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Cool sounds of live jazz return to Indianapolis Zoo

The concerts are free for zoo members and included with regular admission.
Credit: WTHR
A zookeeper with an elephant at the Indianapolis Zoo's new Tembo Camp exhibit.

INDIANAPOLIS — All That Jazz returns to the Indianapolis Zoo for its 35th concert season on June 16.

The concert series features a diverse lineup of Midwest jazz musicians. They'll play at the zoo every Thursday from 5:30-8:30 p.m. through Aug. 4 at the Bicentennial Pavilion.

The concerts are free for zoo members and included with regular admission. A full bar will be open to adult guests.

Animal exhibits and rides throughout the zoo will be available until 7 p.m. 

Jazz lineup

June 16: Premium Blend - The Indy-based band performs original compositions that are rooted in the rhythm and blues tradition, while incorporating modern grooves and harmonies for a 21st-century audience. 

  • Menu: Premium paella - Spanish-style chicken and sausage dish with spring peas, fire-roasted bell peppers, and saffron rice

June 23: Avenue Indy - Avenue Indy is a jazz quintet presenting creative versions of great melodies in a jazz vibe. The band plays original arrangements bringing fresh licks to familiar tunes ranging from the Great American Songbook, jazz standards and popular tunes from many decades. 

  • Menu: Choice of marinated chicken or beef with tortilla chips. Served street taco style with diced cucumbers, onions, cilantro, lime wedges, cotija cheese, and pico de gallo

June 30: The Phelps Connection - The Phelps Connection is a collection of some of Indy's finest musicians, featuring legendary drummer Kenny Phelps and lead vocalist Valerie Phelps, brought together to perform classic compositions of jazz, songwriter and soul, rolled into an inspirational assortment of music. 

  • Menu: Ultimate Bowl – Grilled chicken with quinoa, summer slaw, avocado, edamame beans, fire-roasted beets, hardboiled egg, lime chipotle vinaigrette and Queso Fresco

July 7: Wendy Reed & Friends - Wendy's background in musical theater has helped make her the consummate entertainer: both an amazing singer and energetic party host. The six-piece Wendy Reed Band, comprised of seasoned musicians from Indianapolis, is developing a fast following in the regional wedding and corporate market. 

  • Menu: Burgers & Brats – 8-ounce grilled burgers with lettuce, tomato, onion, and American cheese on a sesame seed bun, or the classic Bratwurst with caramelized onions on a brat bun, both served with Fries. 

July 14: Charlie Ballantine - "Befitting a guitarist from America's heartland, Chris Ballantine mixes jazz, folk-rock, surf/instor, blues, pop and country into a simmering pot of guitar sound and style."

  • Menu: Kung Pao chicken or fried tofu with secret brown sauce, steamed brown rice, bell peppers and green onions

July 21: Pavel & Direct Contact - This Latin jazz and salsa ensemble brings a high energy sound. Pavel & Direct Contact is led by pianist Pavel Polanco-Safadit and backed by an outstanding band of musicians. 

  • Menu: Asian Takeout – Stir-fry chicken with wok-&-roll sauce, steamed white rice, and vegetables

July 28: Tucker Brothers - The Tucker Brothers Group was founded by brother Joel and Nick Tucker in 2015 with the mission of creating thoughtful and positive instrumental music. 

  • Menu: Indiana Pork Tenderloin Sandwich – Crispy fried locally made pork fritter with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, on a Kaiser roll with waffle fries and mustard on the side

Aug. 4: Cathy Morris and Friends - Zoo audiences will certainly remember Cathy Morris as she combines contemporary jazz melodies and chords with Latin rhythms, funk grooves, fusion, rock, blues, Celtic and even Cajun fun creating her own distinctive sounds she calls "party jazz."

  • Menu: Hatch Green Chili Carnitas – Chef's south Texas pork carnitas served with Hatch Chili sauce, avocado, cabbage, cilantro, red radish, and cilantro on white corn or flour tortillas.

For more on All That Jazz, click here.    

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