Colorado Music-Related Business|

Story by Tori Mason, CBS Colorado News | Jazz is rooted in the rhythm of the Mile High City – and the sound leads back to a historically African American neighborhood. There’s a lot of effort that goes into keeping the essence of Denver’s Five Points neighborhood alive. Business owners have been thoughtful about honoring its past, down to their business names.

A spangalang is a signature jazz cymbal rhythm. In Five Points it’s a brewing operation — Spangalang Brewery — in an area that used to be known as “the Harlem of the West.”

“There’s no other neighborhood like it,” said Norman Harris, who spends a lot of time on Welton Street, which runs through Five Points.

So have his relatives for generations.

“Our family has been serving this community for years, and through multiple efforts has been a cultural anchor in bringing folks back to this neighborhood,” he said.

When he was a boy, his grandfather owned a liquor store in Five Points. Today, down the same street, Harris is part owner of Spangalang Brewery. It’s a jazz themed brewery — a nod to a legacy of music.

“We had some of the most popular jazz experiences west of the Mississippi River,” said Terri Gentry with History Colorado. Her job title is Engagement Manager for Black communities.

She still reminisces about that vibrant community in Colorado. The Rossonian club hosted artists like Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, and Nat King Cole. But over time the music faded.
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Photo: Spangalang Brewery with bartender Spenser | From their Facebook page

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