INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Jazz legends of Indiana Avenue inspire Art and Soul featured artist Christopher Pitts.
Music has always been a passion for him. He grew up listening to oldies, rap and classical music. He played the clarinet before making to the switch to piano at age 18. He said he took a deep cultural dive after discovering jazz artist of the past.
Jazz music takes a special fluidity to make spontaneous transitions to meet the feeling of the music. Pitts does a good job falling in line but said there’s always more work to do.
“If I feel like I’ve accomplished it, then I don’t have anything to work toward. So, it’s always something new to work for and discover, and another goal to set, or something to master,” he said.
As the desire to play piano grew, a Christmas gift would set him on the path to getting better aquatinted with the keys and jazz. “I was a senior in high school, and I just never left my room after that.”
His talents are being spotlighted in the 25th annual Art and Soul festival. He will perform as a featured artist in the virtual festival, and he also just played for a smaller crowd at The Jazz Kitchen restaurant at East 54th Street and North College Avenue.
Pitts said he feeds off the history of jazz on Indiana Avenue, and his work today, to some degree, makes him feel part of that history. “I found there were big shoes to fill, but not in an intimidating way; it’s moreso building each other up. It’s like uplifting culture,” Pitts said.
Looking back, he said there’s even more musical connection with the artists from the 1950s, but also a similarity in approaching creative output.
“So, there’s a connection on what they were doing from a social, civil rights movement at the time and what we’re going through now with this whole Black Lives Matter movement and all that.”