Being a native of the Circle City isn't always easy when it comes to cultural identity. Even though Indy is the 12th largest city in the nation, many artists here feel the frustrations of the "Indianoplace" stigma that has plagued us for decades. This is especially true for the jazz musician. Despite the illustrious contributions to jazz history, i.e. Indiana Avenue, Wes Montgomery, Freddie Hubbard, J.J. Johnson, Dr. Willis Kirk, Dr. David Baker, Oliver Nelson, Pookie Johnson, Melvin Rhyne, and the Hampton Sisters, Indianapolis is frequently overlooked as a hub for musical prowess. We get it. Chicago is a mere three hours away, Detroit is a musical Mecca of all genres, and St. Louis isn't a city to snub either. But even after the hey-day of Indiana Avenue, "Naptown" jazz musicians have been churning out high-level records with a sense of pride and integrity that would make their bop ancestors proud.
The following albums are just a few examples of the greatness that has come out of this city within the last 10 years; so to say that these records are the "Modern Jazz Bible" would be a woefully irresponsible statement. Some selections reflect the influence Indy Jazz has had on R&B as well as hip hop as those selections recruited some of the most prominent jazz voices in the city to bridge the gap to younger audiences. Each album/artist paints a very genuine and diverse picture of what Indianapolis jazz culture feels and sounds like. Keep in mind that this is NOT a review of the albums themselves. It's YOUR job to review the various layers of what has become the "Naptown Sound."