Summer Sunday evenings at City Park in Denver are full of beautiful sights, smells, and especially sounds.
“Jazz in America’s music,” explains Purnell Steen. City Park Jazz brings out first class musicians, like Purnell Steen, for ten free concerts in Denver throughout the summer.
Purnell and his band LeJazz Machine were wrapping up their set at City Park Jazz on June 24, 2012 when they heard, “pow, pow, pow, pow, pow,” says Purnell. “Someone said those are fireworks, and I said no they are not those are gun shots.”
Those shots came from the gun of Rollin Olliver who fired his weapon randomly into the crowd hitting and killing Denver Police Officer Celena Hollis.
“Celena signed up extra to provide security at festivals,” says Purnell, “because she loved jazz.”
Purnell dedicated the band’s set on Sunday, July 2 to Hollis honoring the fifth anniversary of her death.
“She lost her life on our watch," he says, "and I want everybody to know that she did not give her life in vain.”
Sitting beside a memorial in the park dedicated to Hollis in 2014, Purnell explains that he and his band will continue to honor the sacrifice made by Hollis.
“If we can keep her memory alive via film and music, this is what we will do until we can no longer play.”