Community music festival brings jazz lovers together

Mo Jazz Music Fest allows community members to share their passion for jazz music.

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Seated in the shade under the trees at Rose Music Hall, attendees at the Sept. 7 Mo Jazz Music Festival gathered to hear a selection of five bands. This was the second time the event was held in Columbia and the festival’s turnout increased almost 50% from last year, as reported by Jeff Bassinson, board president of Jazz Forward Initiative Inc.

Bands came from as far away as Chicago and as close as right here in Columbia. Audience member James Blankenship came to the festival for the first time to hear Loose Loose, whom he had heard before and enjoyed.

“It’s like fusion, it’s like a bunch of different styles in one,” Blankenship said. “But it’s still chill and has a nice vibe to it, so I like it.”

Also attending the event for the first time, attendee Cheryl Fleming hid from the sun under a rainbow umbrella. She had come out to the show with her husband for a date night and was excited to hear all the varying styles of jazz.

“I think it’s always great to have people come out for community events,” Fleming said. “It raises awareness of culture. It allows different people to mingle together if that's what they wanna do. Like, there’s a group of people just hanging out … It's always great to reconnect with friends as well. It's nice to have something to do and not just stay in the house all the time.”

As he moved along the stage trying to get the perfect photograph, Bassinson snapped pictures of the festival. Bassinson was glad to see the festival grow and get people interested in listening to music.

“Being able to listen to the music and then look around and see the people enjoying it, especially in this venue here at Rose Park, sitting on the trees, either on blankets or in chairs [was great],” Bassinson said. “I call it neck factor if they start bobbing their head to the music then you know you’ve captured them, so that's one of my favorite things to see.”

The free family-friendly festival was an opportunity for attendees to sit back and enjoy different versions of their favorite jazz music.

Edited by Janae McKenzie | jmckenzie@themaneater.com

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