|For more info about other Carmel Arts & Design District events, click here or call 317.571.ARTS.||June 15 • June 22 • June 29 • July 27 • August 3
Carmel, Ind. – The beauty and artistry synonymous with the Carmel Arts & Design District will extend beyond its galleries once again. The popular Jazz on the Monon free evening concert series starts Saturday, June 15th from 6 – 9 p.m.
For visitors arriving by car, parking is available at the Carmel Lions Club parking lot, Indiana Design Center underground garage and other public parking areas, as well as on-street parking in the District.
June 15 – Heather Ramsey Clark
In addition to her performance work, Heather shares her passion for music as a vocal and performance instructor at the Midwest School of Voice in Carmel, which she co-owns with her husband, Blair Clark. Their latest endeavor, Young Voices Inspire, allows young vocal artists the opportunity to work in a semi-professional setting performing popular music as a group. A strong advocate for women in the arts, Heather co-founded Isis of Indiana and the Girls Create Music Songwriting Camp with her longtime friend and collaborator, Dr. Monika Herzig. Their work has inspired countless young women to create and explore their own passion for music and songwriting.
Midwesterner Cynthia Layne has loved live music since the moment she attended her first concert at the tender age of seven. Since then, live music has become a regular part of her life with both the general public and media impressed by her performances.
Layne has her own following in Indianapolis, where she has made her home for many years after growing up in Dayton, Ohio. Now she is poised for national attention with the release of Beautiful Soul, an album showcasing her vocal stylings in both the R&B and jazz arenas. Her previous album, Reality, was a jazz-flavored set. Both records are on "Indy-based" Owl Studios.
The independent, artist-friendly label discovered Cynthia through her mentor/producer/fellow musician and friend Rob Dixon. Both have performed together regularly over the years and continue to do so in Indianapolis.
"He told me there was a new record label in town and that I should check them out," remembers Cynthia. "He (Rob) set up a meeting with J. Allan Hall (owner/president) and the rest is history. He (Al) checked out my music and live show and wanted me on the label."
Beautiful Soul was co-produced and co-composed by Dixon, a respected musician born in Baltimore and raised in Atlanta. He has toured all over the world. Layne's band members include Dixon on saxophone, Beautiful Soul co-producer/co-composer Reggie Bishop on piano, keyboards/keyboard bass along with Kenny Phelps on drums. Both Bishop and Phelps are Indianapolis-born.
"I've known and played with Cynthia for years even when I lived in New York," said Dixon, who would sometimes come back to Indiana just to work with Layne. "It is really easy to write songs for her and with her. I also really appreciate that she trusts me musically."
"Funny," "Pimp Talk" and "Free Yourself" were co-written by Layne, who says she draws inspiration from everyday living and the life experiences she, her family and friends have experienced. "It seems to me that we are all either ready to go through it, are in it or coming out of some situation in life," she said. "And for me singing is like telling a story...and we all have a story to tell."
Layne's new album is more R&B-influenced than her previous release Reality. "I listen to a lot of music styles and grew up on R&B music," said Cynthia. "I wanted to do an R&B album to reach more audiences and listeners. I think there is a little something for everyone on the album. For example, "All I Need" has a more singer/songwriter vibe; "I Can't Change You" is more jazz; "Be You" is more neo-soulish and "Free Yourself" is plain old school funk."
Her favorite instrument is percussion and she considers herself percussive. "I love different rhythms and drum patterns and the way it can change the whole vibe of a song. I use my voice as an instrument and like to be creative when ad-libbing and scatting. I get a lot of ideas from the drums and horns to do vocals. I really get into the music and you can see it and hear it during our live performances."
Other songs of note on Beautiful Soul include "Kings & Queens" and "Letting You Go." The songs "Letting You Go" along with "Funny" and "We" were originally on Reality. Layne said that the reason for including them on the new record was "because as we gigged and played the tunes live they sorta evolved into something that was different and better than when we first recorded them." She felt they had to be a part of Beautiful Soul. "They are such great songs. And I'm sure that this album will reach millions of people who have never heard my music.
Layne, who has been performing for about 15 years, initially plans to tour the Midwest this winter with her band. "We have a lot of energy and passion that translates to the music when we are onstage," she said. "Our vibe is great and we play with a lot of dynamics so you actually feel the music. I use live horns, drums and keyboards. 'I've always loved music, especially live music. My younger sister always encouraged me to sing. As a girl, I listened to Natalie Cole and Diana Ross and emulate them all the time. In the mid 90's, I saw Dee Dee Bridgewater live when she was promoting her "Tribute to Ella" CD and was blown away. I was able to spend some one-on-one time with her and she was very encouraging. She is an incredible vocalist and was very inspiring." Layne also cites Phyllis Hyman, Teena Marie and Barbra Streisand as musical influences during her childhood.
These days, Layne inspires others including her young daughter who is included on the last track which was recorded when they were both in-studio together. "She wanted to talk on the mic and during a break, she started talking and being silly, said Cyntha. "Of course we didn't tell her we were recording her. We ended up editing her "shouts" (believe me she talks a mile-aminute), added a synth track and loop and used it as the last track. I think it was a fun way to end the album. It ends leaving a smile on your face!"
June 29 – Blair Clark
Blair will be releasing his new project 'Live at the Jazz Kitchen' June 29th at Jazz on the Monon.
Take a little pop, throw in some R&B, mix it with some soul and add a touch of jazz and you have the electrifying sounds of Blair Clark.
Blair has had the privilege of working with Grammy award winner/producer Narada Michael Walden, BMI award winner Preston Glass and New Orleans jazz legend Henry Butler to name a few. He has also enjoyed collaborating and recording with Evelyn “Champagne” King and Ron Tyson-of the Temptations.
Blair’s musical talents have taken him through Europe, Canada and all over the US performing in festivals, churches, concerts, private events, and clubs.
As a songwriter, Blair has written dozens of songs for various recording artists as well as his for own projects. As a producer, Blair has co-produced recording projects in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Indianapolis.
Blair is currently working on his new album “In a Perfect World”, where his hit single is soon to be released. In a Perfect World was produced by legendary producer Preston Glass who has worked with artists such as Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin and Earth, Wind & Fire to name few. Also soon to be released is, Blair Clark “Live at the Jazz Kitchen”, where he had the privilege of performing with Kenny Phelps, Mark Buselli, Frank Smith, Reggie Bishop and Mick Strickland. This project is a compilation of hits from the Great American Songbook.
Blair is President and co-owner of Midwest School of Voice, coaching and mentoring vocalists of all ages. The schools focus is vocal training and performance technique.
Blair's passion for music is only surpassed by his passion for community service. In memory of his sister LaNiece Clark, Blair started a non-profit organization, Friends Helping Friends, dedicated to helping individuals and organizations in need.
July 27 – Blue Dorian Jazz
August 3 – Kelleen Strutz
Born and raised in Valders, WI, Kelleen’s fascination with the piano began when she was just 3 years old. She frequently performed with her parents and siblings at church and community events, and began intensive classical piano studies at the age of 10. Kelleen won numerous awards in local and national piano competitions, and eventually accepted a full music scholarship to Butler University in Indianapolis, IN where she earned her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Piano Performance.
Immediately upon graduation, Kelleen released her debut CD, Simply Beautiful, in 2003, featuring over 30 of Indianapolis’ finest musicians, including world-renowned bassist Frank Smith and the legendary Jimmy Guilford. Simply Beautiful received high accolades from area DJs and music critics and it continues to sell both nationally and internationally.
More recently, Kelleen was featured guest vocalist on the Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra CD, An Old Soul, ranked one of the Top 10 Recordings of 2009 by Jazziz Magazine. Her performance on the project has been described as “seductive” and “slinky and earthily sirenic, breathy and erotic…”.
A founding member of the piano trios The Three Beats and KEY Trio, Kelleen is the featured vocalist in the Souled Out Band, and performs locally, nationally, and internationally at numerous venues, festivals, and special events. For more information, visit www.kelleenonline.com.