DENVER (CBS4)– The sounds of jazz will once again fill the Five Points neighborhood Saturday as its 9th Annual Jazz Festival gets underway.

More than 100 musicians from 25 bands will fill seven stages starting at noon.

The festival is a way for the neighborhood to re-connect with its past.

“Five Points historically has a history of jazz,” explained Niecie Washington with the Jazz Festival.

“In the 1950s it was coined the Harlem of the West. Jazz musicians traveling from New York to Los Angeles would stop in Denver and play sets here for fun.”

And that influenced not just the clubs but the entire neighborhood. That’s part of what is celebrated at the festival.

“We are so excited to have this 9th annual festival to celebrate this culture,” Washington said.

And the festival hopes to recruit young fans; one of the stages is specifically designated as a youth stage. That’s at 26th and Welton.

There’s also miniature tennis court set up by the U.S. Tennis Association.

“We’ve got a condensed court, smaller rackets, bigger balls,” said Taryn Archer with the Association. “The kids have instant success rate and they just love it.”

“Within one or two minutes, kids are hitting balls, they’re laughing, giggling, they’re having so much fun out there,” she said.

“The smaller courts do give them an opportunity to hit the ball within their range. The balls are bigger and they’re fluffy. The kids bounce them all over the place and nobody gets injured. It’s a great, great time out there.”

Also new this year, Coors will be on site selling beer.

And organizers promise a great surprise on the main stage at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.



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