The Cohen-Rutkowski Project


CRProjectMerrimans242The Cohen-Rutkowski Project is a high-energy acoustic jazz ensemble combining a large proportion of original compositions with classic pieces from the tradition. Listeners have drawn comparisons to the compositionally-oriented Dave Brubeck group, groovy hard-bop groups such as The Jazz Messengers as well as genre-expanders like the Roy Hargrove Quintet. The band regularly performs at Merriman's Playhouse (Fort Wayne) and in concert at the Indy Jazz Fest.

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The Cohen-Rutkowski Mix


CRMixSoda3317232wThe Cohen-Rutkowski Mix is an offshoot of the Cohen-Rutkowski Music collection, specializing in R&B and strong electric grooves geared toward the club scene. Tunes from Motown, Al Green, the Stylistics and Stevie Wonder on one end, balanced with the jazz response from groups like The Crusaders on the other. Add to the mix a generous dose of originals, and you have a recipe that has delighted audiences throughout the state. The band regularly performs at Club Soda (Fort Wayne) and at events such as the Penrod Art Fair Gala and private functions at the Indiana State Museum.

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The Cohen-Rutkowski Duo

The Cohen-Rutkowski Duo (saxophone and piano) creates an intimate yet grooving ambiance. Its repertoire is solidly founded on the Great American Songbook, but is very wide, incorporating the bebop and contemporary jazz idioms as well as classic R&B and pop. The duo regularly performs at such venues as the Bangkok Restaurant and Jazz Bar (Indianapolis), Tastings Wine Bar in the Conrad (Indianapolis) and Zionsville's Cobblestone.

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The Mix

The Mix is the ideal band for any event-weddings, parties, corporate functions, etc. With a huge repertoire equally based in the Great American Songbook, Motown and R&B, and the best pop, The Mix is guaranteed to satisfy the connoiseur in any field, from the discerning listener to the ballroom dancer to dancers who want to get down! Co-led by saxophonist Rich Cohen and keyboardist Chris Rutkowski and featuring the extraordinary vocalist Janet Hines-Norris, the band has already, in its short life, rocked audiences at venues such as the Woodstock Country Club (Indianapolis) and Music on the Monon (Carmel), the Indianapolis State Museum, and many more.

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Richstudiopic1Saxophonist Rich Cohen, originally from the east coast, relocated to the midwest for postdoctoral work in Physics at Notre Dame. Having been bitten by the jazz bug at an early age, Rich’s avocation has always been music, while his day job morphed from teaching Physics to developing help systems for software applications. Since relocating to the Indy area, Rich has continued to hone his musical craft, working with a number of established jazz artists such as Rob Dixon, Everett Greene, Monika Herzig, and Clifford Ratliff.



CRstudiopic3Pianist and composer Chris Rutkowski's life in jazz has its unlikely beginnings in London, England, where he had completed a degree in Philosophy, but it flowered in the artistic hot house of Detroit. Quickly connecting with the legendary trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, he wrote for and performed with his big and small bands. A lengthy turn toward the world of classical composition involved graduate study at Indiana University, which in turn lead back to jazz with study and performance with the great David Baker. Both worlds flowed concurrently, while he performed with luminaries such as Motown's Temptations, Darmon Meader (New York Voices), saxophonist Eric Alexander, and trumpeter Alan Vizzuti.

Listen to his music and find more information on his website.



JanetBW150Janet Hines-Norris is an award-winning vocalist, having won vocal competitions at both the local and national level. A native of South Bend, Indiana, Janet started her singing career at the tender age of 7, along with five of her siblings. During her formative years, she became a popular vocalist with community and regional groups. Relocating to Los Angeles to pursue a singing career, Janet performed lead and background vocals in several theatres and venues over a five-year period. Since returning to South Bend, Janet has become an in-demand vocalist, regularly performing at churches, conferences, political events, clubs, weddings, and major corporate events. She has been featured on recording projects in Detroit, Los Angeles, Chicago, Indianapolis, Elkhart, and South Bend. In addition to performing at locations throughout the U.S., Janet’s career has taken her to Mexico, Haiti, and London.




CassiusGoensdrums1Cassius Goens III, Assistant Professor of Music (Jazz Drums) at Ball State University, is a highly sought-after musician, clinician, and educator in the greater Indianapolis area as well as across the Midwest. As a performer, Goens is an active member of the Scott Routenberg Trio and throughout the Midwest with his jazz quintet Groove Theory. His performance ventures have taken him across the United States and Europe where he performed at the Montreux, Vienne, and Purugia Jazz Festivals. In 2011, he performed throughout Brazil as part of the Johnson County Landmark Jazz Ensemble and returned to Brazil in 2012 to tour with Brazilian guitarist/singer/songwriter Ricardo Coen. Goens has also shared the stage with world renowned jazz artists Chuck Finley, Buddy Defranco, Andy Martin, Marcus Printup, Karyn Allison, Don Aliquo, Wayne Bergeron, Dennis DiBlasio, Ted Nash, Michael Davis, Matt Harris, Rodrigo Ursaia, Jimmy Greene, Andy Milne, Phil Ranelin, Howard Levy, Tony Monaco, Walter Smith III and Slide Hampton. To date, Goens has appeared on 17 professional recordings, including an independent release of his own, Transition. Cassius is an educator, artist, and endorser for Sakae Drums and Remo Drumheads.

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FredWithrowbass1Originally from South Bend, Fred hit the road at age 19 playing with bands in clubs as far south as Orlando, Florida and as far west as Wichita, Kansas and points in between. He eventually landed in Indianapolis and within a few weeks was working nightly with legendary soul singer Lonnie Lester. He stayed with Lonnie for the better part of three years and also worked with singer Ezra Todd Shelton (Bob&Tom) during this period. Fred continued to play with various bands in the local and regional dance clubs and lounges for many years, widening his scope by becoming a regular fixture on the Indy jazz scene as well. Fred has played with most of the top musicians in the area and beyond, including a tour of Japan with the Chicago-based Bill Porter Band. He has also performed regionally with The Platters, The Coasters, The Four Freshman, The Vandellas (Martha Reeves) and many others.