Central Jazz a huge success!

Filling the streets with music, food, drink, and dancing

By Jaclyn Schrock

Perpetual positive comments and smiles filled Central City’s Main Street, Saturday, June 9th. Central Jazz is the ‘reboot’ of the 1976-1992 Central City Jazz Festival enriching traditional fine arts culture which attracted a good crowd to one of Colorado easiest to access original historical destinations.

Free contemporary Jazz music and vendors on the street, closed to vehicle traffic for the day by Central City Council invited many locals and those from down the hill to a pleasant day. The City Council also unanimously voted to allow the noise curfew to be extended to 11 pm. Gentle breezes ruffled the flags and kept folks cool. With some puffy white clouds to keep people and the flower baskets from getting beat down by the sun, comfortably cool, younger and ‘young–at-heart’ folks swayed or danced in response to the rhythms. Even the dogs on a leash were taking in the sights, with the smells that enhanced delicious food, and beverages with free jazz sounds. There was a sense of renewal in the town founded in 1859.

Central Jazz 2018 kicked off with free Jazz at the KUVO Lounge in the Grand Z Casino & Hotel Friday night, from 8 pm to midnight. Featured were Magic Beans, Cody Wales and Chris Duffy, Dynohunter’s Clark Smith, and Casey Russell and his Fat Tuesday House Band. The next morning, same place was the KUVO & Dazzle brunch with the Adam Bodine Trio (local guitar, bass and drum), from 11 am -1 pm. Later, after the outdoor events at the same location, local musician Christopher the Conquered performed at 8 pm, and the Fat Tuesday House Band played again from 9-12 pm.

Free on Main Street from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm were many local Jazz bands: The Midnight Club somewhat rockers, unique, jammers; The Copper Children, The Organization with teaching experience, and Venus Cruz, singing with her new band, but also known for her Wednesday evening shows on KUVO blending electronics in jazz.

Main Street was quite festive with the summer flowers, the charming old buildings, the brick street, meandering people and the many appropriate tents with local and cultural opportunities. There was a great selection of tasty food and beverages available outdoors as well, to compliment the indoor favorites of locals. One area was even set aside for relaxing with massages. All this in a welcoming day filled with the sounds of Jazz.

Jazz is style of music originating in New Orleans the same time the gold and mining was booming through Central City and other Westerns US mining towns. It is uniquely American. The distinctive tones, colors, and performance techniques, strong, prominent rhythm often move from medium speed to fast, but also slow with changeups in tempos and time. Jazz has cross-rhythms, quick staccatos, chromatic harmony, and soothing sultry vocals. Jazz also employs the abstract concept of harmonic rhythm. A jazz group is completely unpredictable with bursts of improvisations and delicately arranged melodies. Syncopation by the bass and/or often drums brings creative surprises to the beat characteristically found in Jazz. This is the jive that brings the future to the past. This is Jazz – uniquely American!

The guests who came through the ticket booth next to Dostal Alley for their festival wrist band were thrilled to get drink tickets filled from the bars provided on Main Street and Teller Lot. Orange bands were able to feast on the sights and sounds from 4:30-10:30 at the amazing line up on the Teller Lot Stage: JMB, Adam Deitch Quartet, George Porter Jr and Runnin Partners, NOLA Central All-Stars, and Dragon Smoke. Details of these groups are renowned and available online at

The after party in the Teller House featured MLIMA, Cycles, and Juno What?

Between the syncopated rhythms and jams of JMB in the early evening before the Adam Deitch Quartet took the stage in the Teller House Parking lot where the stage was set for the main show, a few folks with happy ears gave some comments for the Weekly Register-Call.

Gary, who saw me taking notes struck up a conversation. We talked of coming up to Central City while we were both in high school. He shared fond memories of coming to the Jazz Festivals in the pre-gaming years in Central City, as well as the many places to listen to music year round. “I just came to Central City for a drive a couple weeks ago. A lady in a shop I went into told me about the festival, and gave me a poster to invite my friends. We were very impressed with the line-up listed. The crowd is not oversized for the event which makes it a better for everyone.” Eyeing the spontaneous dancers he said, “it is a good crowd… and the sloped Main Street” (for the Dazzle Main St Stage with the tented vendors) “ the charm of historic buildings is a good sound guide for the whole street. Also, the Teller Lot stage is well suited for a crowd this size to get the great sound of these amazing musicians.”

Mike’s companions recommended his opinion as a concert “guru.” Mike frequents festivals and concerts locally, but mostly at Red Rocks and Boulder Theater. Mike says, “This is a perfect venue. It is in the mountains, so pleasantly cool. The acoustics are fantastic, the mountain slope and buildings keep the sound surrounding the crowd.” When asked why he came, Mike said “I came to hear some good funk music from New Orleans. We took the festival bus up the hill because we could find no hotel rooms in Black Hawk, Central City, Idaho Springs or Golden.”

Jason came with them and was so happy to have such a great variety of food and music. “This is a phenomenal group of musicians! The artists got the word out on social media, so their “cult followers flocked to the scene.”

Others spoke of the initial challenge to find information about the event. They were thrilled to get the specifics of the event and jump right in with their friends. They were happy with the access to be able to get in and out as needed from the ticketed parts of the event. The street festival and the other free events were also an attraction for them. They were glad to know they could bring chairs and whatever else they wanted.

A mom in town from north-western Illinois to visit her son and his fiancée was very comfortable having acclimated to the altitude before her accent to the cool mountains for the day. They were enjoying the day with the details of what it took to prepare for the festival, and they had many positive comments including the enjoyment of the available beverages and food with the music.

Some of the Wild Bunch participated in Central Jazz being recognized for the part history played in creating and maintaining this community. Members of Central City’s Wild Bunch walked around dressed in 1880 attire and talked with guests, reminding many of the City of Central’s history and ways of life. They look forward to June 16th to start off their gun-fighting theatre season at the Madame Lou Bunch Days parade, bed races, and dancing on Main Street next weekend.

Some that came to Central Jazz from New Orleans kept asking the Wild Bunch members what other areas of interest were available. They were encouraged to visit the shops, stop into the Casinos, read the historic plates on the buildings of Main Street. They listened to stories of the trains, miners, hard luck stories, simple living and high society. They went to the Washington Hall and the Visitor’s Center to get tour information of the Historical Museum, Coeur d’Alene Mine Shaft House, the Thomas House, and the Teller House. They came back after a while and then check out the Art Museum.

Everyone who spoke with this reporter said they appreciated the day and look forward to returning for more events arranged by Central Presents and Feyline. With appreciations extended to other partners of Central Jazz 2018, thanks and gratitude are offered from those who attended too from the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, the Central City Opera, 89.3 KUVO, Dazzle, Lagunintas Brewing Company, Media Sponsors, and LYFT.

Barry Fey is known for brining so many culturally rich opportunities to our area for decades with Feyline.  Having passed away in 2013, his son Tyler continues with Feyline’s reputation to bring the biggest names to local concerts. Jeremy Fey, another son of Barry, has recently moved with his wife Aida and daughter Aliah to the place he liked as a boy. He hopes to fill some of Central City’s historic, empty buildings with tenants. A long term dream is to compliment the original gaming opportunities in the historic mining town with not just the 1870’s cultural hub that remains in the Central City Opera House, but by bringing contemporary events as well. The hope of returning life and purpose to the many empty buildings as a world class destination for the Arts and Hospitality, with traditional cultural perpetuations of the past, present, and future is finding much support from most of the local community.

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