Update: 06/18/24

I've been told by official sources that jazz will still be offered "frequently" at the Tune Up, and the next jazz artist is slated to perform on Friday, June 21st. You can get all scheduling on Tune Up and Armory social media accounts, or by visit tuneupbarandlounge.com/events for the full schedule.

BUTTE, MT - Did you know that the Montana music scene brings in an estimated $150 million to the Montana economy?

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That's an impressive figure, considering that the population here in Montana hovers around 1.2 million—meaning that every single Montanan would on average spend around $125 a year on Montana music. Combine that with the growing amount of venues, festivals, and local bands, and it becomes obvious how vital and cherished an economy the music industry really is for the Treasure State.

One weekly musical tradition, based in everyone's favorite boom city, Bozeman, has been around since late 2022 and—to many people all over the state—is one of the coolest music events the state has to offer. If you've never had the pleasure to experience Wednesday Night Jazz at the Tune Up in the basement of the Armory Hotel in Downtown Bozeman, let me describe to you what you could expect every Wednesday evening: a rotating cast of extremely talented musicians, all humble enough to perform for their jazz-loving crowds on the historic stage located in a moody, relaxed basement speakeasy. What's not to like?

The stage featuring the typical "Big 3" of the Wednesday tradition. Credit: Devon Brosnan
The stage and Jazz Night regulars, featuring the typical "Big 3" of the Wednesday tradition. Credit: Devon Brosnan

However, last night, June 12th of 2024, the Wednesday Night Jazz at the Tune Up saw its final performance on the beloved stage. This almost 2-year-long tradition, bringing jazz from a gang of incredible musicians—some looking to establish themselves within the scene, others bringing their well-tuned talent to mystify the masses again—and to a group of audience members who may have never experienced a true jazz show before, came to end. The trio, led by Jazz Night founder and bassist Eddie T, also saw Chris Naro on drums and Alex Robilotta on guitar—the "Big 3" of the Jazz Night tradition.

The event saw dozens of supporters, hailing from different cities around the state, and featured long-time frequenters along with those who'd never stepped foot in the joint, all coming together to appreciate a beloved Montana music tradition. They all were wondering the same thing: Why did it have to come to an end? The semi-official response is that the event simply wasn't profitable enough for the venue and they are looking to replace the jazz performances with a bluegrass flavor.

That may very well make sense, but it was obvious that no one attending the event was happy with the change. Though there are other jazz shows around town and in the state, many of them bringing in the Wednesday Night Jazz regulars to perform, there appears to be a larger implication at play: what does the future of jazz look like in Montana? Is there a place for a regularly scheduled jazz show?

Wednesday Night Jazz founder and bass legend Eddie T. Credit: Devon Brosnan
Wednesday Night Jazz founder and bass legend Eddie T. Credit: Devon Brosnan

Who knows... But one thing is certain. Evident just through the overwhelming support from fans at the last show, including a ton of postcards being filled out from patrons all sharing stories and their support to keep the Jazz Night tradition going, jazz in Montana will never die.


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