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The bassman cometh back: Friends and fans of Durward "D." Minor no longer need to send correspondence to the Adams County Sheriff's Department to communicate with him. The jazz bassist and tuba player, who's been incarcerated since October on a DUI charge, was recently approved for a work-release program that allows him to continue performing while serving a reduced term. Minor now entertains the dinner crowd at Mel's Restaurant and Bar in Cherry Creek Monday through Saturday nights.

Minor's application for work release was initially rejected because the combined stage time he logged at three regular gigs -- at Mel's, El Chapultepec and Shakespeare's -- didn't add up to the thirty weekly hours the program requires ("House of Blues," December 12, 2002). In protest, Minor's supporters within the Denver Musicians Association picketed the jail in late December, accusing the sheriff's department of discriminating against musicians. But after he learned of the severity of Minor's troubles, Mel Master, owner of Mel's, created a full-time playing gig for Minor. And this time, Adams County agreed to the terms.

"It was absolutely ridiculous that they wouldn't let him out to do his work," says Master. "I think once they saw that I wasn't some sort of fly-by-night nightclub owner, that I'm actually quite a legitimate businessman and employer, they realized they couldn't say no."

We're D-lighted.

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