Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Bruce Warren

Jazz On 2nd Ave “Fantastic”


September 20, 2017

Bruce Warren

The Adam Bodine Quartet performed Saturday afternoon.

Howard Treppeda, founder and chief organizer of Niwot’s Jazz on 2nd Ave, was more than pleased with the seventh edition of the event, held in downtown Niwot, Sept. 16. “Fantastic, fantastic,” was Treppeda’s quick response when asked how the event was going.

The day opened with cloudy skies and cool weather, but Treppeda was not worried. “I feel confident with the tents and the fanbase. There’s a jazz family, and they’re going to come out rain or shine.”

As the day warmed up, so did the music. The Niwot High School Jazz Band, under the direction of Wade Hendricks, opened the program at 2 p.m. on Saturday, and the audience was impressed with the quality of the performance. “These kids are really good,” Gunbarrel resident Gary Gates said. The high school band traveled to New Orleans last spring for a jazz festival, and received superior ratings at the Skyline Jazz Fest and the UNC Jazz Fest.

Gates and his wife Charlotte took time off from remodeling a rental property to enjoy the music. Gates said, “Thank you for hosting this in Niwot. It’s a wonderful event we look forward to every year.”

The Adam Bodine Quartet followed the Jazz Band, featuring Bodine on keyboards and a talented saxophonist who kept the audience intrigued with where he would take the music next.

Next up was BLT, with special guests Joey Gulizia and Gary Regina. “They’re a big part of our jazz education program,” Treppeda said. “They have this Caribbean jazz band that will be playing steel drums. They’re out of Vail.”

The Niwot event is put on by the Colorado Jazz Group, a charitable organization that partners with local and international artists. A big part of the organization’s mission is jazz education, which brings professional musicians into schools to work with young students. In 2017, three area elementary schools, Niwot Elementary, Sacred Heart of Boulder and Ryan Elementary, hosted professional musicians who performed, taught and supervised practice as part of the Jazz Goes to School program, which is now in its 19th year. Gulizia, with BLT, is the founder of the Jazz Goes to School program.

The Dave Stryker Organ Trio followed up, absent Dave Stryker, who was unable to attend due to a leg injury. Jeremy Crosby, a guitarist, drove up from Broomfield to see Stryker, whom he knows, and was disappointed that he couldn’t appear. But Crosby, who heard about the event from a friend he works with, stayed for the jazz music, and enjoyed the concert.

Poncho Sanchez, the featured artist, had never been to Niwot before this week, but he felt the vibe in the town, according to Treppeda. “He’s a nine-time Grammy Award nominee and winner and he could feel the spirit in Niwot.” Sanchez brought Latin American and South American influenced music, melodies and rhythms to Niwot with his band. Sanchez cites conga drummer and composer Chano Pozo and jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, whom he played with on numerous occasions, as among the most prominent influences on his music.

Booking national acts can be a challenge for a small town festival, but Treppeda credited jazz station KUVO for connecting him with Sanchez, as well as promoting Niwot and the jazz festival repeatedly on air.

Food trucks, Avery Brewery and a wine and drink bar gave the event a casual, but festive ambiance.

Sixty volunteers from the local community were on hand to make sure things went smoothly, starting at the entrance, assisting with security, and doling out information.

Bruce Warren

Jazz on 2nd Ave founder Howard Treppeda enjoyed visiting with jazz fans.

Tickets for the event were $20, and patrons were happy to support the event and its mission of jazz education. Last year was the first year with an admission charge, but the event remains popular with jazz lovers and local residents, earning an award from Westword as the best jazz event outside of Denver. Additional funding comes from the Niwot LID and numerous donors and business sponsors. All of these sources, along with ticket revenues, have enabled the charity to make ends meet, and provided enough leftover funds to support the educational program.

Treppeda is already thinking about next year’s Jazz on 2nd Ave - what the line-up of artists will be and how to enhance the event. He’d love to see the occasion include more arts and crafts vendors,with an all-day education stage where student musicians could learn from professionals, and have the weekend’s performances conclude with a Sunday morning gospel choir. Treppeda said, “You’re only as good as the town you’re in, and Niwot has so much to offer, it made for a great day of community that included food, spirits and music.”


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