Every Wednesday, the Rhapsody Restaurant, 18 Public Square, Nelsonville, hosts a Jazz Night for its patrons to enjoy the classic and innovative sounds of jazz music.
The performers, Kay Carter and the Bernie Nau Quartet, perform their sets every week from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Jennifer Yanity, food and beverage manager at Rhapsody Restaurant, said the Jazz Nights started as a series of summer events and continued months later as regular events for the restaurant.
âThey started on July 14 and (the artists) were trying to bring something to Nelsonville for the summer to bring people here and make it a little more alive,â Yanity said. “And we’ve been doing it every Wednesday for about.”
Carter, a seasoned musician who plays trumpet, guitar, and also vocals, said she had been playing at Rhapsody restaurant for years before suggesting adding jazz nights to the restaurant’s lineup.
âI’ve been there doing a solo gig playing guitar and singing for probably 20 years,â Carter said. âI do it again twice a month. And then on Wednesday night we started a jazz night because I really wanted to bring jazz into Nelsonville and expose more people to a different kind of music, and it’s really fantastic. We had a very, very good turnout. It was a great ride.
Matthew James, professor of saxophone and jazz studies at Ohio University, said the appeal of jazz performances is especially special when heard in a setting like the Rhapsody Restaurant.
âLike most other music, jazz is most fulfilling when heard in a live performance setting,â James said in an email. âThroughout its history, jazz music has evolved in real time on stages in clubs, theaters and other venues in the United States and abroad. The artists feed off of each other and the energy of the live audience. At the regional level, it is important to support establishments like Rhapsody which put forward energy and finances to make live music a reality. So hats off to Rhapsody for being a longtime supporter of hosting musicians and live jazz. Also, the food is great and the great music only serves to enhance the experience.
Yanity said the jazz nights have been very successful, prompting continued performances every week.
âThey were just a big hit, and they really added a lot to the community, (especially) the music and the excitement of the crowd, and the fact that it just gets a lot of people in the middle of the week that doesn’t ‘would have nothing to do otherwise,’ Yanity said.
Carter said there are many misconceptions associated with jazz and culture, and the fun within the genre actually transcends age barriers.
âJazz night is extremely rewarding,â Carter said. â(People can) think, ‘Oh, that’s just going to be older people. ” This is not the case. They are young people and students, and they all come, and they like it so much. And it’s just such a big event. We had a very good turnout and a lot of good support from people. So, it’s just really fun. I know a lot of people might think it’s slow and dragging. But this is simply not the case. It’s full of life and purpose.
With the excitement that jazz nights have to offer, James encourages OU students to attend events to experience music culture as well as the Nelsonville area.
âHistoric Nelsonville Square is something every OU student should visit,â James said in an email. âSpending some money on great music and great food in a town like Nelsonville is a little way to give back to the community. “