Arizona Governor Doug Ducey recently declared the month of April as Jazz Appreciation Month, setting the stage for a line-up of concerts and celebrations leading up to the 7th Annual International Jazz Day on April 30.

Thanks to The Nash in Roosevelt Row, jazz music is already a staple in downtown Phoenix. Over in Historic Grand Avenue, Chicago natives Kat and Vernon Williams opened Onyx Art and Events in April 2017, with the intent to further connect this community to jazz music and culture.

“We’re crazy excited about being able to bring a Chicago flavor to Phoenix, and especially to Grand,” said Williams. “Even the vibe and the ambiance of Onyx really speaks to Chicago and its little smoky jazz clubs.”

The Williams were introduced to the annual jazz celebration by the Executive Director of the International Jazz Day AZ Foundation, Doc Jones.

“We just took the opportunity to support what they’re doing because we want to see the fest continue,” said Williams. “We’re super excited to be a sponsor.”

Onyx will be hosting an International Jazz Day Celebration on Sunday, April 8, featuring performances by Doc Jones and his daughter Nayo Jones. There will also be musicians from the lineup of the International Jazz Day Festival in Scottsdale performing on the Onyx stage.

Helping Build Community

Williams said as they bring live jazz to their music venue and art gallery, they’ll focus on the culture surrounding Grand Avenue.

After holding their first event on the First Friday of April, 2017, the Williams have continued to establish themselves in their community.

Onyx hosts the Urban Jazz series every Third Friday, and will expand to every other First Friday.

This summer, they have plans to host lessons with Doc Jones to teach kids to play instruments and more.

“This year, we’re going to help them to bring it to Central Phoenix and actually give kids in this area a chance to benefit from his amazing talent,” said Williams.

She emphasized the importance of getting kids involved with jazz and teaching them about the music.

“We’re trying to establish an ongoing relationship so that we actually support the continuance of music and culture and jazz in the valley for the next generation,” said Williams.

If you go

What: International Jazz Day Celebration
When: April 8, 2018 from 4 to 8 p.m.
Where: Onyx Art and Events, 1346 W. Roosevelt St.