Indy Jazz Fest Lineup

A mainstay in the Indianapolis arts and culture scene for nearly two decades, the annual Indy Jazz Fest returns in 2017 with a 10-day lineup celebrating the legacy of jazz, modern masters, and the discovery of new jazz stars. The sounds and lore of the Hammond B3 organ will be prevalent as part of the IJF Organ Summit. Since its inception in the 1950s, the Hammond B3 continues to be one of the most popular keyboard instruments. The 2017 Indy Jazz Fest will also feature the number “100” with events paying homage to the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie, jazz innovators that at “100” are still guiding forces in the jazz scene.

Variety of venues

Indy Jazz Fest will once again be in venues “All Around Town” September 14-23, featuring performances at the historic Madame Walker Theatre, Indiana Landmarks Center, Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center, Indianapolis Central Library, Main Street in Speedway, The Jazz Kitchen, and the Schrott Center for the Arts at Butler University.

“If there was ever a year in Indy Jazz Fest history to celebrate the past, present and future of jazz, this is the year,” said Festival Director David Allee. “’Hip Then, Hip Now’ highlights the connection between the forefathers of jazz, today’s jazz innovators and the up-and-comers.”

Featured lineup

The 2017 Indy Jazz Fest featured lineup will include the following:

  • Thursday, September 14 – 7 p.m.
    Indy Jazz Fest Band  | 100 – A musical tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Mongo Santamaria, & Thelonious Monk
    Sponsored by WICR-FM 88.7
    Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center at UIndy – 1400 E. Hanna Ave.
    Tickets: FREE
    Get ready for a 10-day celebration of jazz in Indianapolis, with an opening night performance featuring an all-star tribute to those who paved the way. The music of these great performers has left an indelible mark on the jazz landscape.
  • Friday, September 15 – 7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.
    Tony Monaco
     | Hammond B3 Organ | IJF Organ Summit
    Sponsored by Van Riper Woodard Family Foundation
    The Jazz Kitchen – 5377 N. College Ave.
    Tickets: $20, $25, $30, $35
    Tony Monaco may be the best organ player you have yet to hear flying stealth while playing arguably some of the hottest B3 around. Mentored by the legendary Jimmy Smith in what is considered the more classic style, Monaco does not swing, smolder, or smoke – he burns!
  • Friday, September 15 – 8 p.m.
    Jane Monheit | Ella Fitzgerald Songbook Sessions 
    Sponsored by REI Real Estate
    Schrott Center for the Arts at Butler University – 610 W. 46th St.
    Tickets: $45 adults | $25 students
    Indy Jazz Fest presents two-time Grammy-nominated vocalist Jane Monheit and her latest project in tribute to the late, great Ella Fitzgerald on what would have been Fitzgerald’s 100th birthday year.
  • Saturday, September 16 – 1-3 p.m.
    IJF Organ Summit Masterclass | The History & Life of Don Leslie
    as told by his son Jim Leslie | The Start & History of the Hammond Organ – presented by Lonnie Smith from George Smith’s Music
    The Jazz Kitchen – 5377 N. College Ave.
    Tickets: FREE
    There’s nothing like the sound of a Hammond organ through a legendary Leslie speaker. You’ll want to hear the inside story behind this iconic music technology!
  • Saturday, September 16 – 7:30 & 10 p.m.
    Dr. Lonnie Smith | IJF Organ Summit 
    Sponsored by Van Riper Woodard Family Foundation
    The Jazz Kitchen – 5377 N. College Ave.
    Tickets: $40, $50
    IJF congratulates Dr. Lonnie Smith on his 2017 NEA Jazz Masters Award. Smith is an unparalleled musician, composer, performer and recording artist. An authentic master and guru of the Hammond B3 organ for over five decades, he has been featured on over 70 albums, and has recorded and performed with a virtual “who’s who” of the greatest jazz, blues and R&B giants in the industry.
  • Saturday, September 16 – 8 p.m.
    Kirk Whalum

Sponsored by Eskenazi Health
Madame Walker Theatre
– 617 Indiana Ave.
$45, $55, $85 | $25 students
Grammy-award winner Kirk Whalum’s music is described as “soulful,” “passionate,” and “stirring.” Whalum is a certified smooth jazz star as well as an in-demand session player for top artists like Barbara Streisand, Al Jarreau, Luther Vandross, Larry Carlton, Quincy Jones, and Whitney Houston. His saxophone skills are showcased on the mega-hit, “I Will Always Love You.”

  • Sunday, September 17 – 3-4:30 p.m.
    Pavel & Direct Contact | Colombia
    Sponsored by IndyGo, Indianapolis Marion County Library, Alivio, SADCO
    Indianapolis Central Library
    – 40 E. St. Clair St.

The music of pianist Pavel & Direct Contact weaves through a blend of Caribbean and South American flavors. Take a trip with narrator Dr. Alfredo Lopez and experience the magical realism that, in the words of the late Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, “will shine through Cumbias, Vallenatos, Gailta, and Salsa.”

  • Sunday, September 17 – 6 & 8:30 p.m.
    Randy Brecker + Indianapolis Jazz Collective
    Sponsored by Foley & Abbott

The Jazz Kitchen – 5377 N. College Ave.
$20, $30, $40

Randy Brecker is a Grammy-award winning, internationally renowned jazz trumpet master, providing a modern connection between jazz’s past and present. Brecker played and toured with The Brecker Brothers (with brother Michael Brecker), Horace Silver, James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen, and Parliament/Funkadelic, to Frank Sinatra, Steely Dan, Jaco Pastorius, Frank Zappa, Clark Terry’s Big Bad Band, and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra.
Rob Dixon – sax, Steve Allee – piano, Nick Tucker – bass, Kenny Phelps – drums

  • Tuesday, September 19 – 6:30 p.m.

Jazz from the Heartland | Charlie Ballantine + The Blue Side

The Jazz Kitchen – 5377 N. College Ave.

Don’t miss a double bill of soulful, rootsy, bluesy bands from the Heartland.

Charlie Ballantine, fresh off his newly released CD brings a taste of jazz, blues, Americana, roots, and more.

The Blue Side features Tad Robinson, Kevin Anker, and Rob Dixon. Together, they bring that backbeat soul-blues flavor.


  • Wednesday, September 20 – 7 & 9 p.m.
    Ignacio Berroa Cubop Quintet | A Centennial Salute to Dizzy Gillespie
    The Jazz Kitchen – 5377 N. College Ave.
    Tickets: $25, $35, $45
    Famed drummer and band mate on Dizzy Gillespie’s last three bands will perform a Dizzy Gillespie Celebration commemorating Gillespie’s 100th birthday. The performance also features John Zappa (trumpet), JD Allen (sax), Mike Darrah (piano), and Aaron Jacobs (bass).
  • Friday, September 22 – 6-10 p.m.
    Jazz in Speedway

o   Farrelly Markiewicz Jazz Quintet – 6-7:30 p.m.

o   Bill Lancton / Jimmy Davis Band – 8-10 pm.

Sponsored by Dallara Car Factory, Speedway Chamber of Commerce
Main Street, Speedway, IN
Tickets: FREE
The Town of Speedway is living up to its moniker “Speedway, More Than a Day in May.” This year’s musical offering includes two of Indy’s top groups on a beautiful outdoor stage in front of the Dallara Car Factory. Two of the performers, Gene Markiewicz and Bill Lancton, are both Indianapolis jazz hall-of-famers

  • Friday, September 22 – 7 p.m.
    Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra | The Gennett Suite
    Sponsored by Foley & Abbott
    Indiana Landmarks Center, Cook Theater
    – 1201 Central Ave.
    $30, $40 | $20 students

The year 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of Gennett Records. The importance of this early record label has local and global significance. The studio was located in Richmond, Ind., and produced some of the most important early jazz recordings that were instrumental in spreading the music worldwide. Louis Armstrong’s first recordings were in Richmond, Ind., with King Oliver’s Creole Jazz band. Jelly Roll Morton, Bix Beiderbecke, Hoagy Carmichael, The New Orleans Rhythm Kings, and Duke Ellington were among the dozens of other artists who recorded significant portions of their repertoire in the Gennett Studios.


  • Friday, September 22 – 7 p.m.

Sullivan Fortner | American Pianists Association’s Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz

Sponsored by REI Real Estate & American Pianists Association

The Jazz Kitchen – 5377 N. College Ave.

Tickets: $30, $40

Sullivan Fortner dazzled Indianapolis when he won the 2015 Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz of the American Pianists Association. A native of New Orleans, he has already made a significant foray into the jazz world that belies his young age while touring with Stefon Harris & Blackout, Christian Scott Quintet, and the Roy Hargrove Quintet.


  • Friday, September 22 – 10 p.m.

The Afterset | Ghost-Note & Chantae Cann

The Jazz Kitchen – 5377 N. College Ave.

Tickets – $30, $50

Whoever said Indy Jazz Fest couldn’t be funky – think again. These two powerhouse bands weave among jazz, soul, R&B, groove, acid jazz, and beyond. Both of these bands have connections to Snarky Puppy through collaborations, guest appearances and several also perform as members of the Snarky Puppy band. Atlanta-based soul, jazz vocalist Chantae Cann performs at 10 p.m. while Grammy-award winning percussion powerhouse Ghost-Note goes on at midnight.


  • Saturday, September 23 – 3 p.m. – 2 a.m.

IJF Block Party 2017

Sponsored by Eskenazi Health, Van Riper Woodard Family Foundation, Printing Partners

The Jazz Kitchen – 5377 N. College Ave.

Yats – 5363 N. College Ave.

Tickets – $40 / $100 VIP

Closing night celebration with music inside and out on the corner of 54th Street and College Avenue. Join us for food, drinks and great music. It’s a party! Adults 21+.


Outside Yats Stage
3 Guitars – Joel Tucker, Charlie Ballantine & Ryan Taylor
Monika Herzig & The Time Flies
Introducing trombonist Ernest Stuart
Bashiri Asad & Xenobia Green
Kevin Anker Experience featuring Tad Robinson

Inside Jazz Kitchen Stage
Scott Routenberg + Mark Buselli
Ella Fitzgerald Tribute – Brenda Williams, Yvonne Allu, Wendy Reid,
& Sandy Lomax
Clint Breeze & the Groove
Steve Allee & Friends
Charlie Hunter
4 Korners
Taylor McFerrin

Tickets and information

Tickets for the 2017 Indy Jazz Fest are on sale now and available at

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