Apr 2, 2023 - News

Denver's historic Brown Palace is on a musical mission

Gabriel Mervine's quartet performs in the atrium of Denver's Brown Palace Hotel on March 7. Photo: Alayna Alvarez/Axios

Denver's historic Brown Palace Hotel is keeping jazz music alive in the heart of downtown.

Why it matters: The pandemic threw a wrench into an already vulnerable jazz scene by forcing live music shows to stop β€” and the industry has yet to recover nationwide.

The big picture: Jazz has deep roots in the Mile High City. The Five Points neighborhood was once dubbed the "Harlem of the West" for drawing legends like Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday into its clubs.

Zoom in: The Brown Palace's free jazz program started in 2011 with a trio of musicians on Friday and Saturday nights, entertainment director John Kite tells us.

  • About a year ago, however, the hotel's ownership group asked Kite to draw more people in throughout the week.
  • Now, music is flowing through the hotel every night.

Of note: Gabriel Mervine β€” the former member of the Denver-based hit band The Motet β€” was instrumental in making daily performances possible.

  • Around the same time Kite was asked to ramp up entertainment, Mervine's quartet had lost their gig at a downtown club.

What they're saying: "I just jumped on it. I was like, 'I can't let somebody else get them.' So I hired them right away for Tuesday nights," Kite says.

  • "They've brought so many of their regular customers with them. And now we're starting to see a lot of people who are new to this group and becoming regulars," he notes. "It's just been so cool."

πŸ’­ My thought bubble: I checked out Mervine's quartet on a recent Tuesday night, and they were fantastic β€” as was the sound quality of the hotel atrium. The experience is great for a date night, or even to sit back solo with a glass of wine.

  • H/t to Axios Denver reader Steve Roy, who tipped me off to this music series earlier this year at our two-year anniversary celebration. Great rec, Steve!
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