2016 Uptown Jazz & Blues Festival

Blue Note Stage

  • 6:00 – 7:00             Jason Wells Band with Gibson Wells
  • 8:00 – 9:00             Naughty Professor
  • 10:30 – midnight  Liquid Soul

Birdland Stage

  • 5:00 – 6:00             Tuxedo Junction
  • 7:00 – 8:00             The Michael Kelsey Band
  • 9:00 – 10:30           Tizer Quartet featuring Eric Marienthal

Take Five Lounge

  • 5:00 – 6:00             Caitlin Cotten Combo
  • 7:00 – 8:00             Brent Laidler & the Dream Team
  • 9:00 – 10:30           The Claudettes


Jason Wells Band with Gibson WellsJason Wells Band with Gibson Wells

Jason Wells was born and raised in Frankfort, a small town in central IN. With music all around at home, his dad being a huge music fan and record collector, he wanted nothing more than to be able to play guitar and make a living from it. Like many other teenage kids into music and guitar, Jason spent most of his spare time getting bad grades and learning to play the guitar. Playing in small garage bands and doing what he could through the years, Jason performed for audiences every chance he got. Life in central IN wasn’t too conducive for being a musician so Jason settled down into the daily grind of working in factories and raising a family.
In 2008, when the economy went bad and everyone was loosing their jobs, Jason didn’t escape the trouble. He was laid off work for a year and a half and turned that opportunity into his chance to start a music career. A year and a half later, Jason had a chance to go back to work, and he caved in to the pressure of what seemed sensible. But four months later, Jason’s father passed away from cancer. This was the moment he realized that he was in the wrong place. Many thought he was not handling the loss very well, but, to Jason, it was fuel to the fire to start living. Starting from basically nothing, using old worn out sound equipment, Jason was making waves and fans everywhere he went. He had never stopped playing guitar and dreaming about being a full time musician through the years. Now he had his chance, and it was not to be wasted.
With many long hour days, and a lot of hard work, Jason’s career is growing every year. He has released three full length CDs, has radio airplay on FM commercial stations, college radio, and internet radio. Jason has opened for Candlebox, Jimmie Van Zant, and Tantric and has performed on the side stage at Klipsch Music Center in Noblesville, IN. Jason now tours with his band, The Jason Wells Band, all throughout the midwest and keeps growing.


Naughty ProfessorNaughty Professor

Naughty Professor is a forward thinking music endeavor pioneered by six young musicians from around the country, now anchored in New Orleans, Louisiana. Formed in 2011, the band’s mission was to embody the jazz-influenced party culture of the Big Easy in a constantly evolving, high energy funk/soul outfit. Naughty Professors’ live performances, which weave together complex compositions and loose individual improvisation, quickly commanded the attention of many notable musicians in town, including George Porter Jr., Galactic, and The Revivalists. With fresh recorded material in the works and a rigorous tour schedule planned for 2014 and beyond, Naughty Professor is poised to soon become the next household name associated with the echelon of New Orleans music.
Naughty Professor has shared the stage with artists such as Galactic, Snarky Puppy, Victor Wooten, Rebirth Brass Band, Fitz and the Tantrums, The Revivalists, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Papadosio, George Porter Jr., The Soul Rebels, and many more


Liquid SoulLiquid Soul

Liquid Soul is a jazz, hip-hop, funk, freestyle fusion ensemble formed in 1993 from Chicago, Illinois which helped pioneer the acid jazz movement in the United States in the 90s. Coined “Beyond Acid Jazz” by founder Mars Williams who plays with The Psychedelic Furs and previously with The Waitresses and Billy Idol, and co-founded by guitarist Tommy Klein, from the Spies Who Surf, the band’s 2000 album Here’s the Deal was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Contemporary Jazz Album category.
Live or in the studio, playing it hard or smooth, Liquid Soul is a fiery concoction of classy soloists, heavy rhythm merchants and hip-hop cognoscenti. They are in a group that thrives on contact with their audience. One cannot help being moved by Liquid’s ongoing party philosophy. The band’s in-the-tradition repertoire extends from classic compositions by Ornette Coleman and Miles Davis to excursions on the latest breakbeats and mad samples. They continue to bridge the musical gap between standard jazz improvisation and urban rhythm. And as always, the band stays true to its roots with a continued philosophy of bringing jazz back to the dance floor.


Tuxedo JunctionTuxedo Junction

Celebrating 40 years of serenading young and old alike, Tuxedo Junction continues to honor the traditional sounds of the Big Band Swing Era with a vast library of standard charts while uniquely blending custom arrangements influenced by more modern jazz, blues, and rock.
Formed as the dream of Jim Cummins in 1976 as The Jim Cummins Orchestra, the name was later changed to reflect the primary musical style. Even after his death early in the life of the band, Jim’s dedication to excellence and showmanship continues to influence the band today. The first album, “A Million Dreams Ago, The Jim Cummins Orchestra” was dedicated to Jim’s memory.
Band members hail from across north-central Indiana and include weekend warriors from a variety of vocations – some professional musicians, some not – criss-crossing Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan just for the enjoyment of playing this great music to crowds eager to hear once again that sound.
While there are original band members playing today, there have been so many members over the decades the odds are you probably know someone who has played with the band, if you haven’t played with the band yourself. The second album, “Tuxedo Junction, A New Millennium” was recorded during several live performances, including in Lafayette, so you might be on it.
If you want to get up and dance or just sit, tap your toe, and smile, don’t miss the big sound of a big band, Tuxedo Junction.

The Michael Kelsey BandThe Michael Kelsey Band

Michael Kelsey brings a free-flowing improvisational style to the guitar that involves every inch of his instrument. From his funky, percussive playing style that conjures an image of a one-man version of STOMP to lush instrumentals reminiscent of Michael Hedges/Phil Keaggy, his performance blends multiple musical genres and vocals along with some techno fun to create a sound all his own. He is the winner of Guitar Center’s “Guitarmageddon”. Chosen from among 3,000 entrants the singer-songwriter performed at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads 2004 where he shared the stage with many legendary guitarists. Through out a performance Michael may make use of technology, his improv skills, objects in the room, and audience interaction to make music for the ears but more importantly a musical experience for the senses.


Tizer Quartet featuring Eric MarienthalTizer Quartet featuring Eric Marienthal

Back by popular demand, TIZER returns to the Uptown Jazz & Blues Festival after performing at the 2014 festival that featured violin virtuoso, Karen Briggs. This year, TIZER will feature Grammy winning saxophonist Eric Marienthal (The Rippingtons, Chick Corea) along with Grammy nominee and New York native bass legend Ric Fierabracci (Chick Corea, Billy Cobham), Chicago born drum phenom Gene Coye (Larry Carlton, Stanley Clarke).
Over the past few years, TIZER—a 2011 nominee for “Jazz Group of the Year”–has taken their multi-faceted world fusion vibe acorss the USA around the globe, galvanizing thousands at events including the Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta, the Joy of Jazz Festival in Johannesburg, the Dubai Jazz Festival, Barbados Jazz Festival, the Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival and the Festival International Providencia Jazz in Santiago, Chile. In addition to their usual whirlwind of U.S. dates, their tour schedule in support of Downbeat has included the Jarasum International Jazz Festival in South Korea, four shows in Russia, KL International Jazz & Arts Fest – Malaysia, Cape Town International Jazz Fest and Martinique Jazz Fest. While Lao was a “Best New Jazz Artist” nominee in 2002 and Diversify spent many weeks on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart, TIZER has a multi-genre, multi-national appeal that expands beyond just jazz enthusiasts. Their diverse resume includes performance slots alongside Zappa Plays Zappa, Jethro Tull, Isaac Hayes, Al Jarreau, Spyro Gyra, George Benson, Soulive, Babyface, Bruce Hornsby and Robin Thicke.


Caitlin Cotten ComboThe Caitlin Cotten Combo

Wrought out of the Purdue Jazz Band, The Caitlin Cotten Combo formed officially in 2012 after years spent playing various gigs throughout the community and nation. Spearheaded by vocalist Caitlin Benner, the group plays a variety of jazz ranging from standard swing to more modern tunes. Group members have had the chance over the years to play alongside jazz greats such as Lenny Foy, Jeff Coffin, Carl Saunders, Dennis DiBlasio, Brent Wallarab, Michael Weiss, Dave Pietro, Eddie Daniels, Allan Vizzuti, and Gary Smulyan. The group plays to prove that jazz can still be relevant if packaged in a more approachable and fun atmosphere.


Brent Laidler & the Dream TeamBrent Laidler & the Dream Team

The Dream Team is the result of perfect chemistry during the accidental meeting of music and minds at an Open Jam Session. Scott Pazera hosted a killer house band, bringing new talent from Indianapolis and Bloomington – Brent Laidler brought in friends from Logansport and Muncie and some brand new original charts – the combination was an absolute blast for the musicians and resulted in a spontaneous standing ovation. They knew they had something special! Now with a whole new CD to promote (No Matter Where Noir), the Dream Team is ready to kick off a Release Party like no other at the 2016 Uptown Jazz and Blues Festival.
Members include: Brent Laidler – guitar, Ned Boyd – alto sax, flute, Mark Buselli – trumpet, flugelhorn, Mitch Shiner – vibraphone, Scott Pazera – bass, Richard “Sleepy” Floyd – drums.


The ClaudettesThe Claudettes

Pianist Johnny Iguana formed the Claudettes, who feature Berit Ulseth on vocals, Zach Verdoorn on bass guitar and vocals and Matt Torre on drums. Johnny, who has toured internationally with his own cult-favorite rock band oh my god, is currently a member of two Grammy-nominated blues groups: Chicago Blues–A Living History and the Muddy Waters 100 Band. Johnny has toured or recorded with Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, James Cotton, Carey Bell, Lil’ Ed and more. The Claudettes combine the Chicago blues-piano tradition with the energy of rockabilly and punk and the sultry sound of ’60s soul-jazz to create a thrilling new spin on American roots music.
GREG KOT, CHICAGO TRIBUNE A revelatory blend of jazz and blues, stirred with punk brio and topped with French cream. There are also dashes of classical and world music, and enough stops, starts and hairpin turns to suggest the giddiness of Raymond Scott’s cartoon music…How do they do it?
DOWNBEAT Hits listeners upside the head with a mash-up of Otis Spann blues, Albert Ammons boogie-woogie, Ray Charles soul and “Fess” Longhair New Orleans R&B. Catch them in a chaotic ballroom!
CAUGHT IN THE CAROUSEL They come across like a ragtime White Stripes, tearing through the 13 numbers here with an undeniable musical velocity….Truly one of the most refreshing musical experiences of the year.
BLUES MUSIC MAGAZINE Like Keith Moon chasing a crazed, punked-up Little Richard…