Indiana Jazz: History, Scenes, Places & Personas

Did you know that Louis Armstrong made his first recordings in Richmond, Indiana at the Gennett Studios with King Oliver’s group and that Hoagy Carmichael’s first recording of Stardust at the same studio was a complete flop? Did you know that David Baker taught Freddie Hubbard how to play Donna Lee so they could show off at a jam session on Indiana Avenue? This fall, we’ll explore the special history of jazz in Indiana on six Tuesday at Topo’s 403 in Bloomington. And just like my previous community classes – we’ll explore, have guests, and enjoy live performances – all with drinks and food served.

These classes have been most successful over the past decade structured as an informal gathering with insights on a specific style of jazz, getting to know a community jazz  hero and closing out with a live set featuring the instructor and special guest. The initial idea came from David Andrichick, owner of the Chatterbox Jazz Club in Indianapolis, and has moved through several live venues. This fall we’ll shift the focus to Indiana Jazz – why? Because there are some very important and essential stories to tell!

Ok, I can hear the questions – what is so special about little conservative Midwestern Indiana? Did you know that Wes Montgomery, David  Baker, J.J. Johnson, Larry Ridley, Slide Hampton, Freddie Hubbard, Melvin Rhyne, James Spalding, Willis Kirk, David Young, Pookie Johnson, and so many more all grew up together on Indiana Avenue in Indianapolis? Did you know that Hoagy Carmichael grew up in Bloomington where he studied law at Indiana University and wrote many of his well-known songs such as Georgia, Stardust, and what about the Four Freshmen from Columbus, Indiana? The list goes on and on –

We’ll start Tuesday, October 17 and continue for six  more Tuesdays, except Thanksgiving week. Signups are through Ivy Tech Continuing Ed – no previous music or jazz knowledge needed, just be ready for fun, learning, and good conpany – click here to enroll.