Jazz group Medium Rare kicks off the Lansing City Market's Grand Concert Series tonight.
Courtesy Photo

The Lansing City Market serves up a double shot of live music this week, with local jazz outfit Medium Rare and Detroit blues singer Thornetta Davis appearing at the Grand Concert Series.

“I feel honored to be able to play in such a great city with a top notch group of people,” said Rodney Page, violinist for Medium Rare. “It’s really a great opportunity for the city of Lansing.”

The Grand Concert Series started last year as Jazz on the Grand, a three-concert series of free outdoor jazz concerts. This year, Jazz on the Grand expanded to four events and is augmented by a quartet of blues concerts, Blues on the Grand, to comprise the Grand Concert Series. Tonight's Jazz on the Grand event features Medium Rare, and Thursday's Blues on the Grand event brings Davis to the riverside stage.

Established in 2013, Medium Rare plays within a wide range of jazz styles.

“If there is one word I’d use to describe our band, it’s versatility,” Page said. “We’re capable of playing in multiple genres.”

Page said attendees can expect to hear some familiar tunes, as well as some surprises.

“We take tunes and make them our own,” Page said. “If you come to the event and hear us play, you’ll be sure to hear things you’ve never heard before.”

Each concert pairs a headlining artist with local school and community groups. The East Lansing High School Jazz Band opens tonight’s show, and the DeWitt Junior High Jazz Band will warm up the stage Thursday for Davis.

“Although the event is free, it raises money for local high school and junior high bands in sponsorship dollars,” said Lesley Gottschalk, marketing services coordinator for the Lansing Entertainment & Public Facilities Authority, which manages the City Market.

The series is the brainchild of Wolverine Development President and CEO Joe Maguire and his son, local attorney Colin Maguire. The duo, both jazz enthusiasts, thought a concert series would be a great way to capitalize on the City Market’s underutilized riverside patio. They tapped MSU’s College of Music to help line up the musical talent and worked with the Lansing Entertainment & Public Facilities Authority to nail down the logistics.

City Market vendors stay open later on concert evenings, giving attendees a chance to check out the market’s offerings.

“Not only is there food and refreshments available to purchase, but there is shopping and a playground nearby,” Gottschalk said. “It can create a special evening for your family outing or your date night.”

The Grand Concert Series is part of a larger move to establish downtown Lansing as a destination for evening entertainment. Just south of the Market, at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Cedar Street, a mural unveiled last year declares downtown Lansing “alive after 5.”

“It is a fun and relaxing way to spend a weeknight,” Gottschalk said. “You can bring the whole family and enjoy dinner together while listening to very talented jazz and blues artists.”

Page stresses that events like the Grand Concert Series help strengthen connections between Lansing residents “It’s important to support live music while having a fun at the same time,” he said. “It’s great for families and the community as a whole.”

Jazz on the Grand Featuring Medium Rare

6 p.m. Wednesday, July 27 FREE

Blues on the Grand Featuring Thornetta Davis

6 p.m. Thursday, July 28 FREE

Lansing City Market, 325 City Market Drive, Lansing (517) 483-7460, lansingcitymarket.com/ events