I haven't lived in downtown Denver for very long - I moved here about six months ago. Still, I wonder why it took me so long to check out jazz at the park! It's not because I don't like jazz, I really enjoy it. I guess I just didn't realize how it can be the perfect way to wind down a weekend. Jazz in the park, at City Park, is definitely no big secret. Crowds of people come out to the park each Sunday summer evening and lay down blankets and gather so they can share food, wine, and live jazz music as the sun sets - a relaxing coda to the weekend.

Jazz at the Park. It's definitely no secret!

The best thing about it, is it is something that takes place for free! It can be as low key or uptempo as you please, depending on where one chooses to place them self in the park. The music can be heard even on the fringes of the park, so setting up away from the crowds can offer relaxing solitude. But if you want more action, you can set up closer to the stage. If you haven't checked out the scene yet, I highly recommend it!

The Video Killers

Of course, I didn't stop with Jazz in the park. I had to check out another free opportunity to see live music - this time at Cervantes' Other Side. The Empresarios returned to Denver last night, this time headlining their own free show. They were here last weekend, opening for the high energy funk band Orgone and through the week the Empresarios toured all over Colorado.

Some of the projected video.

Although the show was free, it didn't exactly have the largest crowd. I suppose being Sunday night had a lot to do with that. The show took a while to get going. The Video Killers put on a lengthy opening set - not that it wasn't any good - it just wasn't exactly what I came to see. The Video Killers consists of a member of the Empresarios, who is sometimes accompanied by a bongo player. The music is set to various videos that are projected onto the wall. The concept was good, but the execution didn't blow me away. The video clips began to seem repetitive, but it was cool to see a lot of old original music videos spliced other randomness.

The Empresarios

Finally, a little after eleven o'clock, the Empresarios took the stage. The first thing they did was give everyone who was there props for coming on a Sunday night, and then they tore right into their music. They focus mostly on Latin style music - salsa, cumbia, etc. - but they also deliver a good dose of funk and have a bit of reggae in their repertoire as well. The crowd was small, but very good as everyone who was there was getting down to the music. They played well into the night. I didn't catch the end of their performance - I left at about 12:30 - but there were still plenty of people on the dance floor, especially for a Sunday night.

It doesn't have to be expensive to find quality live music in Denver. The Denver music scene is bursting at the seams, it may take a little searching, but free opportunities like these take place all the time. The free offerings may not always take place at an ideal time, but if you are itching for live music, try taking the plunge sometime! There's really nothing to lose and you just may be surprised with how much fun you end up having.

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