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The Tip Jar

February 14, 2012

Having moved to Denton in late 2008, I came late to a steady diet of live Jazz. West Texas (Abilene), my semi-arid home for 40+ years, offered little or no Jazz (or its musical cousin Blues) except through collections of recordings and rare live performances (once the Abilene Philharmonic Pops Series brought in the Dave Brubeck Quartet!)

Soon after marrying my guy, Steve, and moving into a great house in town, we found our way to the local live Jazz headquarters – Sweetwater Grill & Tavern. We made Tuesday evening our date night and locked in a table on the SG&T patio around 6:30 p.m. most Tuesdays to enjoy two hours of live Jazz performances – from the quintessential Sweetwater Jazz Quartet and Drew Phelps & Friends to UNT visiting Jazz artists, Dixieland stylings by members of the Vintage Jazz Society of Denton and new Brazilian Jazz band “Brazuka.”

How do we Detonites rate such treasures?

Lot’s of dedication, hard work and passion for the art form.

‘Cause “there’s no such thing as a free lunch,” many people, most linked in some way to the University of North Texas Jazz Studies Division, have diligently worked, played and written about Jazz in Denton. Now the city is reaching out to these masters, musicians and enthusiasts.

Karen and Jimmy Meredith set the scene a few years back when they started offering free Live Jazz on Tuesday (and lately some Sundays). They pass the tip jar through the crowd each Jazz night, and though it filled, I know the split for each musician wouldn’t cover gas money.

But the care and feeding of our musicians is more than the tip jar – it’s the live forum and appreciative audience – and connection. (Read the Feed the Kitty post from “Jazz Lives”)

  • You’ll experience it during First Tuesday at Banter Bistro with Mister Joe’s Dixieland music, then at 9 p.m. Django Reinhart-inspired Gypsy Jazz and Swing with Le Not (Quite) So Hot Klub du Denton http://notsohotklub.com/. Dancers abound!
  • The Annual Denton Arts & Jazz Festival at Quakertown Park Denton Arts & Jazz Festival embodies the art form – bands, musicians and dance performances take turns on 6 Outdoor Stages (5,000 seating capacity each), 1 Indoor Stage (150-200 seating capacity), along with Roving Musicians (50-100 standing). Music and more flows over the landscaped paths as festival goers view colorful visual art while mnching goodies such as spicy, butter-drenched corn-on-the-cob.

Connect with Denton’s live Jazz, show your appreciation and fill the Tip Jar when it comes your way.-

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