Addison is a relatively small town imbedded deep within Dallas County. It’s all city, more or less; the only way you can tell when you’ve crossed over from Dallas or Richardson or wherever is when you see the street signs, which are all labeled Addison! in flowing script. I used to work there once upon a time, and I’ve gone to quite a few events in this little “Mid-City”, as we call the prosperous burgs between Dallas and Forth Worth.
I happen to like Addison a lot; for a town its size, it offers a tremendous number of cultural events throughout the year, as you can see from a casual glance at this year’s events calendar. Though it’s incorporated as a city, it calls itself The Town of Addison, which is pretty logical given its size: at last count, the total population was about 14,000, much smaller than I would have expected, and in fact it’s declined a bit in recent years. You might think it wouldn’t be able to support all the cultural and social events it does, but then Addison is peppered with all kinds of businesses, from technical endeavors to dozens of high-end restaurants to an Improv comedy club, not to mention a bustling airport; so I expect it probably has quite the tax base to draw from.
Among the many events the city hosts is its July Jazz concerts, which take place every Saturday in July from 8-10 PM. They’re free, and are held in Espalanade Park, just east of Addison Circle (and the tremendous Addison Circle Park). You’ll know you’re on the right track if you see this big blue sculpture:
As far as I’m concerned, this sculpture is kewl with a capital K. This huge thing, which sits in a raised greenspace in the center of, yes, Addison Circle, is made up of a series of interlocked “petals” that include blueprint-based representations of various mechanisms and structures that were important to the city historically — including an old mill that used to be located somewhere hereabouts. Here’s a closeup of one of the petals. It’s pretty, but I can’t make heads or tails of it.
And this is what Addison Circle itself looks like, if you were wondering. Yep, it’s a traffic circle all right. I like the way they’ve jazzed it up, though. This is a very nice, very clean area, and Addison Circle Park is itself wondrous. I may just do a separate entry on yon park itself one day.
Anyhow, moving right <> along: if you mosey east past the Circle, you’ll end up on an attractive tree-lined esplanade with numerous restaurants and other businesses on either side. In the center is the aptly-named Esplanade Park, which is pretty big, but nowhere near as large as the other one. On the night I went, July 12, the entertainment was provided by the delightful Melani Skybell Quartet. I’m not a big jazz enthusiast, but I liked what I heard. Interestingly, the band consists entirely of young ladies. Ms. Skybell herself is the one playing the keyboards; she’s pretty well-known around here as a soloist, too, and incorporates some ballads into her repertoire. They sounded great. I haven’t heard a sax like that in real life since one of my sisters played back in high school, and I love that big ol’ gutbucket bass.
Sorry about quality of the picture, folks, but hey, it was after 8 PM, you know? These pictures of the crowd came out better; you can see there were hundreds and hundreds of people present, including many families, most of whom brought food and drink and had a grand old time.
These guys went even farther, and brought some additional entertainment while they were listening to the jazz. Pretty good idea, if you ask me. I wonder if they were playing Moon, 42, or what? I used to play a lot of bones in college…it was generally cheaper than poker. Never really good at either, of course, but I learned long ago not to gamble seriously!
Addison’s still got a couple more jazz performances to go before it’s done for the year. If jazz isn’t your thing, just wait til August for Symphonic Saturdays, same bat time, same bat channel. Or, if show tunes are your thing, check out a live outdoor performance of Oklahoma! on August 28 or 29, performed right out in the open at Addison Circle Park. Note that all the concerts are free, though the musical costs $10 for adults, and $5 for kids and seniors. For more information, check out their website at http://www.addisontexas.net/.
In any case, be sure to bring refreshments and your own chairs. You can always buy dinner — there are restaurants galore all around — but it won’t be cheap; a lot of the restaurants here are the kind where you have to get valet parking. As for chairs, those folding director’s chairs you can get for a few bucks these days seemed especially popular. Whatever happened to cheap plastic-and-aluminum lawn chairs? Ahh, those were the days!