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Revisit the Performances of Jazz in July's 2019 Season

August 2, 2019
Jamaal Baptiste 7/5/19 Jazz in July
Jamaal Baptiste at the first Jazz in July concert of the year. (Photo: Indiana Public Media / Flickr)

We might have crossed over into August, but summer in Bloomington is by no means over. And there’s always time to see every performance from WFIU and the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Jazz Studies Department’s free summer concert series, Jazz in July.

With 2019 being the second season with WFIU and the Jazz Studies Department at the helm, this year brought back the standout elements of last year – big crowds, cool nights and plenty of dancing – while inviting to the stage a diverse slate of young, local talent.

You can check out recordings of all four shows down below, or at our YouTube channel and Facebook page.

July 5: Jamaal Baptiste & Descarga Five

It didn’t matter that a rain scare pushed the first concert of the month inside Cramer Marching Hundred Hall, because it was standing room only for much of the crowd. But they made the most of it by dancing along to Jamaal Baptiste and Descarga Five, a local Latin jazz ensemble from Bloomington.

The flexibility of Descarga Five – which bandleader Baptiste credits to his upbringing in Aruba performing for tourists – was on full display, no more so than when they closed out the show with a Latin spin on the Jackson 5 classic “I Want You Back.”

July 12: Amanda Gardier

Saxophonist Amanda Gardier made the most of her deep repertoire, hearkening back to a number of artists and eras.

Gardier has been praised in the past for her abilities as a soloist, and those skills made their mark here.

July 19: Elena Escudero

What ended up being the hottest night of Jazz in July (and perhaps the month) seemed to have no effect on jazz vocalist Elena Escudero.

Escudero’s voice was smooth, vibrant and in control of the stage. She pulled out her fair share of jazz standards, like Hoagy Carmichael’s “The Nearness of You,” but she also stretched her avant-garde jazz muscles throughout the show with plenty of ad-libbing.

July 26: Tucker Brothers Group

As the last night of the season and one of its coolest, it’s no surprise that this show had one of the biggest crowds of the month.

The Indianapolis-based Tucker Brothers Group had a full arsenal of musical selections, jumping between old standards and original compositions, including pieces off their newest album, Two Parts, that released the same day.

For more info and future updates on Jazz in July, head to the event’s website.