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Jazz Notes


Crescent City Prayer - SUBMITTED PHOTO

Now that we are in the new year, there will be some changes in the local jazz scene. New events are appearing, and some of the older ones are beginning to disappear.

One of those new events debuts Saturday, January 14, 2012. It's a collaborative event between the Indianapolis Jazz Foundation and the Rhythm Discovery Center, and will be held at the Rhythm Discovery Center. This program, titled the Rhythm of Indiana Avenue, will feature Indy Jazz Hall of Fame drummers. Lawrence Clark III will host a discussion of Indianapolis jazz tradition and the history of Indiana Avenue at 1 p.m., in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Following the discussion, Gene Markiewicz will lead a group of local jazz artists performing standards written by local composers and musicians.

"Jazz has had a global effect on music in the twentieth century, and the heart of jazz is its rhythm and syncopation. That makes it unique,"� says Michael Kenyon, executive director of the Rhythm Discovery Center.

The Indianapolis Jazz Foundation presents the rich history of jazz in Indianapolis to the community throughout the year. We are excited to host this event that will celebrate some our local artist and their stories," he said.

The Rhythm Discovery Center has made admission to the Center free and open to the public all day for this special program.

One of the first jazz albums of 2012 came from local artist, jazz pianist, composer and educator Frank Puzzullo. It was released by local label Owl Studios. Although he's actually based in Muncie, Puzzulo's no stranger to the Indianapolis jazz scene.

Crescent City Prayer is the name of the record Puzzullo dedicated to New Orleans and the nine years he lived and worked there. Let any concern about whatever happened to bebop be assuaged. Puzzullo's album is keeping the flame alive with his cooking take-no-prisoners quintet. Puzzulo contributed six originals and arranged two standards for this release.

Mark Buselli's trumpet and Andy Fusco's sax make up the front line. Buselli's playing is relaxed and flowing, and Fusco's alto sax complements Puzzulo's hard, swinging bebop lines.

Bob Bowman's bass and Joel Spencer's drums have driving swing and bop accents that propel the quintet to a high level. Opening track "You Do" is a freewheeling bebop romp that sets the tone for the whole record. Puzzullo's solo shows his reflective and sensitive side on the ballad "Spring is Here."�

There is a cultural loss of Indy's jazz history going on in our community. One reason for this is because there is no physical repository or building for deceased jazz artists from Indy. Those are who gave this city a worldwide reputation for its jazz legacy. Where are the instruments of those Indy jazz legends today? What about the numerous sheets of paper that hold the notes of jazz compositions to be played for the public or for music educators to pass on to their students?

I am sure that there are numerous tapes in this city from local artists who recorded their gigs that are deteriorating. They hold a treasure trove of sounds that music students and educators could benefit from. Photos of the past jazz artists performing and of the legendary local jazz clubs that no longer exist are invaluable documentation of the golden era of Indy jazz.

There are other urban cities where jazz thrived and that also claimed a share of this nation's musical art form. Unlike Indy, some have repositories for this art form called jazz museums.

I can't help but wonder how we can pass on a jazz legacy to future generations when we can't preserve the past to build on to.

Could there be a museum devoted to jazz and our local legendary performers for the public to enjoy and future musicians and music educators to use to maintain Indy's reputation? Let's keep our legacy alive in the world jazz community.


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