Tuesday nights are not known for being a popular going-out night, but at Aslan Brewing Company, it’s one of their busiest nights of the week. Every Tuesday night at Aslan Brewing’s depot location on State Street, a group of jazz musicians get together to play. The weekly event is free and restricted to people 21 and older.
Meighan Aylesworth, a bartender at Aslan, said that Tuesdays often surpass the level of busyness of Fridays and Saturdays by tenfold.
Even though this jazz night has only been around a little over a year, it is not the only or first consistent jazz event in Bellingham.
Kevin Woods is the director of jazz studies at Western Washington University and has been a member of award-winning musical groups.
“Bellingham has a very rich history of live jazz, going back several decades. There used to be a lot more [jazz] clubs in Bellingham,” Woods said in an email. “One thing that has happened and continues to happen nationally and internationally is that people are going out less, staying in more and watching Dancing with the Stars or some other form of junk food-style art/entertainment.”
While there might not be as many places to hear jazz, Aslan’s jazz night has been increasing in popularity every week.
“I feel like more people are starting to realize and see that it is cool and this is a good bar to hang out at and watch live music. They come in from all over,” Aylesworth said.
The night can also help musicians get comfortable on stage.
A weekly jazz event “provides a place for the community to go watch a band evolve. When a group has a weekly gig, it allows them to really build their own individual sound,” Woods said.
Mark Hunter, the original bassist for the jazz night group, had the idea to have a weekly night of jazz.
“All music is better live, but especially improvised and interactive styles like jazz," Woods said. “Think of it as a meal at a super chic restaurant. You could just sit and wait for the food to arrive, [but] wouldn't watching the master chef actually cook and prepare the food be way more interesting?”
Ben Delaney (he/him) is a city life reporter for The Front. He is a junior majoring in environmental studies journalism. In his free time, he enjoys skiing at Mt Baker, fishing on local rivers, and just spending time outdoors. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.