JazzHop promotes local artsits, businesses
JazzFresno showcases local Fresno musicians and is a free event that takes place on the first Thursday of every month.
Amongst the many attractions Fresno offers, one includes JazzHop. Sponsored by the local group JazzFresno, it is an event designed to inform the public about Fresno's local musicians. JazzHop is a free event that occurs on the first Thursday of every month.
JazzFresno appoints musicians to restaurants downtown and in the tower district that participate in JazzHop. There, the musicians usually play for an hour. All of the JazzHops are located near ArtHops, so walking from dining to showcases is normal.
There is a wide range of artists who participate in JazzHop. Some of which include students of the Milestone Youth Jazz Workshop. Project Director Jim Page thinks this new program is part of JazzFresno's attempts to associate more music into the Fresno culture.
"The Milestones Youth Jazz Workshop is a project of JazzFresno and I agreed to run it for JazzFresno last January," Page said. "The motivation behind the program was to ensure that all kids have the opportunity to learn jazz, an original American art form. The purpose of the Milestones program is to remove barriers, and allow any young musician who wishes to do so the opportunity to learn how to play jazz."
"We never used to have live entertainment, and this has only been our fourth time. The restaurants do the JazzHops and the studios host the ArtHop; they're two events that have blended together. People come to enjoy a nice evening out and see what the musicians have to offer. The music works well on the patio and people want to come in and listen to the singer while eating." --Andy Parsch, owner of Zen Wok Fusion
Local artist Oklin Bloodworth, who plays the guitar and sings, has performed in the JazzHop during the last three events. Lately, he has been partnering with guitarist and vocalist Paul Alleman.
"I've played the guitar for the last 40 years," Bloodworth said. "I'll be playing with a fellow named Paul Alleman. We've been playing for a year and a half. Just For the Love of It is the name I give to my group."
Bloodworth's parents influenced him, as well as his siblings, to pursue his love for music. His first musical instruments consisted of cardboard, pots and pans.
"My mom and dad both sang and played, and my two brothers and I sang and played with them," Bloodworth said. "In those days they used to buy things with stamps and my mother bought them with green stamps. We learned how to play the guitar and how to play the drums on boxes, pots and pans, and so we wanted to be musicians one day."
Merlinda Espinoza, who has been singing for about 15 years, sings jazz along with her own original songs. She plays the guitar and focuses on singing in Spanish.
"Watching my teachers, learning to develop my voice and learning to play the guitar really inspired me," Espinoza said. "I started performing professionally at 15, and I got to tour with my teachers at different cultural events at state universities. I mainly started singing and playing the guitar through Mexican folk music, traditional music, country, jazz and a little bit of everything."
According to Project Director Jim Page, the aim of the new program is to mix more music into the Fresno area. Through this event, JazzFresno brings in musicians to different restaurants downtown and in the tower district.
Andy Parsch, owner of Zen Wok Fusion, is one of many that hosts musicians at the JazzHop. This has only been his fourth time having the JazzHop.
"We never used to have live entertainment, and this has only been our fourth time," Parsch said. "The restaurants do the JazzHops and the studios host the ArtHop; they're two events that have blended together."
Parsch says that the live music JazzHop attracts many people to his restaurant. With times and the names of artists listed on the doors of the restaurants, people come to enjoy a night out.
"People come to enjoy a nice evening out and see what the musicians have to offer," Parsch said. "The music works well on the patio and people want to come in and listen to the singer while eating."
The JazzHop attracts a variety of people to the event. A student at Fresno City College, Kenny Wong-Potter heard about the JazzHop in class. For concert reports, he and a fellow classmate came to the event.
"We are taking Jazz History and Jazz Appreciation class," Wong-Potter said. "Since it's required to have concert reports, this is just an event we can come too. We have heard of the JazzHop before, but this is our first time."
For more information about the JazzHop and its locations, visit JazzFresno's brochure, that is updated at the beginning of each month.The next JazzHop is scheduled for Oct. 4.
For more news articles, read the Sept. 6 article, FC community in danger of pollution.
For more articles on the JazzHop and ArtHop, read the upcoming opinion article by The Feather staff.