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Fresno State's student-run newspaper

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Fresno State students lead ‘Jazz Tuesdayz’ at The Fulton

Fresno+State+student+and+drummer+Ethan+Souza+shows+out+Jazz+Tuesdayz+in+Downtown+Fresno+on+Tuesday%2C+April+16%2C+2024.
Carlos Rene Castro
Fresno State student and drummer Ethan Souza shows out Jazz Tuesdayz in Downtown Fresno on Tuesday, April 16, 2024.

The scene within The Fulton’s walls was set with dim, purple and blue lighting. The natural wear on every part of the interior treated guests to a warm, lived-in atmosphere. Each table was marked with a singular rose and a reservation card. Once the seats filled up, the show began.

Jazz Tuesdayz at The Fulton is the new place to be for jazz enjoyers and those looking for a fun night in Downtown. Those who are unfamiliar or intimidated by jazz are welcome and don’t need to worry about being the odd one out.

Each table had a little note with an explanation of jazz etiquette. The note read, “Have fun and enjoy yourself.”

Presented by Love The Captive, who put together various music shows around Fresno, Jazz Tuesdayz is a weekly event that features up-and-coming jazz acts and artwork from local artists, many of which are current Fresno State students and alumni.

Some of the musicians representing the university include:

  • Ethan Souza
  • Joseph Saelee
  • Kevin Person Jr.
  • Kristine Kemmer
  • Lindsey Bentley
  • Roman Rivera
  • And more

Canned Peaches, a new jazz trio composed of Saelee, Souza, and Person Jr., showed out with a performance on Tuesday, April 16.

Saelee played trombone and alternated between keys and bass with Person Jr. while Souza manned the drums. Even during soundcheck, the thumping bass, crisp drums and dreamy keyboard leads made it clear that the audience should expect a masterful performance.

Joseph Saelee smiles during Canned Peaches’ performance in Jazz Tuesdayz in Downtown Fresno on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. (Carlos Rene Castro)

“Our sound is pretty R&B influenced, but has a lot of improvisation in there, so I would consider it jazz,” Saelee said. “When we play, you can hear that bit of R&B, but we’re all jazz guys, so we’ve got that in our souls.”

The start of the performance definitely had that trademark R&B smoothness, with melodic bass lines and laid-back drums. Once the trio started to gain momentum, however, the improvisation truly began to shine. Person Jr. especially gave a dynamic performance on the keys, tweaking his keyboard sounds on the spot and building tension with his leads.

All three members sounded like they were soloing at all times yet all of their parts came together in a sort of off-the-wall harmony only jazz can provide.

“What I like about jazz is how fun it is, and how you bounce around from instrument to instrument,” said Danielle Fernandez, an audience member. “You might think it’s going in one direction and the next moment you’re catapulted into a different vibe, and they really captured that tonight.”

Jazz Tuesdayz is an all-ages event and the age range that was present at the show reflected that. The small venue allowed for easy conversation among guests, and by the end of the night those who came alone were sitting with a new friend.

“Seeing the new wave of youngsters mixing with some of their elders is what it’s about,” said Johnny Quiroz, Love the Captive founder. “It’s about contributing in a consistent and positive way.”

A big part of the motivation behind Jazz Tuesdayz is the current lack of venues hosting jazz performances. It’s no secret that jazz has declined in popularity since the Jazz Age, but it’s even suffering on a local level as venues that used to be havens for jazz are moving on.

Jazz Tuesdayz, an all-ages event at The Fulton in Downtown Fresno, is the new place for jazz lovers and those looking for a fun night out. (Carlos Rene Castro)

“Stuff like this is very important, because places like Lucy’s Lounge or Howlin Wolf stopped booking jazz,” Saelee said. “It’s pretty rough.”

Those interested in attending a Jazz Tuesdayz night at The Fulton can make reservations for $5 by calling (559)777-9736.

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