• This Is Rutherford

Williams Center's Jazz Night

Contributing Writer: Matt Payne


This is the first of a series of articles written by Matt Payne about the exciting arts events at the Williams Center.

Jazz Night at the Williams Center

William Arts Center came alive during Jazz Night on Saturday, August 27. And with it, the vision of the Center being not just a celebration of the arts, but a forge where new art is created, one where audience members don't just witness but learn. Each featured artist was truly unique and experimental. Indian Run was working out new ideas in front of us; and with the leader of the second act, Maison Guidry, helping out at times. This creative meeting of the minds continued with a newly-added trumpet player working his way into the THOÜS group, and even collaborating with Indian Run in real-time.

Each artist is a master of their craft, a true "artist" of their art, always evolving and learning. Maison, the notoriously solid drummer turned multi-instrumentalist, is reputed to practice 13 hours a day. Earl Brooks, Jr. not only comes from a family of steel drum players but as a graduate of Berklee College of Music has delved even deeper into maximizing his instrument's potential. And the audience was learning as the night went along. Each artist was candid with their creative process (it's hard not to be when you're creating in real-time!) and Earl, in particular, was generous with his knowledge, taking the time to teach the audience about his instrument and the stories behind his songs.

The night was an exemplar of the community moment the new Williams Center will strive for. Local orthodontists danced with financial advisors. Kids ran amok in the courtyard, soaking in the vibes from outside. You could hear the town's heartbeat.

And the music was amazing. Some of the drum solos boggled the mind. The sound of the steel drum was so all-encompassing as to make the atrium feel like a sacred space. It was just a great show from beginning to end. A joyous show. I am excited to see what happens next—September is already packed with events, starting with a Labor Day celebration filled with food and DJs.


But I'm even more excited about what may happen in 5 years! I think Jazz Night will be an inspiring milestone marking the start of forward momentum that culminates in what we all hope the Williams Center will be. Certainly, it will be for me.


To view the calendar of Upcoming Events at the Williams Center, click here.

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