Thanks to a collaborative effort between El Gato Azul, Flying Nest Movement Arts, and the Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center, people can enjoy a jazz club experience on the second Monday of every month.
There’s always been a desire for people in Prescott to have a place to dance, regardless of age, said El Gato Azul owner, Barry Barbe. With the summer jazz series at courthouse plaza, there’s always a crowd of people looking for a place to dance on a regular basis, he said.
Beginning Monday, May 14, and continuing through Monday, Sept. 10, the Top of the Elks series will feature a different band and vocals, performing for a jazz club experience, he said.
“All these guys are seasoned professionals as far as that goes,” Barbe said. “Some of them have had careers in jazz for years and years and years and have retired here.”
The doors open at 6 p.m., with music, food and dancing starting at 7 p.m.
Monday will see the Goodwin Street Gang. June through September will feature Desert Cats, the Mingus Mountain Boptet, Mint, and Mood Swing.
Tickets are $30 and include music, some dance instruction, dancing, food and a bar ticket. Admission can be purchased at El Gato Azul, 316 W. Goodwin St., or online at elgatoazulprescott.com. There will also be a cash bar.
The goal behind the series is to create a smoky jazz club feel without the smoke or the vape, Barbe said.
There used to be the Pine Cone Inn, but even that was a tiny dance floor, said Earl Duque, owner and instructor at Flying Nest Movement Arts. Duque said he’s been teaching dance for a long time and lately he’s primarily teaching lindy hop swing. That’s the music that’s primarily going to be played at Top of the Elks, he said.
“When I hear different jazz groups in town, a lot of them are playing that,” Duque said. “Then you get really great interaction between the dancers and the musicians. It spans the generations.”
Even people who don’t know how to dance are welcome as Duque will provide instruction, Barbe said. And not only does jazz span generations, but people into the jazz scene are generally nice people, he said.
“These people are interested in the product, and they identify with the music from that period,” Barbe said.
For more information, see the website www.prescottelkstheater.com or www.elgatoazulprescott.com.