Indiana's Music Brox

Indianapolis Intergalactic Airport (Acme Records)

by Tim Roberts

Monika Herzig, a Bloomington, Indiana keyboardist/music professor and her guitarist husband, Peter Kienle, have gathered a number of Indiana University's best jazz performers to create Indianapolis Intergalactic Spaceport, a recording with all original be-bop and fusion tunes. The band takes its name from Zaphod Beeblebrox, the two-headed President of the Galaxy in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and its sequels, a science-fiction series popular throughout the last decade.

Most of the fusion selections on Spaceport, the band's fourth release, sound uncannily like works from Weather Report. And the influence is there not only in sound. On the next-to-the-last page of the CD booklet is a tiny picture of Weather Report in a photograph montage. It is more of a tribute than a copying of style.

But don't think that BeebleBrox has loaded up a disc with imitative music. The third track, a sexy, slow-burn blues called "Let's Fool One," won the 1994 Best Original Song Award from Downbeat magazine. It begins with a set of sax riffs from Tom Clarke, then moves into a slow four-beat blues that takes its sweet time. And there are plenty other treats, too.

Throughout the short, gentle "Sherrie's Song" is a tone of longing brought forth from Monika's solo piano work. The next track, "Wayne's World," continues the subtle, soft tone from "Sherrie," but features more of Tom Clark's sax work, Peter Kienle's guitar, and Danny Kiely's bass. The tempo picks up with "Chatterbox," a tight fusion-funk written as, no doubt, a tribute to the Indianapolis club where the band has its regular gig. This one features Jack Heisley on bass and Peter Wilhoit on drums.

The entire recording contains superb production and musicianship. It is a fine, fitting tribute to its inspiration and has lots of places that show some truly original work. Plus they care about their listeners. On the back of the CD, next to the copyright notice, is a warning: "Do not try to stick thumb through hole in CD."

BeebleBrox cares about you. And they care about their music.