As one door closes, another one opens. Once again we have to say goodbye to Jazz in June, but Tower Jazz is just around the corner.
“Jazz in June strives for National and International acts, whereas Tower Jazz is regional and young talent.” said Spencer Munson, Jazz in June coordinator and co-producer of Tower Jazz. “We just want to keep the Tuesdays in summer momentum.”
Starting July 5, Tower Jazz’s free summer music series will appear at Tower Square on 13th and P streets. This year’s outdoor concerts will be held on Tuesday evenings from 7 – 9 p.m.
Tower Jazz performances will include established jazz musicians, while also featuring up-and-coming local talent. Audience members should bring a chair and pocket change to help support the artists.
“Jazz is such a big part of original American roots music, a subject I am fascinated by and think people should appreciate more,” Munson said. “It provides culture for our growing city, bringing all walks of life together. It is difficult to be successful producing a jazz concert at a bar inLincoln other than maybe the Zoo (Bar). Having an outlet like Tower Square gives us freedom to promote to a wider audience of families and age groups.”
Tower Jazz is A collaboration with JazzTimeSmoothRadio.com, Nebraska’s largest smooth jazz internet radio, and its founder James Terry, and this is its second annual concert series.
“James has been an integral part of keeping a jazz scene alive in Lincoln,” Munson said. “He spent a number of years helping foster our community radio, KZUM and continues to do so working with the University and various venues around town.”
Kicking off Tower Jazz will be a local band by the name of Swing Fever. Swing Fever includes Lincoln natives Jerry Renaud on guitar and vocals, Eric Toombs on drums and percussion, and Gene Davis on bass and vocals. Pance Zaev, from Macedonia, plays the clarinet and saxophone.
The band was formed six years ago when the group realized they had similar interests in playing jazz music. Swing Fever started playing for their own enjoyment, but over the past few years they have found much success in Lincoln. The band has appeared at Jazz in June, as well as Wilderness Ridge, The Zoo Bar and several wineries.
Their ultimate goal is to perform more in Lincoln and eventually move on to other areas too. The audience can expect an enjoyable performance from Swing Fever at Tower Jazz.
“We want the audience to have a good time, and that is what we expect from our performance at Tower Jazz,” Zaev said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to show what we can do for a fairly large crowd, and it helps continue to bring jazz to the city of Lincoln. We believe we have a unique style as we will perform some original music along with some jazz standards and some interesting jazz takes on some popular songs. We want the audience to have fun. We hope if they have not been familiar with jazz that they enjoy and appreciate it. If they are already jazz lovers we hope that they will enjoy our take on some standard and popular songs.”
Other performances will include Nicaulis Alliey, O Street Brass Band, Ed Archibald featuring Darryl White, CJ Mills & Guitars and Saxes and Bill Wimmer Trio.
This year Munson said the series will be adding more vendors in hopes of building the audience from the previous year and giving the audience a quality experience that is consistent from the year prior.
“I want (the audience) to fall in love with the music and with Downtown Lincoln.” said Munson. “This is the heart of this city, and I want Tower Jazz to be an event that knocks down musical and cultural barriers. We should celebrate the diversity, not only in the music scene, but also Lincoln’s cultural rainbow.”
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