Live Jazz Shows Expand Music Culture

Live Jazz Shows Expand Music Culture

Fresco CafeBy Terrah Baker

Anthony Ball, drummer in the Anthony Ball Jazz Group, is from Memphis, Tenn. So when he moved to Fayetteville and couldn’t find a music scene he was familiar with, he decided he would create one.

When he first arrived, there weren’t many jazz, blues, soul shows happening on a regular basis in Northwest Arkansas, he said. Yes, there were live music venues, but few were catering to a mature audience looking for a relaxing environment where they could unwind while taking in the soft, yet vibrant and emotionally charged music Ball enjoys.

“I’m from a big city and played music in Memphis. It was second nature to want to have something here,” Ball said.

The first show Ball organized and hosted drew in over 65 jazz lovers. But Ball knew it could be bigger, if only he had the right space. That’s when he approached Fresco Cafe and Pub off the Square on Center Street in downtown Fayetteville.

“It caught on fire as soon as we started doing it,” he said.

As of March 2013, Fresco Cafe and Ball worked every Friday night to light up the outside patio and place signs so people walking by would know live music was happening inside. Between his own promotion, his personal followers and the existing Fresco Cafe crowd, the show became successful enough to expand.

Now, they plan to have jazz, blues and soul music on Friday and Saturday nights, with extended hours from 7 to 11 p.m.

“A lot of people wanted us to stay open later, and we want to try and get that second and third crowd,” Ball said. “We’re trying to get that mix of generations.”

Upcoming shows will feature singers, horn players with an ultimate goal of offering a type of music and atmosphere that’s still hard to find in NWA.

“A lot of people don’t want to go to George’s with crazy loud speakers. Some people still want to come sit down and experience jazz and blues. And we’re trying to cater to a market that clearly wants it.”

To find out more about Fresco Cafe and Pub’s live jazz and soul shows, visit


Categories: Music