The education and performance venue, named after Phoenix-born jazz drummer Lewis Nash, is owned and operated by the non-profit Jazz in Arizona, familiarly known as Jazz in AZ. Board vice president Jeff Libman became involved with the organization as soon as he learned about plans for The Nash.
“The places I lived before are Chicago and New York City and then here,” says Libman, “and this place needed a jazz club — and bad.” He points out the wide range of musical experiences available at The Nash. “If this is going to be the one jazz club in Phoenix, we want everybody to have something they can appreciate here.” Libman adds, “And then, of course, we want to reach the people who said, ‘Hey, I had no idea that I like jazz…but I like this, and I discovered it here.’”
The Nash offers concerts through the summer on Friday and Saturday nights on the Contemporary and Mainstream Jazz series, as well as the occasional special event. Says Libman, “We wanted to say, ‘we’re open to different interpretations of jazz,’ because this ‘what is jazz?’ conversation is still going on in very interesting ways.”
He continues, “There does need to be some kind of boundary…we have a mission. This was supposed to be a jazz oasis in the desert…so one of the questions I ask about something that’s on the border is ‘Is this jazz-inspired? Does it have improvisation? Does it have swing? Are some of the musicians…jazz musicians who sometimes do other things, and this is their different side project?’” Libman smiles. “I think we get into trouble as an organization if we get too snooty or too particular about what [jazz] is.”
At Arizona State University Libman teaches jazz guitar and Jazz Lab, directs the Jazz Repertory Band, and coaches combos. He’ll complete his PhD this fall while maintaining an active performance schedule, playing on his own and in a contemporary jazz group called Running From Bears and regularly hosting jam sessions at The Nash.
The venue includes three back rooms for break-out sessions and workshops, as well as a recording booth. A tiny lobby leads into the open seating and stage area, where a curtain serves as the simple backdrop. The Nash’s gallery-lit walls carry themed art installations rotating every few months, and the sounds of downtown are faintly audible.
In its default table-seating configuration, The Nash holds 75, although without tables it can hold an audience of 120, allowing some groups to play without amplification. “If your jazz club gets too big it starts to feel like a concert hall; it’s not as intimate any more. So there’s a sweet spot of size,” says Libman. Without an elevated stage, the piano can be easily moved and the audience enjoys close proximity to the performers. “One of the reasons is sometimes we have a big band in here,” Libman adds, “and sometimes we have a big big band in here, and there’s somebody in the audience sitting here” — he pulls forward a chair in the front row– “and there’s a baritone sax player sitting here” — he gestures a few feet away. “So this allows us the flexibility.”
“If you want this visceral thing about being there and feeling connected with it more than perfect sight-lines, then this is the kind of room for you,” says Libman. “And I like that. There are trade-offs with everything.”
The Nash offers year-round private and group lessons, jam sessions every Saturday, and a wealth of affordable educational opportunities including workshops for all skill levels and instruments. Recent multi-week workshops featured “Singing Standards” — learning repertoire from the Great American Songbook — and “Playing on Changes,” a four-week introduction to improvising over chord changes.
Saxophonist Adam Roberts teaches “Electronics for Horn Players” on August 2 and the notation software workshop “Finale for Jazz Musicians” on August 9. Not every participant needs to be a performer; Libman himself led an “exposure” session on music history, appreciation, and listening.
The Nash’s 200 performances each year include the Catch a Rising Star series, which presents talented young artists and sometimes helps launch careers. First Fridays mean special free shows. “To be on the street is very powerful,” says Libman, “because this is a burgeoning arts district — we have 1500 people come in and out of the door on a First Friday.”
Libman particularly appreciates The Nash’s attraction for young listeners. “[It’s] one of the few places that I can think of where people who are under 21 years old are like, ‘We’re gonna go to jazz shows regularly.’”
The venue often welcomes all ages, but also holds a BYOB certificate, which allows patrons to bring a limited amount of alcohol for a small corkage fee, an arrangement which may change next year. “But we won’t do anything that makes it so you can’t be under 21 and come here on a regular bases,” Libman assures me. “There are some compromises we’re unwilling to make.”
“We feel like this whole artistic energy in Phoenix is starting to coalesce and grow,” he says, “and we just want to get in and be a part of that.”
If you go
Visit: The Nash
Address: 110 E. Roosevelt St.
For More: thenash.org, 602-795-0464
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Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher announced the appointment of three department director positions in the City of Phoenix: Christine Mackay as Community and Economic Development Director, Alan Stephenson as Planning and Development Director, and Karl Matzinger as Housing Director.
Christine Mackay, Community and Economic Development Director
Christine Mackay, who has more than 21 years experience in economic development, including 16 at the municipal level, is Phoenix’s new director of Community and Economic Development, City Manager Ed Zuercher announced today.
“Christine is a seasoned economic development professional with a proven track record of success. We are looking forward to her joining our management team,” said Zuercher.
“We’re incredibly excited to add such a talented and respected individual to our team as we work to make Phoenix a leader in today’s global and innovation-based economy,” said Mayor Greg Stanton.
“Encouraging business expansion and attraction is critical as we continue strengthening and growing our economy, and I am pleased that we have found a leader in our community with the strong credentials to encourage new private investment that will ensure a bright future for Phoenix,” said Councilman Bill Gates, chairman of the City Council Finance, Efficiency, Economy and Sustainability Subcommittee.
Mackay has been with the city of Chandler since 1998, beginning as a research assistant before advancing to senior economic development specialist. In 2008, she was named Chandler’s director of economic development, overseeing such efforts as downtown redevelopment, tourism, small business and entrepreneurship strategies, and university partnerships.
More than 150 businesses expanded or located to Chandler in the last five years, representing more than $6 billion in capital investment and 22,000 new jobs for the East Valley city. Mackay also opened and manages the Innovations Technology incubator, which is now home to more than 20 early stage companies.
Mackay has received many local and statewide awards, including “Economic Developer of the Year” in 2007 by the Arizona Association for Economic Development, “Leader of the Year for Economic Development” in 2010 by the Arizona Capitol Times and “50 Most Influential Women” in 2012 by AZ Business Magazine.
Hank Marshall served as Acting Community and Economic Development Director and will continue to serve on the economic development team as the Economic Development Executive Officer.
Alan Stephenson, Planning and Development Director
Alan was appointed acting Planning and Development director in July 2013 and has an extensive record of innovative problem solving, community engagement in planning and development, and working hard to streamline services to the public. Alan joined the City of Phoenix as a Planner I in 2000, and has worked as Planner II, Planner III, Principal Planner, Zoning Administrator, Deputy Director, and Assistant Director.
Alan has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Master of Environmental Planning, both from Arizona State University. He will continue to lead the department’s important work on PlanPhx, Reinvent Phoenix and continued streamlining of development and permitting processes.
Karl Matzinger, Housing Director
Karl has most recently served as Acting Housing Director since 2013, directing the activities of 190 staff and an operating budget of $88 million and a capital budget of $26 million. He has extensive experience in project management, team development, and financial oversight. Karl has 28 years of government experience, working with the City of Phoenix and previously the state Department of Economic Security.
After 15 years with DES, including Associate Director of the Division of Business and Technology Services, Karl came to the City as Deputy Human Services Director and also served as Assistant Human Services Director, Deputy Public Transit Director, and Assistant Housing Director. Karl has a Bachelor of Science in Finance and a Master of Business Administration, both from Arizona State University.
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WNBA AND PHOENIX MERCURY TO HOST COMMUNITY AND MEDIA EVENTS DURING BOOST MOBILE WNBA ALL-STAR 2014
In anticipation of Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star 2014, the WNBA and the Phoenix Mercury will host a number of community and media events leading up to the big game. All-Star events tipped off with a special unveiling of a new street sign on Tuesday, July 15, and will culminate with the All-Star Game on Saturday, July 19.
Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star 2014 – which will feature the most talented and dedicated women’s basketball players in the world – will broadcast live on ESPN on Saturday, July 19 at 12:30 p.m. PT from US Airways Center. The 2014 game will mark the second time the All-Star Game will be hosted by the Phoenix Mercury. The team also hosted the event in 2000.
In addition to the excitement on the court and in the community, the Mercury will make a special presentation and monetary donation to a local military organization during the All-Star Game. The presentation and donation are part of the Mercury’s “All-Stars and Stripes” program, which benefits local military heroes and their families. Fans can purchase tickets for the All-Star Game online by visiting phoenixmercury.com/allstar.
Please find a Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star 2014 schedule of events below:
Friday, July 18: WNBA East and West All-Star Open Practices
WNBA fans of all ages can get a sneak peek of the East and West WNBA All-Stars as they prepare for the big game during a pair of open and free-of-charge practices. The East All-Stars are scheduled for 3-3:45 p.m. PT, while the West All-Stars are slated for 4:15-5 p.m. PT
Location: US Airways Center (main court), 201 E. Jefferson St.
Time: 3 – 5 p.m. PT
Friday, July 18: All-Star Fan Fest
As host of Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star 2014, the Phoenix Mercury invites Valley residents and visitors to attend All-Star Fan Fest. Fans in attendance will enjoy appearances from Mercury and Suns entertainers, performances by live local bands, and special giveaways throughout the evening. The Fan Fest will feature family-friendly activities such as bounce houses, a sport court, and a Flow Rider, a large outdoor surfing wave. The event is free and open to the public.
Location: CityScape (Central Ave.), 1 E. Washington St.
Time: 4 – 9 p.m. PT
Saturday, July 19: Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star 2014
Fans are invited to see the world’s greatest female basketball players on one court for Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star 2014. Individual tickets are still available and start at just $20. For every All-Star Game ticket sold, the Mercury will donate $1 to its “All-Stars and Stripes” program benefiting local military heroes and their families.
Location: US Airways Center, 201 E. Jefferson St.
Time: 12:30 p.m. PT
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Colliers International Completes $2.3 Million Sale of Office Shell in Downtown Phoenix
Colliers International in Greater Phoenix has recently completed the sale of a Class C office shell in downtown Phoenix for $2.3 million, or $130 a square foot.
Phoenix-based New City Church purchased the building, located at 1300 N. Central Ave., from Drapac Group of Los Angeles.
The New City Church has experienced tremendous growth in the last three years and had outgrown their current location. New City Church was attracted to the property because of its downtown location, light rail access, bike parking and proximity to the downtown arts district.
Larry Ortega, executive vice president of Colliers, served as the broker for the buyer. Ortega specializes in the sale and leasing of retail and commercial properties. He has focused on downtown Phoenix since 1990.
The seller was not represented by a broker.
The building, encompassing 17,692 square feet, was constructed in 1961. New City Church plans to redesign the building.
“This transaction is an example of persistence and creativity coming together to make a deal work for both parties.” Ortega said.
In June, the City Council approved a new parking ordinance for downtown Phoenix that established several new parking zones, and will introduces dynamic pricing in certain areas. We sat down with Ray Dovalina, City of Phoenix Street Transportation Director, Thomas Godbee, Deputy Street Transportation Director, and Scott Logan, Traffic Engineering Supervisor in the Traffic Services Division to learn more about the planned implementation of this program.
Like many we had heard the soundbites of changing and increasing rates, and wanted to get a better understanding of what this dynamic pricing plan will look like. And, more importantly, how will it actually affect people who want and need to park downtown?
The goal of this new parking program according to Dovalina is “not only to generate revenue for the city, but to manage the increased demand for parking, both long-term and short-term, and to increase turnover in certain areas.” In the new program, the downtown has been divided into four zones:
- Zone 1 (Sports Venues), from Lincoln St. to Jefferson St. and 1st Ave. east to 7th St.
- Zone 2 (Central Core), from Jefferson St. to Fillmore St, and 1st Ave. to 7th St.
- Zone 3 (Government), from Lincoln St. to Fillmore St., and 1st Ave. to 7th Ave.
- Future Zone 4 (Neighborhood/Arts), from Fillmore St. to Moreland (two blocks north of Roosevelt St.), and 7th Ave. to 7th St.
The chart below shows both the lowest and the highest possible rates in each Zone. Note that one benefit of the new program will be a reduction in rates in the coin-operated metered parking in Future Zone 4. In this area, the price will drop from the current $1.50/hour to $1.00/hour to make paying with coins easier.
So how will this all work? First, the program will be implemented in two phases. During phase one, which will roll out in August, pricing will remain at the current rate of $1.50/hour, but meter hours will be extended from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm every day, including holidays.
Just to be clear, the city will not be changing prices randomly throughout the day; by and large there will be a standard hourly rate for daytime parking and another rate for evening parking.
In order to effectively accomplish this transition, the city is purchasing and installing 680 new single pay credit card parking meters in Zone 1. These credit card machines are popular with the public because they eliminate the need to have a pocketful of coins readily available. And the wireless technology in these meters will enable the phase two dynamic pricing plan to work.
The current goal is for the new credit card meters to be installed by August 4, but if the machines don’t quite arrive in time, the back up plan is to install them after the downtown ASU student move-in days of August 17 and 18.
Phase two will roll out in October/November and will incorporate the new dynamic pricing. The idea behind dynamic pricing is not as quixotic as it appears at first glance. Many cities are now doing this and it seems to be working.
Just to be clear, the city will not be changing prices randomly throughout the day; by and large there will be a standard hourly rate for daytime parking and another rate for evening parking. The dynamic pricing will come into play when there are events downtown.
The dynamic rates will be both higher than current rates, and lower than current rates, and will be determined based on three categories:
- Non-event days/nights
- Event days/nights
- Super event days/nights (when several large events are happening simultaneously)
Dovalina estimates that there are approximately 250 days of events downtown and this new pricing will reflect the demands on parking that these events create. Eventually, Godbee notes, “You will even be able to feed your meter wirelessly, using your cellphone.” But that’s a story for another day.
As an aside, there is ongoing planning to create a small area around ASU from 4th Avenue to 5th Street and from Van Buren to McKinley where meter rates will potentially be kept at a set rate for more hours, and will not necessarily be affected by dynamic pricing. Those details are still being worked out and we’ll clarify the plan once these decisions have been reached.
…[the City] has recognized the need for a comprehensive parking strategy for downtown and they will be hiring a new Parking Manager in August who will be tasked with creating this strategy. Additionally, they will be hiring a new public information officer (also in August) who will help communicate the new plan to the public.
Dovalina, Godbee, Logan and the rest of the staff are working hard to ensure that the signs and meters are clearly labeled and easy to understand as Phase two is rolled out. Additionally, they have been working with other city departments, the local courts, the police, neighborhood and business groups, the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, and ASU to make sure that everyone understands how this new program will work.
As the city has grown, the Street Transportation Department has recognized the need for a comprehensive parking strategy for downtown and they will be hiring a new Parking Manager in August who will be tasked with creating this strategy. Additionally, they will be hiring a new public information officer (also in August) who will help communicate the new plan to the public.
What will a successful program look like? According to Logan, an 85% usage rate is the ideal. This equates to one spot on either side of the street being open at any given time. If usage goes above that percentage, rates will need to be raised, and if usage falls below that percentage, rates will need to be lowered.
As Godbee says, “There’s no point in having meters in areas where no one wants to park.” Another success factor will be turnover. Godbee continued, “We want to avoid having people park in front of businesses downtown for extended periods of time. We want it to be easier to find a space, not more difficult.”
At first blush, the program is a little complicated, but the intended result is greater turnover in short term parking spaces in the city core, more revenue for the city, and less long term space squatting. The department will assess the program yearly and make needed adjustments to pricing to make it work effectively for the public, businesses, events and the city.