Local jazz takes Main Gate stage

The Friday Night Live Free Jazz Concert series, located at Geronimo Plaza, highlights local jazz musicians from April through August. In its seventh year, the series looks to promote a sense of community

File Photo/The Daily Wildcat | The Daily Wildcat A live jazz concert at Main Gate Square during the Friday night jazz series. This band, similar to Butch Diggs' band, performs relaxing music for an eager crowd of locals on University Boulevard.

The Friday Night Live Free Jazz Concert series on Main Gate Square has been going on for over seven years and features a different jazz group every other Friday. The series begins in April and goes through early August each year. 

The jazz concert series “first began in partnership with SAACA, Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance, to bring great local music to the community and encourage everyone to explore Main Gate Square and enjoy all the shopping and dining we offer,” said Kris Siuda, marketing coordinator for Main Gate and the Marshall Foundation.

Siuda has been with the Marshall Foundation for three years. The foundation holds events that support higher education, youth programs, and arts and cultural organizations, according to the Marshall Foundation website. 

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Main Gate Square offers shopping and entertainment right next to the University of Arizona, between Euclid and Park avenues. 

“The lush Geronimo Plaza where the concerts take place offers a great outdoor shaded area and is really close to many great dining choices for our concert goers,” Siuda said.

The audience at one of the free jazz concerts held every other Friday evening at Main Gate Square. These concerts are a chance for patrons to eat, drink and relax on University Boulevard accompanied by great jazz music.

In preparation for The Friday Night Live Jazz Concert series, the event coordinators work with Jonas Hunter Productions, setting up scheduling and booking the talent several months before the series starts. 

Siuda and other coordinators use media partners such as KOLD 13, KVOA 4 and KXCI Community Radio to promote the upcoming festival. Jonas Hunter Productions is in charge of the sound production and lighting for each event, and Main Gate Square staff set up the staging and seating.

Local talent is recognized at the event, and with locally owned merchants in attendance, it’s a great fit, according to Siuda.

Most performances last 90 minutes, and paired with delicious food from nearby local restaurants, the evenings provide a great way to begin the weekend, according to Visit Tucson.

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“There are crowd favorites we invite every year or two and we also try to find new talent as well,” Siuda said about the performers.

Jonas Hunter Productions is responsible for putting together an “intriguing schedule” featuring Tucson’s broad range of music styles including smooth, modern and Latin jazz. 

The coordinators of The Friday Night Live Jazz Concert series hope the event offers a reason “to go out and enjoy their Tucson summer nights.” 

There are two jazz acts remaining this summer, according to the Main Gate Square website. 

July 27 will feature Chillie Willie Groove, a band that aims to give Tucson a taste of Percussion Jazz/Funk. 

Chillie has played with countless salsa, smooth jazz, funk, soul rhythm and blues bands and now gospel bands, according to the Main Gate Square website. 

The last opportunity of the season to come to The Friday Night Live Jazz Concert series is August 10, where the Rezonators will perform a set with a New Orleans Brass Band flare. 

The Main Gate Square website said that “The Rezonators Brass Band is here to take music to the streets of Tucson when and wherever possible. Along with drums, you get a double dose of saxophone, trumpet, trombone and tuba.” 

The Friday Night Live Jazz Concert series event is free and parking validation is offered in the Tyndall garage so all can come and check out the festivities.

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