jazz.

Panelists will include saxophonists Rob Dixon, trumpeter Clifford Ratliff, drummer Carrington Clinton, trombonist Freddie Mendoza and pianists Steven Jones and Steve Allee. Detailed bios can be found here. There are two special birthday tributes to jazz legends with a strong Indianapolis connection that will be tied into the themes:

Monday, April 9: Jazz Jam Tribute to Freddie Hubbard

Frederick Dewayne Hubbard was born in Indianapolis on April 7, 1938, attended Arsenal Tech High School and studied at Butler University. Hubbard was an American jazz trumpeter. He was known primarily for playing in the bebop, hard bop, and post-bop styles from the early 1960s onwards. His unmistakable and influential tone contributed to new perspectives for modern jazz and bebop. Hubbard passed away on December 29, 2008.

Monday, April 23: Jazz Jam Tribute to Slide Hampton

Locksley Wellington “Slide” Hampton was born on April 21, 1932. Hampton’s parents moved he and the  family to Indianapolis in 1938. Hampton is an American jazz trombonist. Described by critics as a master composer, arranger and uniquely gifted trombone player. Hampton’s career is among the most distinguished in jazz. Hampton resides in East Orange, New Jersey.

Jazz 101 is sponsored by North Coast Brewery. North Coast Brewery has made a significant contribution to jazz in donating over $1 million from the sale of Brother Thelonious belgian strong ale to support Jazz education programs of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.


JAM (Jazz Appreciation Month) Calendar

Tuesday, April 3: Clifford Ratliff Big Band

7:00 pm | $10

Trumpeter Ratliff returns with his newest project. Much in the style of the Jimmy Coe Big Band Ratliff puts his mark of hard swingin, soulfulness on this new ensemble.

Learn More

Wednesday, April 4: The Funk Quarter

7:00 pm | $10

Imagine a New Orleans Funk party vibe. It’s all fun stuff that will get people dancing. Some new, and a lot familiar, enough to keep everyone happy. The players are all top notch – some jazz guys, some pop and blues guys. We’re having fun and that’s contagious!

Learn More

Friday, Apr 6: Sean Haefeli 

7:30 & 9:30 pm | $12

The uniquely talented, Indianapolis-born and Berlin-based vocalist/emcee/pianist, Sean Haefeli, debuted his first album in ’02. Since then, he has gained a reputation as an adept lyricist, highly skilled pianist and versatile vocalist. The author, Kalamu ya Salaam writes, “a cross between Ezra Pound in the metro and some alternative spoken word down by the Green Mill in Chicago…he takes unexpected twists and turns, puts lyrics you have to listen to at least thrice in order to decipher the deeptitudes being discussed. Sometimes it swings, sometimes it grooves but there is always something emotionally moving going on.”

Sean’s music calls to mind the work of contemporaries such as Jose James or Robert Glasper. However, with his distinctive skill set and compositional flare, he inhabits a space all his own.

Learn More

Saturday, April 7: The Jazz Kitchen’s 24th Anniversary with Steve Allee Big Band 

7:30 & 9:30 pm | $15

Back again to celebrate the anniversary of The Jazz Kitchen, The Steve Allee Big Band represents the finest in big band jazz in Indianapolis. Great swinging’ originals and inventive composing are the hallmarks of this time tested big band that has been at work since the 70’s.

Pianist, composer and arranger Steve Allee is a veteran of more than 35 years on the music scene, working principally in jazz, writing and performing for syndicated radio programs, network television and motion pictures, and as a music educator.

All of his career facets have blended into a distinct musical style that has a very strong visual, almost cinematic flavor because of his skill in capturing or reinforcing important moods or visual elements that inspire his projects.

Steve has released ten+ CDs as a leader, the two most recent being his trio recordings, Dragonfly (June 2008) and Colors (April 2007) are artful collaborations with bassist Bill Moring and drummer Tim Horner. Saxophonists Rich Perry and Rob Dixon appear on select tracks. In his liner notes for Dragonfly, jazz journalist Ken Franckling noted that “From start to finish,Dragonfly makes it clear that this is a band in which each of the players finds their interaction to be exhilarating…. this trio is all about making the most of the journey – as the best jazz should.”

A native son and longtime resident of Indianapolis, Indiana, Steve was fortunate to grow up in the hometown of many jazz greats, including brothers Wes, Buddy and Monk Montgomery, Slide Hampton, J.J. Johnson, David Baker, Freddie Hubbard and Melvin Rhyne, among others.

His playing style has a touch, sparkling clarity and improvisational variations reminiscent of the late Bill Evans, as well as a very strong blues influence that Steve credits to his exposure to Buddy Montgomery and Horace Silver.

Learn More

Sun, April 8: Alfredo Rodriguez

7:00 pm | $25-35

Grammy® nominated artist, Alfredo Rodríguez reflects the talents of legendary jazz pianists Keith Jarrett, Thelonious Monk, and Art Tatum. Schooled in the rigorous classical conservatories of Havana, Rodríguez’s riveting artistry is informed as much by Bach and Stravinsky as it is by his Cuban and jazz roots. Discovered at the 2006 Montreux Jazz Festival by Quincy Jones, Cuban-born Alfredo Rodríguez has distinguished himself as the definition of jazz and improvisation without boundaries. He is the man behind the piano with fingers that seem to travel from one end of the world to the other, just within the span of the keys; his mastery of the art has earned him frequent appearances on prestigious stages around the world such as the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl, Montreux Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Jazz in Marciac, Umbria Jazz and Jazz A Vienne. Additionally, Rodríguez was nominated for a 2015 Grammy® in the category of “Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella,” for the track “Guantanamera,” from his 2014 release, The Invasion Parade.

Learn More

Tuesday, April 10: Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra

7:00 pm | $15

The nationally-recognized Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra (IJO) is Indiana’s premier professional repertory large jazz ensemble as well as being the state’s official ambassadors of big band jazz. Composed of the leading professional instrumentalists and vocalists from the Central Indiana area, the IJO was created to preserve and advance the entire dynamic history of the big band. Patterned after popular bands, both past and present, the IJO is committed to performing world-class musical arrangements based on classic tunes from the Great American Songbook. In addition to performing the best of the traditional big band repertoire, the IJO also features outstanding new arrangements and compositions.

Learn More

Wednesday, April 11: Lionel Loueke

7:00 & 9:00 pm | $20-30

Lionel Loueke picked up the guitar late at age 17. After his initial to exposure to jazz in Benin, he left to attend the National Institute of Art in Ivory Coast. In 1994 he left Africa to pursue jazz studies at the American School of Modern Music in Paris then came to the U.S. on a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music where he first encountered his future trio mates Massimo Biolcati and Ferenc Nemeth. After graduating Loueke was accepted to the Thelonious Monk Institute where he was able to study with his most significant mentors: Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Terence Blanchard.

Praised by Hancock as “a musical painter,” Loueke combines harmonic complexity, soaring melody, a deep knowledge of African folk forms, and conventional and extended guitar techniques to create a warm and evocative sound of his own. His Blue Note debut Karibu (2008) featured guest appearances from Hancock and Shorter with his trio and was met with wide acclaim. Mwaliko (2010) offered a series of intimate duets with Angelique Kidjo, Richard Bona, Esperanza Spalding and Marcus Gilmore. Heritage (2012) was co-produced by label mate Robert Glasper and found Loueke exploring a more electric sound with a new trio featuring Derrick Hodge on electric bass and Mark Guiliana on drums. His latest CD GAIA was recorded live in the studio with Bassist Massimo Biolcati & Drummer Ferenc Nemeth and produced by Blue Note President & Grammy winning producer Don Was.

In addition to albums with his collective trio Gilfema with Biolcati and Nemeth, Loueke has appeared on recordings by Hancock, Blanchard, Jack DeJohnette, Charlie Haden, Kenny Barron, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and Joe Lovano, as well as contemporaries including Spalding, Gretchen Parlato, Kendrick Scott and others. He continues to tour the world with his own trio as well as with Hancock and is a member of Blue Note’s 75th anniversary all-star band with Glasper, Hodge, Scott, Ambrose Akinmusire and Marcus Strickland.

Learn More

Friday, April 13: The Baylor Project

7:30 & 9:30 pm | $20-30

The Baylor Project featuring Jean Baylor and Marcus Baylor highly anticipated collaboration is steeped in the heart and soul of Jazz. As the children of Pastors, Marcus and Jean’s musical roots were planted deep within the church, and it was there that the road was paved for the influence of gospel, blues, soul, and jazz to make it’s mark. Their debut CD “The Journey”, released on their own label, Be A Light, topped the Billboard Jazz Chart at Number 8 and a year later garnered 2 GRAMMY® Nominations for BEST JAZZ VOCAL ALBUM and BEST TRADITIONAL R&B PERFORMANCE, solidifying The Baylor Project as an undeniable force. As you listen to “The Baylor Project,” you will be taken on an eclectic musical journey that showcases as much versatility as it does virtuosity.

Jean, a “Jersey Girl”, was introduced to jazz in college as a Vocal Performance Major at Temple University, where she was heavily influenced by artists such as Carmen McCrae, Jimmy Scott, and Shirley Horn. She subsequently made her mark as one-half of the platinum recording duo, “Zhane´”. In addition to continued development of her craft, Jean has expanded into composing, arranging, producing, and band leading. She has been a featured guest artist in performances and recordings with Yellowjackets, Kenny Garrett, Marcus Miller and legendary bassist, Buster Williams. Well-equipped with an agile mezzo-soprano range, Jean combines a fresh, whimsical approach to phrasing with clever improvisation resulting in singing of such vocal purity that she embraces the soul.

Learn More

Saturday, April 14: Charlie Ballantine – Life is Brief CD Release Party

7:30 & 9:30 pm | $15-25

Acclaimed Indianapolis guitarist, Charlie Ballantine, releases ‘Life Is Brief’ his widely anticipated tribute to Bob Dylan. The album is a compilation of primarily instrumental renditions of Dylan songs including “Masters Of War”, “The Times They Are A-Changing”, “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright”, and many others. Sharing the stage with Ballantine is an amazing lineup of musicians including Jesse Wittman, Amanda Gardier, Chris Parker, Rob Dixon, and several special guests.

Charlie holds a degree in jazz studies from Indiana University where he studied under Corey Christiansen, David Baker, and many others. His music stems from the traditions of folk, jazz, and blues music with influences such as Bill Frisell, John Scofield, Wes Montgomery, and Jimi Hendrix.

Learn More 

Sunday, April 15: Jim Edison Big Band Reunion

2:00 pm | $15

Come by and remember the sounds of the Jim Edison Big Band book. Jim passed a few years back but was a major force on the Indianapolis music scene cultivating generations of musicians and keeping Indianapolis a leader in the jazz world. This 17pc band will be led by trumpeter Mike White.

Learn More

Sunday, April 15: Gail Payne – April in Paris + Ses Amis

7:00 pm | $20

After performing in St. Louis, Chicago, The Cabaret in Indy, and making her New York City debut at Feinstein’s 54 Below last year, Gail Payne, with David Duncan on piano, bring Montmartre to The Jazz Kitchen with songs inspired by French composers, standards you know and love, sprinkled with clever selections with a French twist.

Learn More

Tuesday, April 17: Cool City Jazz Band

7:00 pm | $10

Viva Las Vegas! Come join us every third Tuesday at the Jazz Kitchen for an exciting evening of music, dance, and great food and drink. The Cool City Band kicks it up with dance favorites from Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Ray Charles, Etta James, Voodoo Daddy, Michael Buble, and many others. Bring your dancing shoes and be prepared to dance the night away!

Learn More

Wednesday, April 18: Avenue Indy Jazz Quintet

7:00 pm | $10

Avenue Indy is an engaging, fun, and sometimes quirky jazz quintet that draws musical inspiration for their arrangements from a wide variety of sources. Delivering a wide variety of short selections rather than extended tunes/soloing, co-leaders Jeff Conrad (trumpet/flugelhorn) and Rich Cohen (alto/tenor sax) blend together to make a strong front line supported by some of Indiana’s best rhythm sections.

Indianapolis has an historic tradition as a jazz mecca. Indiana Avenue was the center of the jazz nightlife and home to many, many jazz clubs. Indianapolis jazz greats such as Wes Montgomery, Freddie Hubbard, JJ Johnson, Jimmie Coe, Pookie Johnson, the Hampton’s and Russell Webster cut their teeth and developed their individual jazz voices in clubs such as Sunset on the Avenue, Henri’s, George’s Bar, The Cotton Club, and Al’s British Lounge. It is with a bow of appreciation to these jazz explorers and the history of Indianapolis as a jazz destination that Avenue Indy presents our own versions of great melodies in a jazz vibe. Whether the source music comes from jazz standards, the Great American Songbook, classical melodies, or country tunes, we spin the music our way to be fun, engaging, and interesting for our listeners.

Learn More

Friday, April 20: Chris Potter Quartet 

7:30 & 9:30 pm | $25-35

A world-class soloist, accomplished composer, and formidable bandleader, Grammy Award nominated saxophonist Chris Potter has emerged as a leading light of his generation. Potter’s music showcases limitless creativity and a vibrant sense of swing, prompting critics, musicians, and fans alike to cite him as the one of the finest saxophonists today. The New Yorker calls Potter, “A tenorist who can remind you of Joe Henderson at his craftiest, he employs his considerable technique in the service of music rather than spectacle.” Throughout his career, Potter has performed and recorded with artists as diverse as Steely Dan and Herbie Hancock, and has toured the world over with the Dave Holland Quintet, the Overtone Quartet, AZIZA, and the jazz-funk group, Chris Potter’s Underground. The Dreamer is the Dream, by the Chris Potter Quartet, is the current chapter in Potter’s storied career.

Learn More

Saturday, April 21: Nicole Henry

7:30 & 9:30 pm | $20

Since her debut in 2004, Nicole Henry has established herself as one of the jazz world’s most acclaimed vocalists. Ms. Henry possesses a potent combination of dynamic vocal abilities, impeccable phrasing, and powerful emotional resonance. Her repertoire includes the American Songbook, classic and contemporary jazz titles, contemporary’ standards, blues, and originals; while her accompaniment ranges from a simple jazz trio to a full big band.

Growing up in a musical family in Bucks County, PA, Ms. Henry immersed herself in the arts early on, singing in school and church, and studying cello and ballet. After graduating from the University of Miami with a degree in Communications and Theatre, she launched a successful acting career, appearing in commercial roles as well as a series of voiceover assignments. However, she directed her strongest passion toward the development of her full-time singing career which was quickly rewarded in her present hometown, when the Miami New Times named Nicole “Best Solo Musician 2002.

Learn More

Sunday, April 22: Americana Sunday – The Women Take Charge

6:00 pm | $10

The Jazz Kitchen and award-winning songwriter Frank Dean presents Americana Sunday.

This month, The Women Take Charge! Featuring Jenn Christy, Cari Ray, Angie White, Meghan Martin for an evening of fun singer/songwriter music.

Learn More

Tuesday, April 24: Prime Vintage featuring Joel Tucker, Steve Snyder, Kenny Phelps & Sophie Faught

7:00 pm | $10

A brand new guitar & B3 organ charged outfit. Features guitarist Joel Tucker + Steve Snyder on B3, Sophie Faught on sax & Kenny Phelps on drums.

Learn More

Wednesday, April 25: Ball State Jazz Faculty Ensemble

7:00 pm | $10

An All-Star ensemble featuring the faculty of Ball State University. Expect to hear a bit of everything including straight-ahead jazz, funk, salsa and ECM.

Mark Buselli – trumpet

Freddie Mendoza – trombone

Nathan Bogert – saxes

Scott Routenberg – piano

Joel Tucker – guitar

Nick Tucker – bass

Cassius Goens – drums

Learn More

Friday, April 27 & Saturday, April 28: Walter Beasley

7:30 & 10:00 pm | $40-50

Over the past two decades, saxophonist Walter Beasley has artfully and dynamically redefined the phrase “musical Renaissance Man” for the modern generation. Considered by fans and critics alike as “the heir to Grover Washington Jr.’s throne,” the Boston-based musician has long mastered an exhilarating high wire act of balancing a successful career as a contemporary jazz recording artist (the highest selling full-time professor/recording artist in modern history) and performer with an equally thriving presence in the field of music education.


One of the top five best-selling African-American saxophonists in the world since the late 90’s, Beasley— while establishing himself as a regular presence on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart–has performed over the years with contemporary jazz and R&B icons Brian McKnight, Gerald Albright, Ronnie Laws, Kirk Whalum, Bob James, Norman Brown, George Howard, art Porter, Stephanie Mills, Vanessa Williams and Rachelle Ferrell. He has also opened concerts for traditional jazz legends Art Blakey and Dexter Gordon.

Learn More

Sunday, April 29: Davina & The Vagabonds

6:30 pm | $20-30

Davina and The Vagabonds have created a stir on the national music scene with their high-energy live shows, level A musicianship, sharp-dressed professionalism, and Sowers’ commanding stage presence. With influences ranging from Fats Domino and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to Aretha Franklin and Tom Waits, the band is converting audiences one show at a time, from Vancouver to Miami and across Europe. In 2011 Davina released her first full length, all original album Black Cloud . It was named one of the 10 best releases of the year by the Minneapolis Star & Tribune and awarded 4 ½ stars from Downbeat Magazine. Their next release in 2014, Sunshine, hit number 13 in the Billboard Blues Chart and led them to landing a performance on the hit BBC2 show, Later with Jools Holland.

DATV’s shows are filled with New Orleans charm, Memphis soul swagger, dark theatrical moments that evoke Kurt Weill, and tender gospel passages. Davina’s voice and stage presence defy category in a different way. Davina has been compared to Etta James, Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin, Billie Holiday and Betty Boop, but comparisons don’t suffice: Sowers is a true original.

Bringing you 100 years of American music and Davina’s originals, which lend themselves to the American Songbook, the band brings edgy nostalgia to older generations and fresh new music to younger ears. This rollicking quintet is held together by Sowers’ keyboard playing, with acoustic bass, drums, and a spicy trumpet and trombone horn section. The group’s focused, clean sound and emphasis on acoustic instruments is novel to both blues and jazz worlds, and sets the show closer to New Orleans than to Chicago. This has set the Vagabonds apart at festivals in Thunder Bay, Ontario; Sighisoara, Romania; Sierre, Switzerland; Kemi, Finland; the 2012 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and 2013 Monterey Jazz Festival ( in 2014 was asked back to play their main stage in 2014, Vache de Blues in France, and North Sea Jazz Festival. Catch this one-of-a-kind live show while they are in town!

Learn More


8:00 pm, $10 (Ladies in free until 10pm)

The Jazz Kitchen celebrates 22 years as Indianapolis’ original Latin Dance Party. The Jazz Kitchen is open for dinner from 5-10pm and offers a free dance lesson at 8:30pm. Latin Night at The Jazz Kitchen features three of Indy’s best Latin DJs playing a mix of salsa, bachata, merengue and reggaeton. The night includes featured Latin Cocktails, $5 Sangria and $10 off paella for 2. Paella is a Jazz Kitchen specialty with a delicate blend of shrimp, tilapia fish, scallops, mussels, calamari, andouille sausage and chicken in a savory saffron rice.

Learn More

Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search