Winnipeg's Jazz Magazine


The Cool Wednesday Night Hang

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Ten years ago, people packed into The Freehouse, a sprawling bar on the corner of Osborne and Stradbrook, to find out what all the buzz was about. The Cool Monday Night Hang took this city by storm. University students like Will Boness, Heitha Forsyth, Paul Metcalfe, Chris Butcher, and Neil Watson, and even a few high school students (Curtis Nowosad, Amber Epp, and others) stepped in front of those crowds to play with newcomers Steve and Anna-Lisa Kirby, and local anchors like Larry Roy, Richard Gillis, and Rob Siwik. Musicians from around town brought saxophones and trumpets and drumsticks. There were some spectacular performances, and more than a few sour notes, but everybody felt the excitement: something big was happening!

Since those early days, The Hang has relocated a couple of times, first across the street to Bucaccino’s, and then down Pembina to The Orbit Room. Along the way, it morphed into the Cool Wednesday Night Hang. It has welcomed internationally-acclaimed artists and shaky first-timers, created lasting musical relationships, and offered hours of terrific entertainment for the larger community. Members of the ever-expanding Jazz Studies faculty and their young apprentices have shared their skills and enthusiasm for this music, and all of them have generously mentored others who want to give this art form an honest try.

Way back in the beginning, Steve would grab the mic and yell, “I say JAZZ, you say CAPITAL!” We’ve raised several roofs in the intervening decade, and to our own amazement, we’ve proven him right. The Hang is right at the center of this city’s jazz culture. To mark its tenth birthday, we’re inviting all of you to sharpen your wits and, in the spirit of “serious play” (the very heart of jazz), submit your cleverest top ten lists for us to share at the party. Here are ten “Top Ten” categories:

  • Top 10 reasons to go to The Hang
  • Top 10 excuses to not go to The Hang
  • Top 10 frequently played songs at The Hang
  • Top 10 things that can happen to you at The Hang
  • Top 10 instruments you’ll hear at The Hang
  • Top 10 instruments you don’t want to hear at The Hang
  • Top 10 things to do at The Hang
  • Top 10 superlatives Steve is likely to use when he’s announcing somebody at The Hang
  • Top 10 guest artists you’ve heard at The Hang
  • Top 10 ways you know you’ve been to The Hang

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