Grantee Spotlight: Monday Night Jazz

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Joshua Bruneau Quintet performing at the August 1st Monday Night Jazz; photo by Maurice Robertson via the Hartford Jazz Society

For the record, I tried really hard to squeeze a Chicago reference in the title of this blog post; REALLY hard. However, these things can’t be forced; it needs to flow. Your writing should be smooth, and easy with a rhythm, kind of like jazz.

It’s difficult to put your finger on what makes Monday Night Jazz so special. Is it the talent it brings in? The tradition and history behind it? The way it transforms a mundane Monday into a whirlwind of brass instruments and melodies? Maybe all of the above. Why don’t YOU decide for yourself?

For nearly 50 years, the Monday Night Jazz series has brought world famous musicians and local inspiring artists together in downtown Hartford for free concerts in July and August. This tradition fulfills and maintains the Hartford Jazz Society’s mission: “to improve Jazz as America’s gift to the music world, and to foster in each succeeding generation an appreciation and love for Jazz in all its many forms.” The Monday Night jazz series helps to sustain jazz as a living art form and invigorate the cultural community by encouraging diversity, promoting quality performances, and all that jazz (there it is!) while encouraging economic growth in central Hartford.

What began as Monday night jam sessions for local artists soon began to feature professional musicians stopping by downtown Hartford after playing the clubs in Boston and New York on the weekends. With the support of the Garden Area Neighborhood Council, a jazz bassist, Paul Brown founded what is now known as Monday Night Jazz in 1967. At the time of its founding, Monday Night Jazz was called the Hartford Festival of Jazz. Every Monday night, Festival performances took place at the Garden Area Center. Today, in addition to a change of name, Monday Night Jazz is held in Bushnell Park to accommodate large audiences. In May 1999, the Monday Night Jazz series was recognized as a New England Legacy and is now in the Library of Congress as the oldest, continually free run jazz festival in the nation.

Fortunately there are TWO more Monday Night Jazz performances left in 2016! The opening act begins at 6PM and the headliner begins at 7:30PM; so grab some lawn chairs and head over to Bushnell Park on August 8th and August 15th for a little ‘Monday Night Jazz’.

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