Michael Arkadie is a business mogul, mentor, and proprietor of the Jazz Funk Connection, a live music venue “created by musicians, for musicians, and the fans who love to hear them!” The establishment is a cultural jewel nestled at the cross-section of Platte and Platte Place, and gaining high esteem for its homey atmosphere, delicious menu, and fantastic live music.
Mr. Arkadie was Born in Denver and raised in Park Hill, one of Denver’s oldest Black neighborhoods. His childhood locale meant he would almost inevitably find his church home at Union Missionary Baptist, where at just nine years old, he emerged a strong choir vocalist and talented drummer. Yet, the young performer had years before exhibited a knack for musicianship:
“Music has always been my first passion. I began playing stringed instruments like the electric bass and acoustic guitar and was good. After an hour or so with any instrument, I could master it enough to play a song. Eventually, I advanced to more complex instruments like keyboards.”
After serving in the U.S. Military, Mr. Arkadie entrenched successful careers in I.T., commercial aviation, and healthcare. Together, he and Mrs. Arkadie, BSN, founded one of ten, Black-owned Home Care agencies in the Denver Metropolitan area. For twenty years, Mr. Arkadie effectively succeeded as a corporate manager, but upon retiring envisioned attaining a new proprietorship relative to his first love:
“I wanted to open a place for older Black people, or young Black people with old souls to come chill. I wanted an all-Black house band and to provide the quality of entertainment worthy of my personal taste, as well as customers and audiences.”
Thus, Mr. Arkadie began scouting potential sites and businesses for sale in Colorado Springs. He’d long-since observed the absence of “down-home” BBQ and soul food establishments throughout the city. As a mogul with a keen business mind, he seized the opportunity to capitalize on the scarcity of entertainment and cuisine specific to Black culture.
He discovered the Platte Place location and was impressed with the layout and built-in sound system. The existing structure was also suitable for an eatery but needed work to become a proper live music venue. After procuring the location, Mr. Arkadie set to work with renovations and multiple upgrades, including sound-proofing the 12′ x 24″ stage and a swanky VIP area.
“This is a grown-folks venue. I want people to know this is a good place to come, hear good music, eat good food, and enjoy being Black! If you get on my stage, you have to be good at what you do. You don’t have to be a national title, but you must be one of the best jazz/R&B musicians out there.”
Future aspirations for the mogul include expansion to a chain and a mentorship program for hopeful high school musicians. To aspiring Black business professionals, Mr. Arkadie strongly advises patience and an executable plan:
“I didn’t have a lot of Black mentors growing up. But I’ve learned the Black man has everything he needs to be successful. [Nevertheless], patience is one of the hardest things for the Black man to exercise because so many of us grow up seeking the instant gratification provided by the ‘street game.’ I recommend they apply their street tenacity and hustle mentality to conquer the business world successfully. That’s a ‘game’ truly worth winning!”