You can see Cleary now, then Jazz is gone | PostIndependent.com

You can see Cleary now, then Jazz is gone

April E. Clark
Post Independent Staff
Photo courtesy of Jenny Bagert
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When Bob and Mary Noone started Summer of Jazz 20 years ago, the stage was made of plywood. Borrowed plywood.

“The first season was at Centennial Park and I went to Big John’s and borrowed six pieces of 4-foot-by-8-foot plywood. … That was the stage,” said Bob, an attorney who, along with Mary, continues to volunteer for the weekly summer shows. “Then we would go pick up the musicians at the bus station. It was very low-key.”

Bob said the first year of Summer of Jazz, it entertained audiences of 20 to 30. Now crowds of between 2,000 and 3,000 converge on the grass to watch the eight-week series on the covered ” and permanent ” Two Rivers stage.

“Summer of Jazz is the longest running free jazz series in the Rocky Mountain region, and by free, I mean no cover charge. Nothing comes close to it,” Bob said. “We really focus on improvisational jazz and try to show how styles are encompassed by that phrase.”

Tonight at 7, New Orleans-based keyboardist Jon Cleary and his Absolute Monster Gentlemen band close the 20th Summer of Jazz season at Two Rivers Park.

“It’s funky New Orleans dance music,” Lee Frank, Cleary’s manager, said.

“He’s a great piano player, guitarist and vocalist.”

Bob said Cleary, who plays keyboard full-time with Bonnie Raitt, should create a festive atmosphere to round out the Summer of Jazz series.

“Bring your friends and be ready to dance,” he said. “It’s going to be a very fun finale for the 20th season.”

For more information about the concert series and to hear a sample of Cleary’s music, visit http://www.summerofjazz.com.


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