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Indy Jazz Fest 2009Celebrating the past, present and future

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Summer has come to an end, but that shouldn’t keep anyone from enjoying outdoor fun, entertainment and live music from some of America’s most talented performers.

That is exactly what guests can expect during the 2009 Indy Jazz Fest, which will bring several well-known artists back to Indianapolis along with some special surprises.

Organizers say this year’s event will be truly fitting for a city that launched the careers of such jazz legends as Wes Montgomery, J.J. Johnson, Jimmy Coe and Slide Hampton.

“We know audiences will enjoy the diverse selection of musicians we have scheduled to perform,” said Rich Dole, a spokesman for Indy Jazz Fest. “The caliber of artists selected reflects our mission, which is to showcase, unify, strengthen and perpetuate our city’s important jazz heritage.”

Indy Jazz Fest 2009 will be held from Saturday, Sept. 19 to Sunday, Sept. 27. Some of the artists who will appear for the seven-day event include Branford Marsalis, Joshua Redman, Pharez Whitted, Cynthia Layne, Poncho Sanchez and many others.

Another special highlight of the festival will be Indiana University music instructor Dr. David Baker’s musical tribute to the late Freddie Hubbard at the Madame Walker Theatre Center on Saturday, Sept. 26. Hubbard, an Indianapolis native and internationally known jazz trumpeter who influenced many musicians, died last December at 70.

Also, San Francisco-based jazz singer Amanda King will perform classic jazz favorites and standards during the Indy Jazz Fest Friday Night After Set at the Madame Walker Theatre on Friday, Sept. 25. Known for her amazing vocal abilities, King will appear with pianist Max Perkoff, bass player Frank Smith and drummer Kenny Phelps.

Tens of thousands of people have attended Indy Jazz Fest each year since its first showcase in 1999. Numerous jazz, R&B/soul and rock legends have appeared each year, including Herbie Hankcock, Sonny Rollins, Ramsey Lewis, John Legend, Dee Dee Bridgewater, B.B. King, George Benson, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Isaac Hayes and Tito Puente.

Throughout most of its existence Indy Jazz Fest kept its original format of being a three-day concert series with two stages at Military Park downtown.

This year, however, Indy Jazz Fest will become a truly citywide event with activities not just at Military Park, but also at venues across Indianapolis such as Clowes Memorial Hall, the Vogue Nightclub, The Jazz Kitchen and the Madame Walker Theatre.

Organizers are also placing a stronger emphasis on education through collaboration with the Indianapolis Jazz Foundation that will encourage high school students to participate in this year’s event and spur involvement with many of the city’s top arts organizations.

“With this new focus we hope to connect with upwards of 40,000 people through a combination of performances, workshops, school concerts, master classes, community partnerships and arts activities,” Dole said.

Indy Jazz Fest is organized under the leadership of Allan Hall, founder of Indianapolis-based jazz record label Owl Studios, Jazz Kitchen owner David Allee and jazz musician Rob Dixon.

“This is definitely one of the greatest jazz festivals in the country and it is something the entire city can really take pride in,” Hall said. “For seven days we’re going to offer something for everyone and a great opportunity to catch some good music in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.”

For more information, call (317) 966-7854 or visit www.indyjazzfest.net/

Don’t miss it!

What: Indy Jazz Fest

When: Saturday, Sept. 19 to Sunday, Sept. 27

Where: The regular outdoor stage performances at White River State Park will take place on Sept. 26 and 27. However, indoor concerts for individual artists will be held at various locations, starting with Joshua Redman at Clowes Memorial Hall on Sept. 19 and ending with Claudia Acuna at the Jazz Kitchen on Sept. 23. For a full listing of performances visit www.indyjazzfest.net.

Tickets: $20 advance discount tickets ($30 at the gate) or $38 weekend passes are available at Marsh and O’Malia’s supermarkets. Prices for indoor concerts vary from $15 to $35.

Tips for enjoying Indy Jazz Fest

Parking: If you are driving west on Washington Street, park in the WRSP Underground Garage. The entrance is just west of the Washington Street/ West Street intersection. Cost is $10 per car. If you are driving East on Washington Street, park at the Indianapolis Zoo to avoid construction. Cost is $8 per car.

Seating: 3,000 lawn chairs will be provided on a first-come first-serve basis at White River State Park. Bring a blanket or your own chair if you like. Just make sure they aren’t too tall!

Attitude: Come ready to relax and dance. No arguing, fighting, rude behavior or political protests tolerated!

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