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Jazz Notes for Valentine's Day

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Marc Staggers' new album. - SUBMITTED PHOTO

It’s that time of year when chocolates, roses, and cards combine for the annual rite of Valentine’s Day. Some local venues that offer jazz on their musical menus will serve up a gentle side of the genre with romantic sounds fit for the occasion.

A free lunch time performance on Valentine’s Day at 12:15 p.m. in the Artsgarden will be offered by the dynamic vocalist Brenda Williams.

The Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra’s Valentine’s Day Big Band Concert and Dance takes place at the Athenaeum Theatre. The IJO will play selections from the Great American Songbook about love, romance and the heart. Reserved intimate table seating will be available, as well as a cash bar and concessions. Tickets are $20 in advance and avaliable online.

The Jazz Kitchen will showcase guitarist Bill Lancton’s quartet with dining seats available for 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. for $15. Popular vocalist Cynthia Layne’s trio will perform at 7 p.m. The Jazz Kitchen has added Valentine’s specials to its regular menu.

Sullivan’s Steakhouse at Keystone at the Crossing will run an early Valentine’s package consisting of a three-course dinner for two for just $89 from Saturday, Feb. 11 to Tuesday, Feb. 14. Gentle swinging jazz will be played Valentine’s Day in the bar by bassist Joe Deal and pianist Bruce Paulson from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Reservations are suggested.

Rick’s Café Boatyard will celebrate Valentine’s Day beginning Friday, Feb. 10 to Tuesday, Feb. 14 with a special $80 dining package for two. Seating each day starts at 11 a.m. Dave’s Trio will offer soft jazz on Valentine’s Day from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Reservations are required.

Two new albums have been released just in time for Valentine’s Day with an emphasis on romance.

Marc Staggers made a big impression on those at the Super Soul Celebration concert. Fans were comparing him to Luther Vandross. His new album, Key to My Heart on Expansion Records, fits the mood for the holiday with R&B overtones.

Paul McCartney’s new album, Kisses On The Bottom on Concord Records, was released this week. McCartney composed the lead track “My Valentine,” which he delivers with conviction. His killer backup band features Diana Krall (piano) Eric Clapton and John Pizzarelli (guitar, respectfully) and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Super Art and Soul is a month-long series of diverse performances for jazz fans. Contemporary saxophonist Gregg Bacon will play Saturday, Feb. 11 at 1 p.m. The John Harden Project plays jazz, nu-jazz and fusion; they'll play on Thursday, Feb. 23 at 12:15 p.m. Cynthia Layne’s contemporary vocal stylings will take the stage on Wednesday, Feb, 29 at 12:15 p.m. All Super Art & Soul events are free.

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