One last chance to get jazzed |

One last chance to get jazzed

April E. Clark
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
April in Glenwood

Most people in Glenwood Springs know Summer of Jazz.

For 25 years, Glenwoodites – or is it Glenwoodians? – religiously planned their evenings around Wednesdays at Two Rivers Park. They’ve anticipated the free music like children wait for the ice cream truck in the August heat. Or my dog Elwood waits patiently for his walks. Quite simply, people love jazz.

I am one of those people.

I’ve lived in the valley now for seven years. Summer of Jazz is one of the reasons I love calling Glenwood home. For me, the midweek hump is sometimes impossible when work responsibilities and life’s demands get the best of me. Surviving the bill-paying process or meeting my professional goals can be overwhelming.

I won’t even touch dating.

Meeting up with friends for a free concert in the park keeps me going through the week. One of the best memories I have of Summer of Jazz is dancing in the park to Trombone Shorty and his band, Orleans Avenue, in 2006. That inspirational Summer of Jazz season paid tribute to the artists of New Orleans in the after-effects of Hurricane Katrina. I met, and interviewed, so many amazing and talented musicians who survived the ordeal with glory and grace.

My bills, work stress, and dating woes are so trivial in comparison.

Trumpeter Irvin Mayfield lost his father in the hurricane. Members of the Soul Rebels Brass Band lost irreplaceable instruments they’ve owned since the first grade. The Jordan Family lost their homes, instruments and belongings to Katrina.

I have no right to ever complain.

Trombone Shorty brought the spirit of New Orleans to Glenwood Springs in a fashion I haven’t seen since that night. He crowd surfed as sweaty dancers in the crowd balanced him in the air, swaying in unison. I wrote about it back then, saying co-organizer Mary Noone believed Trombone Shorty’s crowd surfing was probably a first for a Summer of Jazz show. I likened the night to a Mel Brooks comedy after a bad day at the office, noting music has an uncanny way of spreading cheer to those who need it the most.

What Wednesdays are all about in the summertime in Glenwood Springs.

Tonight is the last Summer of Jazz under Bob and Mary Noone’s watch. They’ve dedicated their lives to art. Without skipping a beat, Bob and Mary have booked artists from New Orleans and beyond to play our beautiful mountain town each summer for the last 25 years. They’ve brought smiles to so many faces it’s impossible to count the number. They are the city’s ambassadors of free, live music for the community. They are Glenwood Springs.

They are Summer of Jazz.

I admit I’ve had a little anxiety about the end to such an institution in Glenwood. Would it be the last time the people of Glenwood could gather in the park for free music? Would it really all come to an end when we all love it so?

But this is how lucky we are.

We have a vibrant Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts happy to quell those fears. Next June, music in the park will be back, with a revamped summer music series encompassing all genres of music including bluegrass and reggae, two of my favorites. I envision some crowd surfing, and plenty of sweaty dancers in the crowd.

Until then, let’s help Bob and Mary Noone go out with a bang. Bring your smiling faces and prepare to dance to The Stooges Brass Band.

It’s going to be the best Summer of Jazz ever.

April E. Clark had a blast hosting Last Friday Laughs at The Bayou, and it’s on again in August. She can be reached at

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