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The Clyfford Still Museum summer concert series lineup

Clyfford Still was one of the 20th century's most innovative artists. That doesn't mean the artist didn't have a love for music. Still's fondness for blues, jazz, classical music and more is part of the inspiration behind the live performance series set to hit his eponymous Denver museum this summer.

Now in its third year, the series is a joint effort between the Clyfford Still Museum and Swallow Hill Music. Free outdoor performances by the Springdale Quartet, Jayme Stone and Fierce Bad Rabbit will bring a different element of expression to the modern art museum. Museum directors hope the shows will continue to add a new kind of ambience to the Golden Triangle neighborhood.

According to museum director Dean Sobel, the partnered shows with Swallow Hill are a chance to break the stuffy-art-museum stereotype and shed some light on Still himself.

"We were looking for ways to activate our beautiful forecourt and add vibrancy to the Golden Triangle neighborhood during the summer months," Sobel notes in a release. "Music seemed like a natural fit. Still had a deep interest in a variety of musical genres, from classical to blues and jazz. Denver has a thriving music scene, and many of the local artists embody the artistic spirit of Clyfford Still."

Two of the three featured artists in the series' lineup are local. The Denver-based Springdale Quartet has roots in the realms of classical, jazz and blues, but their instrumentation runs the gamut from organ to electric guitar. Fierce Bad Rabbit, meanwhile, is one of the local scene's brightest indie rock outfits, fusing country, folk and Americana elements. The two local outfits will share the bill with Jayme Stone, a Canadian banjoist known for his complex compositions and his novel approach to an old instrument.

Together, the three acts represent a wide range of musical styles, a mix that's old hat for the folks at Swallow Hill. The music school has been all about bringing together different genres since it opened in 1979. Still, this partnership with the Clyfford Still Museum is only part of a much bigger campaign to expand its reach beyond its historic center on Yale Avenue. Earlier this year, the school opened a satellite school in the Lowry neighborhood and announced a supporting role in the Arvada Center's summer concert series.

The Springdale Quartet is set to play on June 6; Jayme Stone will perform on July 11; and Fierce Bad Rabbit is scheduled for Aug. 1. All performances will take place at 5:30 p.m. at the Clyfford Still Museum, 1250 Bannock St.

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A.H. Goldstein

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