Bass player performance photograph
This print features an unidentified musician performing on an acoustic stand-up bass guitar. The black and white image is printed on RC (resin coated) paper.
This print is one of a set that was framed and mounted on a wall above a row of booths facing the stage at El Chapultepec, a jazz club and restaurant serving Mexican food at 20th and Arapahoe Streets in Denver, Colorado. The "Pec" as it was referred to by regulars opened the day after Prohibition was repealed in 1933. The club didn’t begin hosting regular live jazz until 1968 — a decade after jazz-fan Jerry Krantz began working there. Prior to that, the club featured live mariachi music. Under the guidance of Krantz, who inherited it from father-in-law Tony Romano, drummer Gene Bass, Freddie Rodriguez Sr. and others, the Pec became known for shows by local and touring jazz legends who came through on the way to or from gigs, and who often sat in with house bands after a nearby concert or set; or who actually set up residence at the club. Music icons such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Ella Fitzgerald stopped in to listen and perform, as well as visiting rock stars like Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger. Even President Bill Clinton played his tenor sax on stage there. “I’ve had everyone in here but Jesus,” Krantz was once quoted as saying. “His big thing is that he always wanted it to be for everybody,” said daughter, Anna Diaz, after his death in 2012. “At the time when he started it you’d get dressed up to go to the symphony, and there were people who had never even seen live music. So there was no cover charge, no dress code. The bums on the street were just as welcome to come and listen as the millionaires.”
In recent years, the club, which sat caddy-corner from Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies, had become a symbol of gritty, pre-gentrification Denver in the otherwise sports bar-heavy neighborhood of Lower Downtown. Over the summer of 2020, El Chapultepec and fellow Denver jazz club Dazzle took “extraordinary measures” to respond to coronavirus closures, according to Denver Post jazz critic Bret Saunders, including streaming pre-recorded sets to raise money. “Both clubs were seeking fan financial support to keep the music playing on the web, while supporting the artists and employees,” Saunders wrote in June. A previous El Chapultepec fundraiser posted by Guerrero on March 23 raised only $1,630 on GoFundMe before it closed. Chris Zacher, executive director of Levitt Pavilion Denver, said he knew the club was in trouble earlier this year but hoped Guerrero could hold out for federal aid. The amount of musical history at El Chapultepec is staggering, he said, and nothing can replace it.” “It was Jack Kerouac’s place,” Zacher wrote on Facebook. “Count Basie, Doc Severinsen, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, and Frank Sinatra all played at the Pec along with Bill Clinton and Ed Sheeran.” It is also the second woman-owned jazz club to close this year, singer Jessica Love Jones said, citing the closure of downtown club Jazz at Jack’s. “I had residences at both of those places,” she said. “And the only reason I ever got hired is because I had a place like El Chapultepec to hone my craft.”
According to Anna Diaz, there were a number of factors that lead to the decision to close the business for good (announced on Dec. 8, 2020). The Covid pandemic was simply the last nail in the coffin. Although the arrival of Coors Field and the redevelopment invigorated the area, in general, it was the beginning of the end for the Pec. As the neighbor changed, there was less respect for the culture of the club. Musicians had to time their sets around baseball innings. The crowds coming out of the games were wild and less respectful. The neighborhood actually became less safe for employees, customers, and musicians when leaving after closing time. The family felt like the city had outgrown them.
No inscription data on this print.