Denver's jazz scene took big hits during COVID-19, including the loss of El Chapultepec, Le Cour and Live @ Jack's. But City Park Jazz, which was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic, is coming back with nine free shows in 2021.
The series, which launched in 1986, is celebrating its 35th season this year. In the past, concerts regularly drew between 8,000 and 12,000 people to City Park on Sunday evenings. Some would bring in picnics, while others took advantage of the food trucks around the park.
“We couldn’t be more excited right now,” notes Andy Bercaw, president of the City Park Jazz board of directors, in a statement announcing the return of the concerts. “Last year was tough for the whole world, so there’s no need to belabor the heartbreak. But Denver’s been on their game, getting vaccinated and pulling together as a community to lift each other up — and that’s what City Park Jazz is, after all: a celebration of community.”
Shows, which start on June 13 at the City Park Pavilion, will run from 6 to 8 p.m. (with the exception of the June 20 concert, which starts at 5 p.m.).
The 2021 lineup comprises a who's who in the Denver jazz scene. The schedule:
June 13: The Burroughs
June 20: Brass Band Extravaganza with Otone, Tivoli Club Brass Band and Guerrilla Fanfare
June 27: Annie Booth Big Band
July 4: Purnell Steen & the Five Points Ambassadors
July 11: SUCH
July 18: Chris Daniels with Freddi Gowdy
July 25: Celebrating Denver Jazz Heritage with the El Chapultepec All Stars, featuring Tony Black & Freddy Rodriguez Jr.
August 1: Nelson Rangell
August 21: Cast Iron Queens
The nonprofit organization that puts on the shows is currently on the hunt for volunteers, donors and sponsors. For more information, go to the City Park Jazz website.
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