History of Indiana Avenue’s jazz scene

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind—It’s known as one of America’s original art forms and it may be hard to believe, but for many years, the Circle City drew in some of the greatest jazz musicians.

“I can listen to jazz on Indiana Avenue and Indianapolis jazz greats and I can distinguish their sound from someone in Kansas City or New York,” said historian David Leander Williams.

During the 1930’s and 1940’s, Indiana Avenue was thriving and was home to many African American businesses and clubs. It was then some of jazz music’s greats came to perform.

“People would travel through Indianapolis, play here, and then stay. They knew this was the spot,” Williams said.

By the 1950’s though, the avenue was beginning to change and many of the original clubs had closed down.

Today, the avenue looks much different. But some of the sounds that first originated there can still be heard throughout the area.

“Now I think there’s been a resurgence in music and I think jazz has been a big part of that,” explained jazz saxophonist Rob Dixon.

These days, you can find Dixon and others taking their talents to the stage, bringing back the music that captured the hearts of so many, for so long.

“Jazz is really special because it is a true American art form. It came from America. It is very unique, around the world people do it and try to emulate what we do here,” Dixon said.

Dixon & Triology is performing Friday February 16th at 7 p.m. at the Jazz Kitchen in Broad Ripple. For more information, click here.

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