Java Moon hosts weekly jazz fest

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Photo by Maddy Clift

From Left: juniors Spencer Porden, Grady Craft, along with senior Max Marquis, and two unidentified community members are regulars every Tuesday night at Java Moon.

Walmart isn’t the only place to visit for some sundry people-watching.

Sheridanites can’t deny that it’s been said and heard that “there’s nothing to do in Sheridan.” But, keeping an eye open can prove complainers wrong. Every Tuesday at Java Moon on Main Street, “Java Jazz Jam” brings together musicians young and old to jam for the public. Usually getting started around 5:30 p.m., Java Jazz beats are bopping until 7:30, until the band packs up their instruments and the gracious Java Moon staff cleans up and closes at 8.

Java Jazz Jam co-founder Tom Saur says, “Java Jazz Jam started two years ago as a creative venue for musicians who like jazz. The idea of adults and students playing together in a coffee shop environment has wide appeal in Sheridan.”

Junior Spencer Porden, who has been playing guitar with the band since late October, says, “Everybody is welcome to come listen. Even if you don’t listen to jazz… it’s kind of cool to listen to a live band instead of an iPod or radio. It’s more fun!”

Java Jazz attracts a diverse crowd ranging from after-schoolers roaming the scene, bobbing their heads, lattes at hand, to families and small children with cinnamon-roll frosting on their noses. Grandma and grandpa might make an appearance too, there to enjoy the assorted sounds emanating from the classic downtown cafe.

Not only is the audience diverse, but the music isn’t limited to one genre of jazz music. The session is composed of everything from smooth jazz to big band hits, not to mention seasonal songs around holiday times.

This revelry isn’t to be mistaken for a weekly concert for only rehearsed musicians. All musicians are welcome to join in spontaneously. “[Java Jazz Jam] provides a creative outlet for musicians, and showcase for jazz talent. We have jazz vocals and instrumental solos most nights and enjoy a watching musicians improve their skills. It is open to anyone who wants to play and share their talent,” says Saur.

Saxist and SHS senior Max Marquis, who has been attending Java Jazz for two years, says “We play from two books with over 400 songs each. We sightread the songs, then anyone who wants to solo will improvise with the rhythm section after the first chorus.” Fellow musician and Sheridan High School student Grady Craft says, “Playing more is the best way to get better; the more you play, the better you understand the music.”