The Indiana Historical Society (IHS) is proud to host historian and musician Joshua A. Thompson as part of the Lacy Family Distinguished Lecturer Series.
“The Jazz State of Indiana with Joshua A. Thompson” is presented by the Lacy Foundation with support from the Indianapolis Jazz Foundation and Indy Jazz Fest. It takes place Thursday, August 26 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, located at 450 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis. The program will be presented in the Frank and Katrina Basile Theater.
The event will be an evening of music as historian and musician Joshua A. Thompson explores the musical roots of jazz from Richmond to Indianapolis. His presentation will be set to the sounds of the quartet Premium Blend.
“From the cradle of recorded jazz to the clubs of Indiana Avenue, Indiana’s jazz legacy can be felt in the music we hear every day,” said IHS President and CEO Jody Blankenship. “Indiana’s music roots echo throughout our history and can be best explored through experiencing it. We are excited to host what is sure to be an enjoyable blend of history and music.”
Joshua Thompson is a pianist, social musicologist, teaching artist and producer. He is increasingly recognized on a national scale for his expertise on classical composers of African descent and the inherent cultural connectivity in the broader aesthetic of Black Arts movements. As the 2020 Beckman Emerging Artist Fellow of the Arts Council of Indianapolis, he successfully completed his residency at the Africana Studies Center for Music and Society at the Berklee School of Music in Boston and currently serves as the first Musicologist in Residence for Classical Music Indy. A graduate of DePauw University, Thompson combines his passion for arts advocacy and music education by working with organizations such as Classical Music Indy, Indy Jazz Fest, the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, Arts for Learning, and Morning Brown, Inc. Continuing his mission to research, program and perform masterworks by composers of African descent; Thompson has a body of work that includes solo performances, theatrical productions and co-hosting the 2020 Best New Music Podcast, Melanated Moments in Classical Music with operatic soprano Angela Brown.
Led by saxophonist Jared Thompson, Premium Blend is a modern jazz quartet that combines traditional elements of bebop and hard bop with R&B and groove. Backed by guitarist Ryan Taylor, keyboardist Steven Jones, and drummer Brian Yarde, PB’s spin on jazz resonates with die-hard jazz fans and novices alike. The band released their third studio album “Vices” in the summer of 2019 and their fourth album “38th & Postmodernism” in January 2021.
The event is free, but there is limited in-person space available. Registration is required, and reservations can be made by visiting indianahistory.org/events/the-jazz-state-of-indiana.
Attendees are encouraged to come before the show, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., to explore the exhibit “You Are There 1927: Gennett Studio.” The exhibit explores the story of Starr Piano Company and its Gennett record label. While the venture only lasted less than two decades, the ripple effects of the music created in this small Richmond, Indiana, studio had far-reaching effects. Gennett produced some of the earliest recordings of King Oliver, Bix Beiderbecke and Hoagy Carmichael.