The Purdue University North Central Sinai Forum will conclude its 61st season Sunday, Dec. 14 with a performance of swinging jazz mixed with a lively discussion of the art of improvisation and the essence of jazz with John Clayton on bass and Jeff Hamilton on drums of the Grammy-nominated Clayton Hamilton Orchestra. They will be reunited with their musical friend, Michigan City native, Dr. Peter Bankoff on piano.
This will be presented at the Stardust Event Center at the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City. The session begins at 4 p.m. Doors open at 3 p.m.
For this final performance of the season, tickets are $25 with an advance registration as a special opportunity to get to know the Sinai Forum. Call 219-771-9022 to reserve a seat. Students who show a valid school I.D. are admitted free of charge.
In 1986 Clayton and Hamilton joined forces with Jeff Clayton on saxophone to form the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. But a decade or so prior to that, John and Jeff were students at Indiana University and became close friends with Bankoff, who attended the IU School of Music. Bankoff, the son of the late Dr. Milton and Sylvia Bankoff, the founders of the Sinai Forum, grew up in Michigan City and studied both piano and viola. He attended high school at Interlochen, Mich., Arts Academy and performed with the Michigan City Symphony, arranged and directed music for the Miss Indiana Pageant and played piano for renowned composer and conductor Henry Mancini.
Following his graduation, Bankoff chose to pursue another passion of his – medicine. Inspired by his father and other physicians in his family, he became an anesthesiologist. He practices with one of the largest anesthesia specialty groups in the country. And while the group hasn’t played together in some 40 years, Hamilton asked Bankoff to surprise Clayton when he was guest of honor at a jazz party in Phoenix a few years ago. The result was a performance that brought out the same exuberance and joy that they shared as college students.
The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra has recorded six CDs: “Groove Shop,” a Grammy award nominee; “Heart & Soul;” “Absolutely!” “Explosive! With Milt Jackson” and “Live At MCG.”
Sponsors for the season include The Times Media Company, Duneland Health Council, John W. Anderson Foundation, Franciscan Alliance Northern Indiana Hospitals, Kankakee Valley REMC and NIPSCO.