Buoyed by the huge success of George Benson’s headlining performance in 2011, the Indy Jazz Fest has added a second outdoor roster of entertainment at Opti Park in Broad Ripple.
Indy Jazz Fest begins on Sept. 10 with five nights of indoor performances and culminates with outdoor shows on Sept. 15-16.
The final day, Sept. 16, will focus on smooth jazz, the largely instrumental genre linked to urban contemporary music, both melody- and groove-based. The schedule will be headlined by multi-instrumentalist Brian Culbertson and saxophonist Gerald Albright.
Culbertson’s last Indianapolis appearance was in 2009 at the Murat Theatre. Albright, who was an Indiana Black Expo performer in 1991, appeared locally most recently in 2008.
The Sept. 15 Opti-Park program includes pianist Robert Glasper Experiment, vocalist-reedman Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe and the “Bring It” tour of a quartet led by bass guitarist Stanley Clarke and keyboardist George Duke.
The Sunset Series designates the festival’s indoor evening events. The 2012 schedule:
>> Sept. 10 — Aaron Diehl Quartet, group led by the 2011 Cole Porter Fellow of the American Pianists Association, Jazz Kitchen, 5377 N. College Ave.
>> Sept. 11 — “Latin Tinge,” Pavel and Direct Contact, local Latin-jazz ensemble, Indiana Landmarks Center, 1201 N. Central Ave.
>> Sept. 12 — Cheryl Bentyne, solo show by member of leading vocal quartet Manhattan Transfer, Mark Winkler, Cabaret at the Columbia Club, 121 Monument Circle.
>> Sept. 13 — “Tribute to Slide Hampton,” Indy Jazz Fest band, DeHaan Center, University of Indianapolis, 1400 W. Hanna Ave.
>> Sept. 14 — Slide Hampton, trombonist, with the Steve Allee Big Band, Jazz Kitchen.
David Allee, an Indy Jazz Fest director, made the announcement at the Rhythm! Discovery Center Downtown. He told The Indianapolis Star later that Facebook surveys and sold-out shows with other presenters over the past two decades, plus the Benson show’s success, spurred the move to take a chance on a smooth-jazz day.
It’s also been successful as part of the mix at the club Allee runs, the Jazz Kitchen. “Our jazz audience here doesn’t come from a purist standpoint,” he said.
Other events related to Indy Jazz Fest are likely to be added , he said, including master classes by Hampton and Bentyne and performances at the venerable Chatterbox Jazz Club and the brand-new Indy Reads Bookstore on Mass Ave.
Opti Park, Indianapolis Art Ctr, 820 E 67th St, Indianapolis, Indiana 46220