Close your eyes for a minute and picture your favorite café, where the sounds of grinding, tamping and the espresso machine's own natural music complement the background soundtrack. Your ears perk up to the barista who knows the simple power of a nice hello and takes the time to explain the characteristics of the house brew. It sends a message that coffee-making is handled with care here, one at a time, without the assembly-line approach. This is the scene that greets you at The People’s Coffee (221 E. Broadway Street).

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Co-owners Omar Jamhour and Allen Salazar are in the business of blending beans and beats. By day, they whip up a mean cup of joe at The People’s Coffee. By night, they are Z & Z: a high-octane EDM (electronic dance music) DJ/producer duo, bridging the gap between multiple electronic music genres.

In 2015, a mutual friend (who happened to be the original owner of The People’s Coffee that Jamhour visited daily) introduced the two. Jamhour (a DJ) and Salazar (a DJ/producer) started working together and realized that when they blended their different styles of music, the fusion was electric. They integrate music influence from their Middle Eastern and Latin backgrounds to create a wide variety of genres and tempos, from dubstep to house to future bass.

Looking to find more time to focus on their music, they left their jobs and purchased The People’s Coffee. Salazar had worked in various coffee shops and Jamhour brought his experience in business to the table. Owning a coffee shop gave a way to make money and pursue their careers in the music business. Three years later, they are still going as strong as the dark roast coffee they brew and performing at Salt Lake’s biggest nightclubs and music festivals.

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The People’s Coffee is literally all about people. They showcase businesses within the community. Local coffee roaster Caffe Ibis is the signature bean that your mocha, cold brew or latte is made of. If coffee is not on the agenda, fresh cold-pressed juices from the neighborhood Pulp Lifestyle Kitchen, Thai tea and rich hot cocoa quench the thirst of any guest.

Hungry? You will be when you see the variety of goodies behind the glass. Satisfy your sweet tooth with creations from Salt Lake’s own Fillings and Emulsions. Melt-in-your-mouth macarons are offered in a rainbow of colors and flavors, along with tarts, cakes and pastries. Want something more savory? The barista puts on another hat as a panini artist and crafts the perfect turkey or veggie sandwich.

Besides supporting local businesses, Jamhour and Salazar are all about showing off the artistic talent within the community. As you walk in, browse the west wall, which is peppered with artwork done by local artists, hoping to find a breakthrough. The shop gives a place to hang their art to be sold, without taking a penny of commission (which is practically unheard of at most coffee shops).

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An open mic night is another way The People’s Coffee likes to reach out. As artists themselves, Salazar and Jamhour like to host budding musicians, comedians and poets and give them a taste of what live performance is all about, in a fun, judgment-free zone. Stop by on the second Saturday of the month and check out some local entertainment.

The music and coffee worlds collide at The People’s Coffee. As DJs, they spend their time reading the crowd on the dance floor and they do the same thing when people come into the shop. They try and understand what customers like and don't like, by watching their reactions. Being aware of the audience and staying true to their product is where Jamhour and Salazar excel.

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Check them out!
221 E Broadway Street
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
(801) 906-8761
https://www.facebook.com/thepeoplescoffee/

Published in Downtown News and Blog
June 24, 2019

The Other Utah Jazz

Stop me if you’ve heard this before – “But there’s no Jazz in Utah! They should give that name back to New Orleans.” For years, fans of our Utah Jazz basketball team have had to defend our squad’s name with little backup. Fortunately for basketball and music fans alike, this statement couldn’t be further from the truth. While we may not quite have the same jazz scene that New Orleans has, downtown Salt Lake City features world-class jazz talent in our bars and cultural venues on a weekly basis. Fans of our beloved basketball team can finally silence their critics thanks to several organizations and individuals working to showcase our rich local jazz scene.

Jazz at the Rabbit Hole 
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Located in the basement of Lake Effect (155 W. 200 South), it’s all about the music with Jazz at the Rabbit Hole. Serving as Salt Lake’s only jazz listening room, talking is not permitted during performances. “Some people don’t quite get it yet but this is meant for listening to these fabulous jazz players,” says Kelly Salmans who was inspired to open a jazz listening room in Salt Lake after traveling to clubs in cities like New York and Chicago. Once you grab a cold drink and take a seat, you’re sure to appreciate the listening room format as you’ll have a courtside seat to some of the most talented jazz musicians in the country. 

Jazz at the Rabbit hole runs every Wednesday night from 7:30 - 10:30 p.m. and is free of charge! View upcoming performances by following Jazz at the Rabbit hole on facebook.

Excellence in the Community Concert Series
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“Based on 40 years of attending jazz gigs and concerts, in my opinion, I have never heard better music anywhere,” says jazz musician and Excellence Concert goer Bert H. High praise from a former resident of notable jazz cities - New York and Paris. Excellence in the Community (excellenceconcerts.org) offers a variety of jazz genres from Latin to swing and bossa-nova to avant-garde and even big band dance nights in the summer. Hosted in the heart of downtown at the Gallivan Center (239 S. Main St), Excellence showcases Utah’s best musicians to the tune of 120 free jazz concerts in 2018 alone. 

JazzSLC & The GAM Foundation
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What started simply as a fun idea between two friends in 1994, is now entering its 25th year of successful concerts. It’s safe to say that Gordon Hanks and Michael T. Mackay have helped put jazz music on the map in Salt Lake by featuring over 500 of the worlds finest jazz artists throughout the years. In addition to putting on killer shows throughout the year, JazzSLC/GAM have made it their mission to educate and advocate on behalf of jazz music by working with local schools and offering discounted tickets to students. 

Get your tickets to JazzSLC’s silver anniversary season at jazzslc.com

Now that we’ve successfully disproved the idea behind the lack of jazz music in SLC, I pose the question: How many lakes are there in Los Angeles? We should probably give that name back to Minnesota. 

Need More Jazz?!  

Jazz Vespers @ Gracies:
Find David Halliday and the Jazz Vespers Quartet every night at Gracie’s (326 S. West Temple) from 7 - 10 p.m.  

Utah Jazz & Roots Festival: 
Swing down to the Gallivan Center this September 5-7 for a free Jazz & Roots Festival featuring a blend of local and national acts.

Published in Downtown News and Blog
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