Jazz on the Porch

The pandemic has been rough on everyone, but few have been hit as hard as working musicians.

by Jonathan Wright
David Hoffman, Jazz on the Porch
Musician David Hoffman on his front porch, August 19, 2020

The pandemic has been rough on everyone, but few have been hit as hard as working musicians. With most venues closed and strict limitations on social gatherings, their primary means of income disappeared overnight. Local jazz musician David Hoffman—who in recent years had been performing with members of the Ray Charles Orchestra and legendary saxophonist Maceo Parker—saw his entire year come to a grinding halt.

“This year being Ray’s 90th birthday, we had planned to do extensive tours of the states and Europe,” he explains. “This, of course, was all canceled, as was a trip to the Belize Jazz Festival. So I’ve been spending time practicing, writing and working on spiritual pursuits.”

Hoffman recently moved to Peoria’s East Bluff, where he soon discovered his porch was spacious enough to host small bands. In August, he came up with plans for a series of socially-distanced porch concerts. One successful Facebook fundraiser later, he’s raised nearly $2,000 to pay the musicians for their effort. “I was overwhelmed by the reaction,” he says. “I think people are looking for things to latch onto during this pandemic that seem positive and creative.”

The concerts will feature a variety of music that Hoffman feels is underrepresented these days. “Of course there will be jazz—that is my love of all loves,” he declares. “But I have also talked to classical musicians, singer-songwriters with original material, Brazilian and Cuban musicians… just anything that’s not heard in the neighborhood every day.”

Hoffman’s porch series kicked off on August 29—also known as International Play Music on the Porch Day—with plans for more concerts throughout September. facebook.com/DavidHoffmanTrumpet PM

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