Carmel’s trio of jazz musician sculptures is about to become a sextet.
The city this week will place all six of the lifelike sculptures, titled “My Sixteen-Year-Old Jazz Dreams,” by the late New Jersey-based artist J. Seward Johnson on a concrete platform on the west side of the Palladium performing arts center.
The members of the sextet are groundbreaking musicians Gene Krupa on drums, Jack Teagarden on trombone, Louis Armstrong on trumpet, Sidney Bechet on soprano saxophone, Milt Hinton on double bass and Hoagy Carmichael on piano.
The sculptures of Armstrong, Teagarden and Bechet have been on display at Carter Green since 2016. The city initially had the sculptures on loan before the Carmel Redevelopment Commission approved purchasing them in 2021 for $92,000 each.
The CRC in February approved a $430,000 contract to purchase the remaining three sculptures in Johnson’s set. The new sculptures are more elaborate, with Krupa on a five-piece drum set, Carmichael playing an upright piano and Hinton clutching a hefty bass.
Since 2005, Carmel has amassed the largest collection of Johnson’s lifelike statues outside New Jersey.
Most of Carmel’s statues by Johnson are from his “Celebrating the Familiar” collection. Johnson died in 2020.