Depot promotes arts, transit
Posted Oct. 6, 2006

For the last nine years, the city of Claremont has teamed up with Metrolink to host the annual Depot Jazz Series featuring different artists every Friday night until Oct. 20.

Musician Mark Carter and his four-man band were featured Sept. 29.

Alison Martinez, special events coordinator for the city of Claremont, has helped out with the jazz series, one of many events annually hosted by Claremont, for the last six years.

“We have Fourth of July activities and a Halloween carnival as well as a summer concert series,” Martinez said. “We had a lot of interest in jazz over the summer and decided to have a jazz series to promote transportation.”

Martinez also said she liked the jazz series but that all the events Claremont hosts are diverse and fun.

“I really do like the jazz series, I think it’s good community outreach,” she said. “But I like all the other events too; we get different demographics and community members, they’re all great events.”

With Metrolink as a co-sponsor, the city of Claremont has been able to attract a wide variety of people as well as musicians to its evening concerts.

           

Although the event is put on to promote transit, as the music is always played directly in front of the train station, some people also consider it to be a nice way of promoting the arts.

Jennifer Graham, a resident of La Verne, came to the show after dinner with her husband.

“We were across the street and we just saw it,” Graham said. “We didn’t know what it was, but Claremont is an artsy type of town; we thought it’d be something fun.”

Graham and her husband John said they do not usually come to the events but that they enjoyed the music and outdoor feel of the event.

“We like jazz, but we haven’t been out to the concerts much,” John Graham said. “From what we have seen, they’re pretty cool.”

Most musicians send press packets filled with CDs and music to Martinez and the city, hoping they will be chosen as featured performers.

Martinez said there is a lot to choose from, but that a local resident suggested the Mark Carter Project.

“There is so much diverse music and musicians that perform for us,” Martinez said. “This is the first time the Mark Carter Project has performed with us because we’d never heard of them before.”

Mark Carter has enjoyed playing jazz with his fellow bandmates for the last six years.

He has known the keyboardist for the last 20 years.

A resident of California since he was 11, Carter was born in Kansas and raised in Oklahoma. He has enjoyed playing guitar since he was 13.

“One of my earliest influences was Wes Montgomery,” Carter said.

“I admire George Benson too and both of their effortless masteries of the instrument,” he added.

A working musician, Carter can play an assortment of different music.

He said his music is as varied as those of other artists, due to his ability to play many different styles.

“I love the rock of Carlos Santana as well as the blues of Stevie Ray Vaughan,” he said. “I really do enjoy playing a variety of music, and the guitar always speaks so well.”

The performance by Carter and his band made for a fun and memorable night.

Carter said he liked to think of it as an experience where everyone got what he or she bargained for.

“It was a beautiful setting with a great sound and light crew,” Carter said. “I say ‘Yeah’ for the city of Claremont. There’s nothing like playing music outdoors; it’s a win-win situation for everyone.”

This year’s jazz series is a collection of soul and contemporary jazz performances. The entertainment continues today with a performance by 2AZZ1 at 7 p.m.

It is recommended that patrons bring chairs and blankets since the performances are outside.

For more information, call the city of Claremont’s Human Services Department at (909) 399-5490.

Lilia Cabello can be reached at lcabello@ulv.edu.

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