Home » Jazzin it up in Margi Flint’s backyard

Jazzin it up in Margi Flint’s backyard

Stan Strickland performs during the “Jazz in the Garden” series of summer concerts in Marblehead on Sunday. He was accompanied by Joe Mulholland and Ricardo Monzon (seen partially on the right). The series is held in Margi Flint’s garden. Photo by Paula Muller

The smooth sound of a saxophone, the cool beat of a drum set, and the melody of a piano filled the air on a breezy Sunday afternoon as jazz lovers came together to listen to Joe Mulholland and friends, inside of Marblehead resident Margi Flint’s garden. 

Located at 10 Central St., Flint started Jazz in the Garden 12 years ago as a way to connect music lovers with the environment. When asked about the benefits of music, especially in an outdoor space, Flint said that it is a form of healing. 

“We all fall into states of disease and not all of us are healthy 100%, but we can live every day enjoying each day and that is the point, to experience joy,” Flint said. “And music makes me happy.”

She says the musicians who come to play in the garden feel a strong bond to the earth around them.

“There have been days where certain musicians seem to have more of a connection with nature,” Flint said. “There was one concert where the birds would sing back.” 

Mulholland performed with friends Stan Strickland and Ricardo Monzon to a crowd of roughly two dozen scattered throughout the garden. Mulholland has played in the garden every summer for nearly a decade after being approached by Flint at a now defunct jazz club in Beverly.

“I was completely knocked out by it,” he said. “It was so perfect and beautiful. I’ve been back every year with a different group and I look forward to this all year long.”

Flint said that she has always been a jazz enthusiast. Growing up, her father would play big-band music in the house, and she took a liking to the genre.

‘I just loved it,” Flint said. “It made me happy.”

She then began going to live jazz concerts and met who she calls her first “jazz friend,” John Lockwood, a renowned acoustic and electric bassist. After meeting Lockwood, she continued going out at night to different bars and clubs that hosted jazz bands.

She soon met another jazz friend who played in a big band and became the first artist to play in Flint’s backyard.

“He said ‘Margi, can I come to your garden and play to the plants?’” Flint said with a laugh. “And I said ‘Sure.’”

A week before the concert he had a friend flying in from New York to play with him at the garden, which is when Flint said that she would invite others to come to the garden so he had someone to play for.

“That was the beginning,” she said.

All concerts take place on Sundays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The first few concerts she hosted had a wide range of attendance, but Flint’s Jazz in the Garden series has now drawn a steady crowd, with many coming in from other surrounding communities, and even other states such as California, to see the shows. 

Her garden is full of nature, from the three young cardinals that Mulholland said he saw before the concert began, to the honeybees and bumblebees hovering around the colorful flowers found throughout the yard. But Flint’s plants aren’t just for show. Nearly every plant grown in the yard is used for her integrative healing business, Earthsong Herbals. Though she is semi-retired now and not accepting new clients, she still travels constantly, teaching her medicinal practices in different schools and across the country. 

Others in town have also adopted the idea of holding concerts in their backyards. Leah Bokenkamp and Mike Rozinzky started Homegrown House Concerts in 2015 with the idea of hosting locally-grown talent for shows in their backyard on Rowland Street. Flint said that Marblehead is a town that is set up to support events like these, and that admiring music is important.

“It is a wonderful community here,” Flint said. “I think appreciating the arts is something we really have to stay aware of.”

Flint has eight more shows set up for the rest of the 2023 series, with the next show taking place on August 13 featuring Bert Seager and Friends. The last concert will take place on October 15 with Allan Chase closing out the series. Reservations are required and to do so, contact Margi Flint at 781-888-4312 in advance or by email at margiflint@mac.com

Visit earthsongherbals.com for a full list of 2023 concerts.