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Jazz Notes: David Baker, Heather Ramsey, more

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Local legend David Baker turns 80 this month.
  • Local legend David Baker turns 80 this month.

'Tis the season. Jazz lovers will be offered a variety of holiday events this season at both ends of the social and financial spectrum.

The annual Indianapolis Jazz Foundation's Holiday Showcase is now at the Jazz Kitchen on Wednesday, December 14. The doors will open at 6 p.m. and music starts at 6:30 p.m., featuring Jesse Wittman Trio. One of the major events during the IJF's Holiday Showcase is its induction of local musicians into its Jazz Hall of Fame.

The 2011 inductees are Alan Burke, piano/organ; Carl Hines, piano; Gene Markiewicz, drums; Gary Walters, piano; and Steve Weakley, guitar.

"Celebrating the Indy Jazz Legends" will be the theme of this year's IJF Holiday Showcase with guest artists performing. Scholarships will be awarded to four outstanding college jazz studies music students. A silent auction will be held in the banquet room of the Jazz Kitchen, and food and drinks will be available from the Jazz Kitchen's award winning menu. Admission is $20.

On Saturday, December 17, the Crispus Attucks Museum invites the community to attend the Museum's year-end Holiday Jazz Celebration from 3 to 5 p.m. This event is free of charge and features legendary Indy jazz pianist Carl Hines with fresh interpretations of your holiday favorites and complimentary dining. An RSVP is required for this free and open to the public event due to limited seating.

The event is the Crispus Attucks Museum's way of saying "thank you" for a year of jazz celebration. To RSVP, call 317-226-2435.

On Sunday, December 18, the Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra presents its holiday show featuring the rich baritone voice of Everett Greene at the Jazz Kitchen. The BWJO will perform selections from Duke Ellington's innovative rendition of the Nutcracker suite.

Shows are at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Admission is $25.

On Monday, December 19, some of Indy's finest gospel performers will perform an exciting Holiday Gospel Showcase at the Jazz Kitchen. The show is directed by jazz drummer Kenny Phelps. It features soulful modern gospel renditions of holiday favorites. Performances are at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Admission is $12.

On Wednesday, December 21, a special black tie event will be held at the Jazz Kitchen. The Indy Jazz Fest, Owl Studios, Maribeth Smith and Associates, The Indianapolis Jazz Foundation, American Pianist Association, Mark Sheldon and the jazz community will celebrate the 80th birthday of Indianapolis native and living jazz legend Dr. David Baker.

Dr. Baker, who founded and led Indiana University's Jazz Studies program to a prestigious national and international reputation, will be honored by generations of jazz musicians who studied under his tutelage. An evening of special music programs under the direction of Brent Wallarab will feature the compositions of Dr. Baker by the BWJO, The David Linard Trio and the American Pianist Association's finalist Zach Lapidus will perform.

The event requires an RSVP and black tie attire. Admission is $125 per person. The evening includes cocktail reception and a buffet dinner. Donations will be accepted for the IU Foundation for the inaugural David Baker Scholarship. Contact the Jazz Kitchen to RSVP.

The sounds of the season are superbly represented in vocalist Heather Ramsey's new holiday CD Peace Like a River. The collaborative efforts of Ramsey and Monika Herzig's piano and arrangements are scintillating. The title track of Amy Grant's "Peace Like a River" is a gospel rouser featuring a children's choir of Ramsey's students from her music school. Herzig's arrangements lift Ramsey to a soulful shouting performance. The musical textures are diverse, and include guest appearances by trumpeter Mark Buselli, violinist Carolyn Dutton, guitarist Peter Kniele and saxophonist Tom Clark. The tunes are holiday secular; Ramsey creates a responsive performance to Herzig's arrangements.

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