Inaugural U City Jazz Festival Draws Jazz Lovers, Young and Old
The first U City Jazz Festival was held at Heman Park
"I love jazz," said Curtis Norman, who attended the festival with his wife.
"We heard about in on NPR, and it sounded like fun," said Randy Geary, another attendee.
Event organizers (and brothers) Michael and Rob Silverman can be counted in the many jazz enthusiasts at the event, as they are both musicians and played a set during the festival.
"We wanted to celebrate the rich musical diversity of University City, and also give back to our community," Rob said.
The Silverman brothers are both University City residents and graduates of University City High School.
"A U City jazz festival is long overdue," Michael said. "We want to thank Mayor Shelley Welsch and Ewald Winker of the parks and recreation department for their help in getting this together."
The event was officially sponsored by the City of University City, in addition to local businesses and media outlets such as Autumn Hill Jazz (the Silvermans' record label), Vintage Vinyl and the Riverfront Times.
From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., attendees could hear and see live jazz music performed by six St. Louis area groups. Additionally, there were several sponsor booths, along with food booths from Market Pub House, Shu Feng Restaurant and Whatsmokin'? barbecue.
The morning started with a jazz clinic hosted by Bill Lenihan, Washington University's director of jazz studies. Lenihan played guitar and was accompanied by Kara Baldus on the piano and Maurice Carnes on the drums. During their set, Lenihan explained the technical aspects of jazz and emphasized its reliance on improvisation.
"Instead of sticking with what we planned to do, we change it," Lenihan said. "It's all in the improvisation of jazz."
The highlight of the festival seemed to be the presence of Jeanne Trevor, who is known as St. Louis' first lady of jazz.
On Thursday, Mayor Welsch signed a proclamation declaring Saturday, Sept. 24 Jeanne Trevor Day in University City.
Before Trevor performed Saturday evening, Welsch appeared on stage to address the crowd and give Trevor a copy of the proclamation.
"I'm honored to be with you on this glorious night," Welsch told the attendees before reading her proclamation and handing it over to Trevor, who was met with applause and cheering.
"All I can say is thank you," Trevor said to the mayor and the crowd. "I'll say it with music next."
Trevor performed the last set in the festival to a crowd of hundreds.
From this year's attendance and comments made by the organizers, it seems as though this event will become a yearly staple on University City's calendar.
"I can't tell you how much I appreciate you all being here," Michael Silverman said while onstage performing with his group, Michael Silverman's Classical Jazz Quartet. "We'll see you next year."