- Part of last year's Jazz Fest line up, George Benson.
The warm, dark interior of the Rhythm! Discovery Center and the quick, quiet jazz of pianist David Linard, bassist Nick Tucker, and drummer Greg Artry, set an apt nightclub ambiance for the July 19 public announcement of the 2012 Indy Jazz Fest line up.
A theme for this year's fest, the 14th, could be "Jazz: a gateway to Indy."
"Jazz provided me with an opening to the city when I moved here," Deputy Mayor Michael Huber said at the late-morning event, adding that Indy's jazz heritage is "an important vehicle for connecting people to Indianapolis."
Accordingly, the seven-day event, which runs Sept. 10–16, will spotlight homegrown talent, from the legendary Slide Hampton to piano great Steve Allee, and feature unique Indy venues, during the week, including the Indiana Landmarks Center, the Jazz Kitchen and The Cabaret at the Columbia Club.
Acts beyond the heartland will include West Coast Cool featuring vocalists Mark Winkler and Cheryl Bentyne (Manhattan Transfer), the Aaron Diehl quartet, and Latin Tinge featuring Pavel & Direct Contact.
Jazz Fest moves outdoors to Opti Park, 67th and College, for an exciting weekend finale.
Saturday's full menu of funk and fusion will culminate with the Stanley Clarke/George Duke 4, while Sunday will bring the festival to a fitting close with a Smooth Jazz Tribute to Chuck Workman, featuring saxman Gerald Albright and keyboardist/trombonist Brian Culbertson.
As a special outreach to concertgoers this year, some jazz clubs, including the Chatterbox, will become "after-sets venues," offering a place to hear more great jazz after each evening's performance.
As always, the key to Jazz Fest is education—acquainting the public with our national music, propelling pop-smooth-jazz lovers toward more challenging genres, and inspiring younger denizens to take a break from electronics and perhaps try out a musical instrument.
More artists will be announced in the coming weeks. For a more complete listing go here.