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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Classical jazz to be revived downtown

    Got a passion for classical jazz but can’t find a single place in Tucson that supports it? Look no further than Saturday afternoons in Downtown Tucson.

    Starting this Saturday, the Jazz Guild of Tucson will host weekly jazz concerts at La Placita Village, 110 S. Church Ave., and Beowulf Alley Theatre Company, 11 S. Sixth Ave.

    For people like program founder Tony Frank, this is an opportunity to bring classical jazz back to the concert setting.

    “”I have been involved in the jazz scene for 20 years,”” said Frank, who was the midday jazz jockey at 89.1 FM and 1550 AM KUAZ until 2003. “”It came to me one day: what an opportunity.””

    The concert series is part of a larger project – the Jazz Guild of Tucson.

    The Guild was established for musicians and fans of classic jazz, Frank said. It is a fully functioning organization that Frank hopes will be a lighthouse for musicians and will provide education for the public.

    “”We are bringing the music to the heart of the city,”” he said. “”It is really serendipitous.””

    Frank, who currently owns and operates Tucson Jazz Radio, an online jazz radio station, is passionate about bringing classical jazz back into the mainstream.

    “”We need to keep jazz alive,”” he said.

    His idea to start the concert series came after being disappointed with other jazz concerts around town.

    “”A lot of times you go to a jazz concert and they don’t play real jazz,”” he said. “”They will cover Motown and pop music, which are all valid forms of music, but are not jazz.””

    Frank said it is frustrating for jazz fans who want to hear the art form.

    “”If I were to go to a Sting concert and start playing Charlie Parker, they would boo me off the stage,”” he said.

    The jazz organizations already in town don’t provide a real concert setting for jazz fans, Frank said.

    “”It’s more like cocktail music in bars and restaurants,”” he said. “”This is much more intense. It really brings out the creativity and musicality of the artist.””

    The concerts will offer all types of American classical jazz including standard, Latin and blues, performed by local jazz musicians, Frank said. He also stresses that jazz isn’t just for older audiences.

    “”Jazz to me is that special kind of music that stirs the soul. It is not just for old people,”” he said. “”It’s an every-people music, it’s American music.””

    The first concert will be held Saturday at La Placita Village from 4-6 p.m. and will feature Lamont Arthur Quartet with SLY! and Pete Swan and Evan Dain on drums and bass. Tickets are $10 for the public and $5 for students. For more information, call 203-7901 or e-mail Tony Frank at

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