Music chair Dan Cavanagh hosts Mix Tape Tuesdays at Urban Alchemy Coffee + Wine Bar on the first Tuesday of each month from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
The event features a jazz band called Cavanagh and Friends, with Cavanagh playing piano in the lead. The other members, that he chooses, rotate with each show, Cavanagh said. The band plays with piano, bass, drums and some sort of horn player, like a trumpet, he said.
Cavanagh compared jazz to the democracy of America, because a jazz artist can be individualistic and team-oriented at the same time.
Cavanagh often plays the songs he writes. His writing is inspired by current events and philosophical ideas, he said.
“We do a fair amount of originals that I write and other folks who bring their original tunes, but it’s jazz, like, you know, you’d expect to hear in a jazz club,” Cavanagh said.
He started taking jazz piano classes when he was 12 years old after his jazz teacher at the time saw some potential in him, Cavanagh said.
Cavanagh said before being established, he had less flexibility with his schedule and concerts. But with experience, that has changed.
Urban Alchemy manager Michael Kreider said the owner Tony Rutigliano and Cavanagh have been friends for a while. Rutigliano wanted to bring in live music, and so he and Cavanagh worked out Mix Tape Tuesday, he said.
Cavanagh said he’s known Rutigliano from when he was on the Cultural Advisory Board for Arlington and Rutigliano was the CEO of the Downtown Arlington Management Corporation.
They were always talking about how to highlight the great things happening in Arlington culturally, and when Rutigliano opened Urban Alchemy everything worked out, Cavanagh said.
“I really think this culture of having live music is really starting to develop in Arlington. It’s really great,” Cavanagh said.
The crowd is usually older, but there’s also UTA students and it’s a good mix between the two, Kreider said.
Arlington resident Megan Franz said she’s a frequent attendee of Mix Tape Tuesday.
“It’s very chill, very relaxing, a good way to spend a Tuesday night,” Franz said.
Cavanagh’s pupil Will Franc, a jazz studies graduate student, said the event is great because Cavanagh brings new people to play in the band every time.
Cavanagh said he hopes it is a learning experience for the students who do attend.
Jazz is important because the origin of current music today, like hip-hop, pop and even country, can be traced back to jazz, he said.
“One of America’s greatest contribution to art is jazz,” Cavanagh said.