Charlie Ballantine (Guitar)
Born in the American heartland of Indianapolis, Indiana, Ballantine’s quicksilver guitar is all Fender Telecaster flux and flow, Deluxe Reverb danger and drive. Ballantine has two current releases: Life Is Brief: The Music of Bob Dylan and Where Is My Mind?, with two albums prior, all drawing from music and experiences documented long before he was born. Son of a blues guitarist who frequented “Indy’s” club circuit in the ‘70s and ‘80s, Ballantine has inherited the sound of the wind roaring across the plains, the desert heat of Route 66 and the lush colors of the Appalachian mountains. Ballantine’s guitar is spectral and haunting, his music an evolving tale of a young journeyman with big ears.
“I’ve always been attracted to the guys on the outskirts,” Ballantine says from Indianapolis. “Like John Scofield, Bill Frisell, and Jeff Beck; you can call the first two jazz, but a purist might disagree. And I like using distortion and delay and [different] vocabulary, not necessarily playing straight bebop. That’s what I’ve always loved, guys who are unique in their approach and who have their own voice.” Ballantine’s guitar sound and musical concept is majestic, sometimes as blinding as a setting sun yet hinting at the unknown, a dark Americana whose remnants remain if you know where to look. That Ballantine is exploring singular music is a given. Growing up in a musical household, Ballantine was exposed early on to the pop greats, but also the sounds of jazz, blues, pop and rock.
“My parents were born in the 50s,” Ballantine explains. “So I grew up kind of listening to the Beatles, Beach Boys, the Band. I have Sergeant Pepper on one shoulder and Wes Montgomery on the other shoulder, and Hendrix too. So I have all these things, these influences I’m trying to make sense of and give a sense of continuity.”
Chris Parker (Drums)
Chris Parker is a freelance musician and music educator from the Bloomington/Indianapolis Indiana areas. As a jazz drummer, he has performed with Jamey Aebersold, Greg Abate, Jim Snidero, Dave Stryker, Charlie Ballantine, Roger Pemberton, Frank Glover, Monika Herzig, and many others. Chris maintains a weekly private teaching schedule in addition to performing regularly. He has a newly released studio album under his name, “Moving Forward Now”. The record features Parker’s arrangements and compositions played by some of the Midwest’s finest jazz musicians; it is available on most online music platforms.
Jesse Wittman (Bass)
Jesse Wittman is an upright bassist, composer, and educator based in Indianapolis, IN. He has performed with Frank Glover, Matt Pivec, Rob Dixon, Charlie Ballantine, and countless other. Jesse also teaches jazz bass at Butler University and hold a masters degree in composition. Some of his original works can be heard on Matt Pivec’s album ‘Time and Direction’
Amanda Gardier (Saxophone)
Jazz saxophonist, woodwind specialist, and music educator Amanda Gardier is based out of Indianapolis, IN, where she performs regularly as a bandleader, a session musician, pit musician, and sideman. Amanda is a frequent performer at notable venues including The Jazz Kitchen (Indianapolis), Andy’s Jazz Club (Chicago), Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre(Carmel), and the Chatterbox (Indianapolis). She has performed at a variety of festivals including the Indianapolis Jazz Festival, Bloomington Jazz Festival, Penrod Art Festival, Fountain Square Music Festival, and more. Amanda performed for the Walt Disney Company as a member of the 2012 Disneyland All-American College Band. She has also performed for Holland-America Cruise Lines, Birch Creek Music Performance Center, Cardinal Stage Company, and Wood & Rodin Music Production. Throughout her career, Amanda has performed with Ingrid Jensen, Dave Stryker, Leni Stern, Wayne Wallace, Wess “Warmdaddy” Anderson, Jamie Baum, Tom Garling, Rosa Avila, Sal Lozano, and the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra.