October 5th, 2023: The Denver Park Trust and Colorado Music Hall of Fame are proud to announce that George Morrison, Sr., Denver’s ‘Godfather of Jazz’, will be inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame on October 17th. The induction ceremony will take place from 5:00 to 6:30 PM at his namesake park at 1600 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd in Denver.
This will be a free event, open to the public, and will include presentations and music performed by the Denver South High School Jazz Band. Updates and details can be found here.
About George Morrison Sr.
George Morrison, Sr. (1891 – 1974) was an international star during the 1920s Jazz Age and is one of Colorado’s most celebrated violinists and composers. Morrison studied classical violin at the University of Colorado and at the Columbia Conservatory of Music in Chicago — but instead elected to pursue a career in jazz after experiencing the racism of the all-white symphony orchestras of the time. Morrison was the first black musician signed to Columbia Records. His self-named jazz orchestra toured the U.S. and Europe in the 1920s, where he performed for King George V and Queen Mary. Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Jelly Roll are among the famous musicians who performed with him.
In Denver, he opened the Casino Cabaret in Five Points, and his home on Gilpin Street served as the “inn for the in-crowd” for black touring musicians who weren’t allowed to stay in most Denver hotels. He provided free music lessons to students in his home and volunteered for the music programs at schools located around his neighborhood in Whittier. As a long-time resident of Denver, George Morrison Sr. is known as “Denver’s Godfather of Jazz.” Morrison has a Denver Park named after him, as well as one of the stages at the annual Five Points Jazz Festival.
George Morrison, Sr. died at the age of 83 after a long life of service dedicated to his music, his community, and his family.