"Every civilization is known by its culture, and jazz is America's greatest contribution to our world," says Tony Bennett. "It is our classical music. Jazz is spontaneous, honest and natural, and it is a celebration of life itself." Dozens of performers (not Bennett, however) will celebrate the birthplace of jazz at a music marathon this weekend at Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge (930 Lincoln Street); admission is a donation that benefits survivors of Hurricane Katrina now housed at Lowry Air Force Base. The festivities kick off at 4 p.m. Saturday, September 17, with the Fuller Family Jazz Combo, and continue through Sunday, with David Arthur and Robin Ruscio finishing up at midnight. Along the way, acts volunteering their time and talents will range from jazz vocalist Rene Marie (already booked at Dazzle, she's now donating her performance fees to relief efforts; reservations and a minimum donation of $15 are required for her sets), to an after-hours party with local DJs from 1 to 6 a.m. Sunday, September 18, to gospel music, to Mistura Fina with Andrew Hudson, to Purnell Steen and his Le Jazz Machine with Charlie Burrell.
Most of the acts are local, but Sunday will feature two sets by Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers -- a New Orleans act that's itself a survivor (reservations and a minimum $12 donation, which goes right to the band, are required). "My original mission was to get people down there playing again," explains Donald Rossa, manager of Dazzle. "When you think about them, they have no place to play; all their gigs are canceled." He e-mailed a dozen different groups but only managed to reach Dopsie and company -- who jumped at the chance to come to Denver. "They're working for the cover, and to make money to rebuild their lives," Rossa says. For complete information, go to www.dazzlejazz.com, or call 303-839-5100.
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There are other ways to have a good time doing good this week, too; clubs around town are offering discounts and deals.
The fourth and final installment of the Riverfront Wine & Fashion series, which runs from 4 to 9 p.m. Thursday, September 15, at the Millennium Bridge Plaza, had been retitled "Fashion With Compassion" and is now a benefit for Katrina survivors. The evening's activities include a silent auction; beer, a mojito bar and a wine-tasting; circus performers; mission music from DJ Chris House and fashions from the Skye (show starts at 8 p.m.); and an after-party at Monarck (1416 Market Street). For information, go to www.riverfrontfashion.com; admission runs from a minimum $20 donation to $1,000, and tickets are available at the door.
From 8:30 p.m. until closing on Saturday, September 17, Hemingway's Key West Grille (1052 South Gaylord Street) will host a Mardi Gras in September party put on by the Mile High Culture Club, with a special appearance by Jimmy Noonan; admission is a $20 minimum donation (which goes to the Red Cross, as will the proceeds from a silent auction). And Herman's Hideaway (1578 South Broadway) will have its own Hurricane Katrina benefit starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, September 21; among the bands tentatively scheduled are Mercury Project, Brethren Fast, Strange Condition, Twelve Cents for Marvin!, Savage Henry, Yo, Flaco!, Optimal Frequency, P-Nuckle, Boondok Saints and Kinetix. For details, call 303-777-5840.
But save some energy -- and cash -- because on Wednesday, October 5, dozens of bars and clubs will be part of Get Out to Help Out, the hip, flip side of the Colorado Restaurant Association's Dine Out to Help Out benefit helping victims of Hurricane Katrina. For a complete list of spots participating, go to www.coloradorestaurant.com.