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Sixth annual Jazz Week held at University of Indianapolis

Posted on 04.24.2013

            UIndy held its sixth annual Jazz Week April 8 – 13, featuring student ensembles and bands with local, regional and national recognition.

The week opened with the UIndy Jazz Combo, a small group of students who performed selections of jazz and American standards. Tuesday featured UIndy’s Jazz Ensemble band, led by Harry Miedema. Attendees were able to go on stage and dance while enjoing the music. The Jazz Ensemble is composed of students who must audition for membership before the fall semester.

Pianist Steve Allee and vibraphonist Dick Sisto were the guests in the mid-week performance. Allee has been in the music world for 35 years, working mainly with jazz. He writes and performs for syndicated radio programs, television, and motion pictures in addition to being a music educator. Allee has released six CDs and is also the music director for the nationally syndicated comedy-variety radio program “The Bob and Tom Show.”

Vibraphonist Sisto has performed at jazz clubs throughout the Midwest and toured Great Britain five times, receiving enthusiastic reviews. He is also the music director at the Seelbach Bar, hosts two public radio jazz shows, and has been a teacher for the Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops for more than 10 years.

Danny Walsh, the performer on April 11, is a veteran of the New York City jazz scene. He has played the saxophone around the New York and New Jersey area for decades and is known for his ability to play both the tenor and the alto saxophone. Walsh has been described by JazzTimes as playing with “an energetic and virile attack.”

The performances for Jazz Week were very well chosen and were favorably accepted by the audience.

Attendee Ginger Jenkins described the April 12 performance as “top notch”.

Performer Steve Davis was accompanied by longtime friends Sisto, Allee, and others. According to his biography on, Davis is largely recognized as one of today’s leading improvisers on the trombone. He first gained broad recognition during the 1990s, when he worked with the bands of jazz legends Art Blakey, Jackie McLean, Chick Corea’s Orgin, and One for All.

Davis has won the TDWR (Rising Star) Trombone Category in 1998 and was also nominated by the Jazz Journalists Association as 2010 & 2012 Trombonist of the Year. He is featured in more than 100 recordings. In recent years, he has worked with a broad range of jazz icons including Freddie Hubbard and the New Jazz Composers Octet, Slide Hampton and the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Star Big Band, the Jimmy Heath Big Band, and Cecil Payne. Davis is also an active teacher at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School Jackie McLean Institute.

The songs that Davis played were enjoyable and positively added to the jazz-filled week.   Attendee Seth Jenkins said that “it was a great selection and the university needs more events like this.”

Trombone-lover and former amateur musician Jean Bardonner agreed that the concert was a great success. “He did a good job, although I didn’t hear the trombone as much as I wanted to, but that’s not a complaint.”

The week finished out with the Midcoast Swing Orchestra on Saturday. The orchestra was formed in 1989 and is an authentic 1930s/1940s swing band made up of skilled musicians from Indiana, including some who frequently perform with the Indianapolis Symphony. Orchestra Pops, Broadway show pit orchestras, recording sessions and live acts at venues throughout the Midwest.


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