The local music community is mourning the passing of one of Dayton’s jazz stewards.
Jazz Central owner Charles “Butch” Stone died Wednesday, April 1, according to Ronald Gable, the keeper of all things jazz in the city.
Stone’s club has been a music institution since he opened it in the summer of 1976 at 2931 E.Third St. as the Building Lounge.
Stone remodeled his club in the 90s and familiar New Orleans-style façade to the building’s
exterior. It was renamed Jazz Central in 1995.
It proudly hosts an open jam session every Sunday for musicians and singers – rookies to seasoned vets.
Nationally known acts have stopped by the club to join in the jam.
“You never know what’s going to happen,” Stone told the Dayton Daily News in 2011 said. “I’ve had some pretty big guys walk in here.”
A long list of notable local and national jazz act played at Jazz Central including “Brother” Jack McDuff, Richard “Groove” Holmes, Johnny Lytle, Albert Collins.
Punk acts played at the club certain nights.
“I had punk rock and jazz, Stone told the DDN as part of a story marking his club’s 30th anniversary. “We would bring in groups out of New York that I never heard of and you couldn’t get in here. There’d be just as many people in the parking lot. They were good times, but jazz was always my main thing.”
Stone hosted a radio show on WDPS, Dayton City Schools radio station, for some time.
A towering man with a deep voice and friendly face, Stone often worked the door at his club.
He worked to keep up with the times as interest in jazz waned.
“I believe a lot of people know about the club,” Stone told the Dayton City Paper in 2012. “But you have to give them what they want. If it’s not what they want, then…. Take for instance Saturday night (In March 2012). We were packed. If you’re giving them what they want, they will come out. But there are definitely obstacles to being a minority business. Sometimes my ice just ain’t cold enough (chuckles). My mother told me that! She said don’t look down. Keep going forward.”