First, let us offer heartfelt thanks to Paul Brown. For four decades, the bassist and promoter known affectionately as "PB" has brought the country's best jazz artists to Hartford to enliven Monday nights in the summer.
This week, Mr. Brown announced he will no longer produce the Paul Brown Monday Night Jazz Series.
There are few things more pleasurable on a summer evening than taking a picnic basket and a chair down to Bushnell Park and listening to wonderful music. Mr. Brown had to overcome many obstacles over the years, fiscal and otherwise, to make these evenings possible. An internationally known musician in his own right, he used his connections to wheedle and persuade the best of the best to play in Hartford.
It may have looked easy when the music pulled people into the park and the sun was setting, but it wasn't. Looking back on it, Mr Brown called it "a wonderful journey."
His retirement raises an issue that foundations and other funders have grappled with for years: Can arts organizations survive the departure of their founders? Can the board push ahead without the gracious and charismatic PB at the helm? Will another organization step in to keep Monday Night Jazz alive?
Although there are presently no plans to continue the series, we hold out hope. With more people and more activity downtown, cultural events such as the jazz series are more important than ever. Let's hope it finds a new life and keeps the name of its founder. Mr. Brown has made an extraordinary contribution to the Greater Hartford community.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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