Future remains sunny for Jazz in Glenwood Springs | PostIndependent.com

Future remains sunny for Jazz in Glenwood Springs

Stina Sieg
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler/ Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” As the rain let up at the last Summer of Jazz concert, Mary Noone had a few moments to reflect on the season.

“I think, you know, it’s been an interesting summer,” she said. “It’s been a tough one in many ways, but it’s been a fabulous one.”

That’s sure telling the truth.

This year’s batch of free jazz shows ” now in its 23rd year ” saw all kinds of extremes. On one hand, it hosted the likes of famous musicians such as Kevin Mahogany and Lenny Kravitz drummer Cindy Blackman. It also set the stage for a controversy about rowdy children, touched off by a heated complaint letter sent to the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. In addition, it had an increase in citations for infractions like underage drinking and pot smoking. It was the kind of season it would be easy to label “difficult.”

But Noone wasn’t about to. After starting this series almost a quarter of a century ago with her husband, Bob, she seemed a little too seasoned to be freaked out by those sorts of ups and downs.

“It’s like jazz is improvisational, this is improvisational,” she said. “You never know what’s coming up.”

She threw out there that maybe the rambunctiousness stemmed from the fact that the last two seasons have been nothing but New Orleans party music. Perhaps people had come to the park ready to get a little crazy. Instead, they were be met by the mature, classy sounds of musicians like Ahmad Jamal and Davell Crawford.

Whatever really went down, ultimately, Noone feels the community dealt with it well.

After making the lawn’s dancing area smaller, she thinks that attendees, on the whole, were more aware, more respectful of each other.

“I feel good about this community, that we can solve our problems,” she said. “We don’t need someone to come and do it for us.”

That’s not to say she still doesn’t have her pet peeves, though. As she talked, there was a big, bright sign reading, “No Dogs!” clearly visible in front of her. Still, three or four pooches walked by with their owners.

She was audibly tired of policing that sort of thing.

“Look at that,” she said, frustrated.

But again, isn’t that kind of unpredictability all part of the phenomenon she helped create?

Every year, she’s out raising money, searching for artists and meeting a varied collection of musicians who are “just sweethearts,” she said. She smiled and called this series her “fourth child.” When it comes to an end, she always finds herself a little “fahklempt,” she went on.

It’s also about the time she thinks about quitting this whole thing.

“I almost called my daughter in Seattle and said, ‘Come home, because this might be our last concert,'” she said.

Then, she added quickly, “But it’s not. It’s not. Bob and I just love music too much.”

She wasn’t about to speculate on how many years they might keep this thing going.

Putting it on is no small doing, and she explained that if some other amazing opportunity were to come up, she could imagine taking it. Yet, that possibility seemed far off in the future.

As the series’ last act, Kevin Mahogany’s Kansas City Revue, started to rev up, Noone got into the music and commented on its deep, rich sounds. Around her, people were eating dinner and talking ” and a few had even started dancing near the stage.

“We’re just going to keep putting on our music and hopefully the community will keep it together,” said Noone, looking right at home.

Contact Stina Sieg: 384-9111


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