Indy Jazz Fest Day 3: Simone Channels High Priestess of Soul

The High Priestess of Soul has an heiress. Nina Simone was one of the most influential jazz and soul singers in the United States. Known for her dynamic vocals, social consciousness, and inventive compositions, Nina Simone recorded over 40 studio albums throughout her extraordinarily long career, spawning classics like “I Put a Spell On You,” “I Loves You Porgy,” and “I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl.” Nina Simone passed away in 2003, but her legacy lives on in her daughter, a Broadway star turned jazz singer who recently released a collection of her mother’s works, Simone on Simone. Indianapolis residents will get the chance to hear big band re-imaginings of classic Nina Simone songs when her daughter, Lisa Stroud (stage name Simone, in honor of her mother), takes the stage of the Jazz Kitchen on Wednesday, September 15 as part of the 2010 Indy Jazz Fest.

Electronic Press Kit video promoting “Simone on Simone” by Simone; Simone will be singing in Indianapolis as part of the 2010 Indy Jazz Fest September 15


Simone actually began her career when she enlisted in the United States Air Force, a pretty unorthodox entry into the business. Based on one singing gig in Germany, Simone was quickly enlisted as a backup singer in a run of nightclub gigs around the country. Before too long, Simone had her first stage part, in the controversial and highly successful musical Jesus Christ Superstar. The singer went on to play award winning parts in such highly touted musicals as Rent and Aida, for which she won a National Broadway Theater Award for Best Actress in a Musical. One year after her mother died, Simone performed at two Nina Simone tribute concerts, and it was there that she decided to record covers of some of her mother’s songs. The result was 2008’s Simone on Simone, Simone’s first full length release.

Video of Simone performing live in New York City; Simone will be singing in Indianapolis as part of the 2010 Indy Jazz Fest September 15


Though Nina Simone and Simone share bloodlines, the two women took a different approach to the same songs. While Nina Simone’s tracks had a definitive jazz and classical influence, Simone gives the songs a vibrant, big band style approach, with brash horns, fluid drums, and driving piano. Simone’s powerful voice soars over the top of the music, pushing and pulling the limits of the melody while giving the song momentum and focus. Simone on Simone doesn’t feature too many classic Nina Simone tracks; many of the selections are lesser known songs like “Keeper of the Flame” and “Don’t You Pay Them No Mind,” though a few memorable songs from Nina Simone’s repertoire are present, including “Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair” and “Love Me or Leave Me.”

Video interview with Simone; Simone will be singing in Indianapolis as part of the 2010 Indy Jazz Fest September 15


Indianapolis music fans are sure to dig the sounds of Simone. The Circle City has a pretty good appreciation for soulful crooners: just look at the success of artists like Kate Lamont, Jennie DeVoe, Goldie, and other Indianapolis music venue regulars. And, of course, the Indy Jazz Fest will be full of jazz aficionados of all shapes and sizes. All types of jazz are represented at the popular Indianapolis festival: if there’s going to be New Orleans jazz (Preservation Hall Jazz Band, on Tuesday) and funk jazz (Raul Midón, on Monday), there should be someone in the tradition of Billie Holiday and Anita O’Day as well. There’s no finer pick for this role than an accomplished Broadway star and club singer, and that’s what audiences can expect from Simone. Simone’s soaring vocals and upbeat arrangements should inject the perfect amount of soul into the Indianapolis bar on Wednesday.

Video of Simone performing at the 2008 Telluride Jazz Celebration; Simone will be singing in Indianapolis as part of the 2010 Indy Jazz Fest September 15


Nobody can replace the High Priestess of Soul, but you can witness the next step in her legacy by coming to see Simone at the Jazz Kitchen in Broad Ripple Village on Wednesday, September 15 as part of the 2010 Indy Jazz Fest. Like the rest of the concerts thus far at the Indy Jazz Fest, Simone will have two performances, one at 7:00 and one at 9:30. Tickets to this one of a kind Indianapolis event are $22 in advance and $25 at the door. From Broadway to smoky club stages, Simone channels her mother’s passion and ingenuity while retaining her own unique voice; come to the Jazz Kitchen on Wednesday to see how far the Soul lineage has come.

Indy Jazz Fest Day 3: Simone at the Jazz Kitchen
Wednesday, September 15 at 7:00 and 9:30
Tickets: $22 in advance, $25 at the door

The Jazz Kitchen
5377 N College Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46220

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