Springfield State Journal-Register
Thursday, November 4, 2021
|Friday night jazz series returns with new name, venue
By Janet Seitz
Upcoming Friday Night Jazz bands
Nov. 5 – Chahrm with Ada Lou
Nov. 12 – Smooth n’ Blue Band
Nov. 19 – Stumpy Joe
Nov. 26 – Frank Trompeter Quartet
The Springfield Area Arts Council is sounding the horns for jazz again.
Uptown Friday Night, a year-round series of jazz concerts held at Robbie’s Restaurant for decades, went on hiatus in March 2020 as a result of the pandemic. Then Robbie’s owner Archer Bailey retired, leaving the Springfield Area Arts Council to search for a new venue.
With musicians and audiences coming out, the jazz series resurrects as Friday Night Jazz and will be held at Boone’s, under new ownership but still locally owned, at 301 W. Edwards St.
The council’s executive director, Sheila Walk, said the new series retains much of the old. ‘We wanted to remain downtown and in a place that is comfortable having live music. It had to be accessible and family-friendly and have food and drink available for purchase but not charge admission. Plus, the venue had to have the appropriate music license and fairly easy parking.’ The 5:30-7:30 p.m. timeframe remains the same.
Walk said this month’s bands are familiar to many, but new bands will debut as the series continues. Generally, a band will only play once a year. This Friday’s event kicks off with Chahrm, known for traditional jazz, vocals and instrumentals.
Walk said the plans are to produce the jazz series year-round indoors or outdoors, keeping health concerns in mind for musicians and audiences. Smooth n’ Blue takes the stage Nov. 12. ‘My groups — Smooth N’ Blue Band, Smooth N’ Blue Duo, Angel Brown Trio, Angel Country Band,’ said Angel Brown, ‘have been most fortunate to continue to perform with the exception of a four-month period when nearly everything was shut down. We have maintained a cautious, considerate approach to performing — masking and distancing in conjunction with vaccines — to protect our venues as well as their patrons. Every venue appeals to a slightly different demographic. We look forward to the opportunity to share our music with a new audience as well as those loyal friends who already follow us.’
‘This program helps the Arts Council fulfill its mission to enrich the community through the arts, Walk said. ‘It’s the kind of everyone wins’ scenario we try to create. Area musicians get paid. The venue attracts more customers. The attendees are entertained. The Arts Council provides free public concerts. Everyone benefits.’
Ada Lou Rogers smiles at the audience as she performs with Chahrm the Band with Ada Lou at Lincoln Land Community College on Feb. 3, 2016. Joining Rogers were were John T. Crisp Jr. on keyboard, Alex Rogers on guitar and Jaro Howse on drums. File/The State Journal-Register