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Jazz and wine make it happen

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Wednesday, December 19:

Tonight: Mario Cruz at Sweetwater

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Please drop Sweetwater Grill & Tavern, 115 S. Elm St., 7 to 9 pm, for an evening of Holiday music … arranged from Mario’s  “nutty brain!” No cover, great food, great venue and great people!

(For more about Sweetwater, visit:

Joining Mario Cruz on sax will be Sergio Pamies – keys, Jeffry Eckels – bass, Matt Young – drums and Gale Cruz – vocals.

About Mario

As a student of the University of North Texas School of Music and member of the acclaimed “One O’Clock Lab Band,” Mario was introduced to a vast “think tank” of superb teachers and ensembles. He was also exposed to a great community of serious student musicians from all over the country and the world, and many have had continued music success in the professional music world. Mario used this opportunity to arrange and compose many jazz pieces that were performed and recorded by various ensembles.

While studying commercial arranging and studio production at the University of Miami, Mario had the good fortune to work many gigs with jazz great Jaco Pastorius, then the bassist for “Weather Report.” He subsequently went on the road and recorded with Jaco and the “Word of Mouth” Orchestra. Featuring an “all-star” band that included harmonica virtuoso “Toots” Thielemans, Randy Brecker, Bob Mintzer and Peter Erskine, this experience proved to be an invaluable musical inspiration. However, it was joining up with the legendary rock-fusion group “Blood, Sweat and Tears” that paved the way for Mario to make his move to the New York music scene. Several years of paying “dues” opened other professional doors such as world tours with Bruce Springsteen, Joe Cocker, Dave Edmunds, Natalie Cole and blues artist Willy DeVille. This experience set the ground work for an extensive resume of TV, jingle and motion picture studio work as a player. In addition, Mario has written and arranged many compositions that have been used in TV shows, commercials, jingles and movie soundtracks; recorded on his and other artists’ CD’s; and performed by many academic and professional jazz and symphonic ensembles.

After 25 years in New York, Mario returned to his Texas roots in the Dallas- Ft. Worth area, and continues his music adventure, using his life and music experience to cultivate his unique, eclectic style. He continues a busy performance schedule, performing at many Texas area jazz clubs and festivals as well as giving clinics and concerts … and still plucks out tunes from his mom’s piano.


Tonight in Denton …

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Sweetwater Grill & Tavern: 115 South Elm St., Denton, Texas



Le Not So Hot Klub du Denton at Andy’s. File Photo.


7 pm – Mr. Joe’s Dixieland Band. Led by Mr. Joe Pinson, thhis band of Dixieland Jazz musicians keeps things fun and lively.

8 pm – Le Not So Hot Klub (du Denton). Led by Thad Bonduris, Le Not Sos – a loose collective of musicians wanting to preserve, protect, and defend the right to play Django Reinhardt-style music together – celebrate the First Tuesday back at Sweetwater.

Steve’s Wine Bar: 219 E. Hickory St., Denton, Texas


Ginny Mac

Ginny Mac performing with her faithful accordian.


8 to 10 pm – Ginny Mac is Back! Ginny Mac, singer and accordian artist brings her sultry performance to Steve’s Wine Bar for a relaxing evening of wine, food from area restaurants (ordered by customers), and intimate conversation.

Tuesdays and Thursdays they got Jazz

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Sweetwater Grill & Tavern, 115 S. Elm, has opened their doors and now offers Live Jazz on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 7 to 9 pm.

For the full menu, visit:

Tuesday, November 27:

The free entertainment, booked by co-owner Karen Meredith, doesn’t skip a beat with A Taste of Herb bringing their Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass jams to the Patio Stage, Tuesday.

A Taste of Herb playing Tijuana Taxi at Dan’s Silverleaf.

Band members:
John Wier – Trumpet & Flugelhorn
Danny O’Brien – Trumpet & Flugelhorn
Robert Hokamp – Guitar
Alan Emert – Bass
Tex Bosley – Drums
Tony Donate – Percussion

Thursday, November 29:

Oh, snap! Start your weekend early listening to QuB’d with Brad Leali and Quincy Davis, Thursday from 7 to 9 pm on the Sweetwater Patio Stage.

Listen to “Travels” by Quincy Davis, The Aaron Diehl Trio @ The Player’s Club, NYC:

Here is Brad Leali’s Spotlight

Stay tuned for the December lineup of fantastic Live Jazz and other musical treats. Have a plate of chips and queso for me …

Dixieland band facts according to Ron

By Ron Fink
Drummer, Band LeaderRonFinkBand

1.   In 1910 the New Orleans Times-Picayune described Dixieland music as “hotter than a boiling pot of rice.”
2.   Later, a Times-Picayune columnist wrote that Dixieland was the “happiest of all music.”
3.   The first recording of Dixieland music was made in 1917 by the Original Dixieland Jass Band.
4.   Louis Armstrong’s complex, multi-layered intro to the widely acclaimed 1928 recording of “West End Blues” set the standard for what jazz music could be, and would become.
5.   As the term “Dixieland” became politically incorrect, the music began to be described as “classic jazz” or “traditional jazz.”
6.   Legendary New Orleans cornetist Buddy Bolden played with a handkerchief over his right hand so other players couldn’t “steal his licks.”
7.   The Dukes of Dixieland, a popular group started in the 1950s in New Orleans by the Assunto family (father and two sons) remains active today.
8.   Turk Murphy fronted a band for many years at a San Francisco club named “Earthquake McGoons.”
9.   The Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, held over Memorial Day weekend, features more than 150 Dixieland bands from around the world and attracts more than 100,000 visitors

10.  Ron Fink’s great Dixieland Jazz Band will perform this Sunday, 4 November, from 2:30 – 5:30, at the new/just-opened side of the fabulous Free Man Cajun Cafe & Lounge, 2626 Commerce St. Dallas, featuring a larger stage, new sound system, spacious dance floor, indoor and patio seating … plus the same great food, drink, and ambience.

Be there or be square!


Brazz plays the Greenhouse Restaurant patio

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Marshall Smith‘s all-brass quintet Brazz plays a beautiful repertoire of sunny Sunday afternoon favorites on the Greenhouse Restaurant & Bar600 N Locust St., patio beginning at 2 pm.


Visit to view Brazz playing on the patio!

Sweetwater Jazz Nights

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Back in the day … well, 2012, I started Denton Jazz Chronicles, a blog with a mission – telling North Texas and the world about Live Jazz (and other notable music information) here in Denton, Texas.

One of the first stories centered on the Sweetwater Jazz Quartet, house band at Sweetwater Grill & Tavern, 115 S. Elm St.

Now that Sweetwater is being revived by the Meredith’s, Stephanie and Ron Reinke and Joey Hawkins (think Jupiter House, Royals Bagels), I dug up one of the first youtube videos of the original and soon to be reintroduced Sweetwater Jazz Quartet with Jim Riggs (sax), Neil Slater (keyboard), Ron Fink (drums), and Jeffry Eckels (double bass) … Oh, look out, now!

Posted February 3, 2010

Color me happily surprised

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Sometime back in August, a familiar banner unfurles on my Facebook homepage … Sweetwater Grill & Tavern is coming back! I had to check it out.

My guy, Steve and I drove down to the familiar corner of Hickory and Walnut to find Agua Dulce closed … and the layout for a new rattlesnake on the Walnut Street side wall. Yay! Facebook, for all it’s “fake” news shared accurate information.

“The partnership bringing back the restaurant consists of Jimmy and Karen Meredith, the original founders and owners; Stephanie Reinke, Karen’s daughter; and her husband, Ron Reinke; and Joey Hawkins, a local restaurant owner,” according to the Denton Record-Chronicle article by Staff Writer Je

Eric Vellekamp of the Dallas Restaurant Group is the new General Manager. He’ll run the restaurant and is working on new menu items and cocktails.

Live jazz will once again be a staple at the restaurant on Tuesday and Thursday nights, with the original Sweetwater Jazz Quartet (Jim Riggs, Neil Slater, Ron Fink, and Lou Carfa) playing monthly.

“We want to give them a home back here, and they’re ready,” Karen Meredith said. “We have such a wealth of jazz musicians in this town, so they’re excited and we are, too. That was kind of me and Jimmy’s social life, coming to listen to jazz.”

The full newspaper article can be read at –

Jimmy and Karen Meredith stand outside their soon-to-open restaurant, Sweetwater Grill & Tavern, located at 115 S. Elm St., in Denton. Photo by Jake King

I so very happy, dear Readers, to bring you such wonderful tidings.



Saying goodbye to the Queen

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Heavy hearts around the globe are memorializing and listening to the recordings of one of the most powerful, talented musicians we’ve seen in the 20th and 21st Centuries. Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul died on the 16th of this month after struggling with cancer.

For her official biography, visit

Wow … she sculpted our culture during her decades-long career … from Gospel to Rhythm and Blues, Soul to Jazz, Opera to cameo roles in iconic films like the Blues Brothers (Think.)

Many outstanding performances come to mind as I have read and listened to the news, visited with friends on Facebook, and in my company relate their Aretha tales. I find encapsulating her amazing life and songbook is near impossible.

Tributes, biographies and anthologies can barely touch her truly strong, musical talent and 76-year life. I can share some of my favorite performances with you, dear Readers. I know you have collected your own.

“One of the most popular cover songs of all time, Carole King and Gerry Goffin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” has been sung by many talented artists, but none can belt it quite like Franklin herself. The singer gave one of her most memorable performances of the tune three years ago at the 2015 Kennedy Center honors, bringing audience members like Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, and Viola Davis to their feet before she’d even finished singing — and showed some trademark sass by throwing her fur coat onto the stage floor.”  Variety, Christi Carras

Aretha’s legacy will remain in our lives for a very long time, and for future generations … but like many of the iconic voices of our age, such as Tom Petty, David Bowie, Joe Cocker, and Glenn Frey, she left way too soon.

I’m back writing again

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

After a dizzying five years writing this blog, dear Readers, I took a break and JazzCoolregrouped.  Once again, with you live, I am glad to announce my topics have expanded; and am looking forward to bring you new features, such as City of Denton, and County of Denton insights and happenings, Jazz History, Local and Regional events, Out of Bounds music genre news, Copy Editing notes (you may want to check this out), Live Music Venues, and, of course, Texas Woman’s University and University of North Texas music news.

From the heart of Downtown Denton – the Historic Denton County Courthouse Square, to the open-air, off-the-wall beer hauses (Harvest House, Oak St. Draft House, etc.) … from the Murchison Performing Arts Center at University of North Texas College of Music, to the brand-new Denton Convention Center adjacent to Embassy Suites – Rayzor Ranch Town Center, Denton Jazz Chronicles will keep you up to speed and in the know!

While the pages and posts for DJC get needed updates and style changes, you can still access older posts and pages. The final look and new content may take some time to fine tune.

Feel free to contact me about any musician or band news, new Live Music Venues or other events via

LINKS YOU SHOULD VISIT:riggsslaterseaton-jazz-experience-73