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Looking back at the Indiana Avenue Jazz Festival – Part 1
August 20, 2023
For the next two weeks on Echoes of Indiana Avenue we’ll look back at the Indiana Avenue Jazz Festival — an annual concert series that flourished on the Avenue from 1983 to 1997. We’ll listen to music from artists who performed at the festival, with a focus on local musicians.
The festival was established at a time when the Avenue was in decline. The expansion of IUPUI during the 1970s saw whole neighborhoods wiped out. By the early 1980s, this once-vibrant mecca of entertainment and culture was beginning to fall silent. The organizers of the Indiana Avenue Jazz Festival dreamed of celebrating the Avenue’s rich legacy, by bringing world-class music back to the neighborhood – and they succeeded. It started small, featuring a line-up drawn from local talent. But in a few short years, the festival attracted legendary jazz stars – including: Ahmad Jamal, Betty Carter, Ramsey Lewis, Terence Blanchard, Pharoah Sanders, and more.