Catch some jazz in Glenwood
May 29, 2008
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado Bob and Mary Noone just wanted to meet people.Thats pretty much their standard answer to why they started the Summer of Jazz, which begins its 23rd year Wednesday.Listen a little longer, though, and Bobs got a story to add.Back in 1969, he was a teenager in Alexandria, Va. Nearby, Washington, D.C. was trying to recuperate from race riots. When the city decided to engage the community by hosting free concerts in Anacostia, Bob just had to check it out.So he borrowed his parents car and drove into an unsettled world of torched storefronts. He was one of the only white people around, and he was out and out nervous.Then he reached the park.There, people were hanging out, eating, sitting on blankets. The atmosphere was just as much about coming together as it was about music. All of a sudden, it wasnt so scary.This is very special, he remembered thinking. All these folks, reconnecting over picnics and Frisbees.
Almost 40 years later, that moment has stayed with him. Its something that he channeled in mid 1980s, back when he and Mary were looking to start something new in Glenwood. They wanted to create a block party, they explained, a place for people of all ages just to come and be.Bottom line is, its fun, said Bob. Each week, we get to enjoy our friends and enjoy music.People definitely go to work on Thursday with a smile on their face, added Mary. She tried to describe the scene at Two Rivers Park: the kids running around, the families eating dinner, the intent music listeners camped out right in front of the stage. With only two food vendors and one booth selling shirts, its an exercise in simplicity, she said.In her words, Were just having a good time.A few past performers agreed, wholeheartedly.I had a great time, echoed Bob French, in his gravely, Southern voice.The 71-year-old drummer (and third generation musician) heads the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band, which made an appearance last year. Since hes been at the helm of the band (which started in 1910), its played in Europe, South America, even at President Eisenhowers inauguration. But the only time hes been on the Western Slope was the Summer of Jazz.He sounded impressed.The people that were there seemed like they had a good time, he said. And we had a good time. We sort of related back and fourth.Marlon Jordan, wholl be making his second appearance at the concert series this year, was all about the energy of the event.The people were into the music, especially the young people said the trumpet player. And I love introducing new people to jazz.With his New Orleans drawl, the 37-year-old explained that the older he gets, the more eager he is to share this genre.Jazz is about life, he said. You have a few mishaps, you know. It makes the music better. Im just glad to be out here playing.It was still Bob and Mary who had the most to say about the Summer of Jazz, of course. They spent more than an hour getting fired up about the upcoming bands. Bobs eyes went especially big while describing acts like local Walt Smith, The Hot 8 Brass Band and Kevin Mahoganys Kansas City Review (a tribute to Big Joe Turner).The couple was also full of more stories, and Bob ended with one that seemed to perfectly capture this creation of theirs. He described bringing sax maestro Charles Lloyd to town, back in 2005. The musician was serious, asking Bob for complete silence from the audience. Despite Bobs best efforts, though, there were still kids running around and people creating a happy ruckus. Before long, Lloyd was accidentally hit in the head with a beach ball. When Lloyd asked to speak privately with Bob soon after, Bob braced for the worst.Instead, Lloyd thanked him royally.This is the most pure audience I ever remember playing for, he said.Bob was smiling wide as he recounted this. He and Mary both knew just what Lloyd had meant.Contact Stina Sieg: firstname.lastname@example.org