Our very own, Jared Thompson, and brother Joshua Thompson at The Wake.
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."
This August at the Madame Walker Theater, artists, actors, dancers, musicians, and activists alike will take the stage to discuss a system that has been built on a foundation of anti-blackness. While this event will include the deconstruction of this system, all of the proceeds from ticket sales are going straight back into communities that need reconstruction.
Premium Blend's own Jared Thompson, alongside his brother Joshua, will be taking the stage, joining a long list of talented performers. With speakers, artists, and musicians from every walk of life, The Wake sets out to bring the community together and raise awareness on topics like education inequity, food insecurity, and police brutality. A part of the program will be dedicated to eulogies for those who have been lost, and to loosely quote the description written on eventbrite, the focus will be to talk about their life and light, humanizing these people once again.
To learn more about The Wake, you can follow DONT SLEEP on facebook and purchase tickets through eventbrite below. Proceeds will benefit Green For All, GRoE, Inc., Bloom Project, Inc., and Sisters United.
Honored to be a part of this documentary with so many talented people. Catch the first screening Sunday, July 18th at 7:30 pm in the Toby Theater. Get more information on the Indy Film Fest below the video!
Take a sneak peek at Kyle Long and Jared Thompson sitting down to discuss "The Road".
Kyle: Since we're talking about great poets I want to ask about the closing track from your new album The Road, “Conveyor Belt Dreams" which features the voice of a brilliant multi-talented artist, poet and rapper Theon Lee.