By Desiree Mathurin, Denverite | On a breezy Friday evening, on the front stoop of a house across from Sloan’s Lake Park, you can hear jazz musician Rico Jones practicing on his saxophone.
Jones has been playing since he was 11, so practicing is a daily thing but on this occasion he was practicing for a little “concert.”
The venue: the front yard of his parent’s home.
Rico Jones and Friends has been putting on performances in Sloan’s Lake since summer 2020, because the pandemic had shut down everything else.
No bars. No gigs. No live music. No social interactions.
Until Jones’ brother had a bright idea.
“One day my brother suggested, ‘Why don’t you invite some friends over to play in the front yard? You can do it socially distanced and it’ll be outside,’” Jones said. “I thought about it for a bit and decided to invite some friends over. We just played outside on the front lawn of my home.”
Jones said at first, a few people in the park would stop and watch before going about their day and cars would slow down and give the group a honk before driving off.
But soon, curiosity won and people started staying put. Equipped with blankets and chairs, Jones said residents from the neighborhood started sitting in the park to watch the mini jazz fest.
“Once that started happening, we said why not do this every week and play for the people in the community,” Jones said. “We kept playing and doing it for the joy of making music together, along with some human interaction.”
Jones said park goers would adhere to social distancing rules. Viewers could leave tips via cash jars or Venmo but Jones made it clear that money wasn’t mandatory.
It was a free event during a time where people craved something other than the confinements of their homes.
But not everyone enjoyed the shows.
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Read how they worked it out here: