Longmonters love music but they do not have enough venues to enjoy a night of live entertainment, said a local music producer. All that could change with the start of a new jazz series at The Times Collaborative in downtown Longmont.
Starting Friday, the “Jazz at the Times” series will occur every other month through the end of the year. Each event will spotlight a small jazz group accompanying a different featured soloist, offering a variety of sounds and experiences, said Tim Gulsrud, executive producer of the Sound Post Sessions, a monthly listening room concert series that takes place at Longmont Public Media.
“The sounds will make an ‘unplugged’ format with minimal amplification,” Gulsrud said in a news release. “We want to create a comfortable listening environment for the audience — similar to our other listening room shows — while keeping the vibe relaxed and informal.”
The “Jazz at the Times” series is a collaboration between Gulsrud and Karyna Balch, who recently joined the team at the Soundpost Sessions as the new Director of Artistic and Digital Strategy, Gulsrud said. A jazz vocalist by trade, Balch has worked professionally in San Francisco and Dallas before moving to Longmont last September, according to a new release.
Longmont is ready to support “Jazz at the Times” because it is home to a large community of musicians and music lovers, Gulsrud said. The success of recent events like the Spring Walkabout Music Showcase is a strong testament to that, he said.
“I think that there is also a lot of interest right now in being able to reconnect in-person with the local community, and live music is a great way to do that,” Gulsrud said.
However, Longmont does not have many designated music venues where live music is the focus, rather than the supporting act, he said.
“We see this as an opportunity to bring something new to the community and also to create more late night and date night options for those who are looking for something unique and elegant to do on a Friday without having to drive to Denver,” Gulsrud said.
The premier concert on Friday will be an intimate duo performance, with Balch on vocals, joined by pianist, composer, arranger, producer and educator Charles Blenzig, according to the news release.
In the mid-80s, Blenzig joined the legendary Gil Evans’ Monday Night Orchestra that performed weekly at Sweet Basil Jazz Club. Blenzig has performed with Michael Brecker, Marcus Miller and Bill Evans (saxophonist with Miles Davis), among others, and has toured extensively throughout the world as a leader and sideman, the news release states. Blenzig was a faculty member at the SUNY Purchase Conservatory Jazz Department until recently relocating to Longmont, the news release states.
The Times Collaborative is a co-working space that opened in March 2021, and offers drop-in work space, private offices, conference rooms and food establishment-certified kitchen space for culinary professionals.
Owner Heather Marvin offered the space as a venue for the Spring Walkabout Music Showcase in April, and also hosted a successful unofficial afterparty following the festival’s final acts, the news release states.
Marvin jumped at the chance to collaborate with the Soundpost Sessions team on the jazz series. “I am very excited to bring the ‘Jazz at The Times’ series to downtown Longmont,” Marvin said in the news release. “We envisioned The Times Collaborative as a place that purposefully gathers a breadth of people for a single goal — work or play related. A jazz club is a natural fit for the aesthetics of the building and the mission to bring diverse experiences to the community.”