Denver Arts & Venues Accepting Applications for Five Points Jazz Activation Grants

May 31 2022

Denver Arts & Venues Accepting Applications for Five Points Jazz Activation Grants 
Announces Five Points Jazz Festival Honorees and Parade Marshals

En español  

Denver Arts & Venues, the agency that has been bringing you the Five Points Jazz Festival for nearly two decades, is now accepting applications for Five Points Jazz Activation Grants to help fund programs and events which honor and support the history and culture of jazz in the historic Five Points neighborhood. 

In lieu of an in-person Five Points Jazz Festival in 2021, Arts & Venues started the grant program to celebrate jazz and ensure that the legacy of jazz lives on in Five Points. In 2022, Arts & Venues continues the program with a total of $25,000 in funding available. Applicants may apply for grants up to $10,000 through Friday, June 10 at 11:59 p.m. MDT.

The Five Points Jazz Festival committee will review applications and determine projects to receive funding based on the benefits of the project to jazz in Denver and the Historic Five Points neighborhood, the applicant’s investment in and connection to the Historic Five Points community, the location of the project in relation to the community and funding request/proposed budget in relation to the project. Projects that are funded must be completed by the end of the 2023 calendar year. 

In addition to the continuation of the Five Points Jazz activation program, Arts & Venues is bringing the Five Points Jazz Festival back this year on June 4. In addition to dozens of bands performing along Welton Street, as part of the annual festival, Arts & Venues also honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the culture and livelihood of Five Points.

“The festival celebrates Denver’s jazz scene now, and the grant program helps ensure that jazz will continue in Five Points in the future,” said Brooke Dilling, Denver Arts & Venues manager of cultural programs, and eight-year Five Points Jazz Festival veteran. “But it’s also important to celebrate those who have made lasting contributions to Denver’s jazz world. The people we are honoring this year have been supporting and nurturing jazz in Denver for decades.”

2022 honorees and parade marshals:
George Morrison: Denver Arts & Venues pays homage to George Morrison by naming the stage at 27th and California streets in his honor. George Morrison, Sr. was born in Fayette, Missouri in 1891, to talented musician parents. As a young child, his family moved to Boulder where he studied violin. Upon graduating from high school, he married and moved to Denver. Morrison attended the Columbia Conservatory of Music in Chicago. He later formed a jazz orchestra and toured and recorded under several variations of the name “George Morrison’s Jazz Orchestra,” including playing a Command Performance for King George and Queen Mary. While not touring, he gave lessons in his Denver home on Gilpin Street to pupils even if they could not afford to pay him. Five Points Jazz Festival performer Purnell Steen said of Morrison, “He was to Denver jazz as Louis Armstrong was to jazz in New Orleans.”

Ron Miles (Five Points Jazz Festival Honoree): Ron Miles arrived in Denver in 1974 at the age of 11. He went to East High School and studied both classical and jazz music in college. His 35-year music career included dozens of albums, an induction into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame and a Grammy-nomination. In addition to performing and recordings, he also coordinated the jazz program at Metropolitan State University along with Fred Hess. Miles' last performance was in 2021 at the Village Vanguard in New York City. Miles passed in March 2022 from complications from polycythemia vera – a rare blood cancer.

Chris and Paul Romaine (Five Points Jazz Festival Honorees): Passionate about creating unique opportunities for youth to study and play jazz together, Chris and Paul Romaine founded the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts (CCJA) in late 1999. Paul is a second-generation Denver-based professional musician, award-winning teacher and instructor at MSU Denver and CU Boulder. Chris, a musician, secondary teacher and entrepreneur with degrees in public policy and economics, put her varied experience to work in handling the administrative side of the organization. Over the last 22 years, Chris and Paul have been blessed to be stewards of CCJA’s natural growth and evolution. Working so closely isn’t for all married couples, but Paul and Chris have made it work, committed to a community that is united through the arts and deeply committed to youth and the jazz art form.

Donald Rossa and Matt Ruff (Five Points Jazz Festival Honorees): Donald Rossa was born in Milwaukee. He took as job as a dishwasher, rose to cook, and then at the age of 21, became his company’s youngest general manager and starting opening restaurants. For the next ten years, he continued this trajectory in Denver, eventually becoming vice president at Sfuzzi and then Piatti’s. In 1999, he left the corporate restaurant world and moved to an independent restaurant realm, Four Story. In 2001, he found his sweet spot in the community with Dazzle, building a place for the heart and soul of Colorado’s music life. Donald became Dazzle’s owner in 2003. Under the leadership of Donald Rossa, Dazzle has presented a full range of performers, from local students to Grammy award-winning stars. 

Born in El Paso, Texas, Matt Ruff started his career in the restaurant industry at the age of 17 as a dishwasher in an ice cream parlor. Matt quickly discovered his natural talent and love for hospitality and service, and after earning a BA from University of Texas, El Paso in 1988, Matt moved to Denver in 2003. Within two weeks, he had been hired as general manager of Dazzle, Denver’s iconic jazz supper club. When Dazzle moved from its location at 9th Avenue and Lincoln Street to the historic Baur’s building on Curtis Street in Downtown Denver, Matt became part owner. Matt explained that he enjoys working at Dazzle because it is not a standard food and beverage venue; it’s more about the people and community, and being surrounded by creativity and talent.

Candi CdeBaca (parade marshal): Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca is a fifth-generation resident of the Eastside, graduating from Manual High School as valedictorian and class president. At 18 years old, she co-founded and was later the Executive Director of Project VOYCE, a youth development and civic engagement organization. Candi is also the first LGBTQ Latina and first Democratic Socialist to serve on Denver City Council, and her district office is located in Five Points. Her work on City Council has been focused on advocating against the criminalization of poverty, environmental racism, and the displacement of Denver’s Black and Brown communities.

Jim ”Dr. Daddio” Walker (parade marshal): Jim “Daddio” Walker was the force who brought rhythm and blues and soul music to Denver’s radio scene in the 1960s. Walker grew up in Gibsland, Louisiana and moved to Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood with his family in the late 1960s, later becoming operations manager at KDKO radio station. In 1989, Walker bought KDKO and became the first and only Black Man to own a radio station in Colorado’s history. Once he took over KDKO, he worked to ensure that the lineup appealed to all ethnic communities, and included DJs from a diverse group representing white, black and Latin cultures. Through his radio work, Walker promoted unity in the community and broadcasts with a positive voice.

Find more about the Five Points Jazz Festival, including the schedule of performers, band bios, food and beverage options, festival vendors and merchants, more about the honorees and more at 

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