March 23rd, 2015
Dear Friends:

I recently paid a visit to my father who lives on the New Jersey shore.  I took him out for a steak at a local steak house that had been there forever.   We sat in the dimly lit restaurant and there in the corner was a piano and an old-timer playing it.  We ordered our food and conversed and I listened and observed this pianist.  It was something that I hadn't seen in a long time - a real cocktail pianist.  Having donned a tuxedo and sat behind dimly lit pianos playing for indifferent audiences for many years, I have a deep sympathy and admiration for those that can do it.  This gentleman (who turned out, I found out later, to be 80 years old) played in a style that no longer exists.  One tune after another, great old chestnuts such as "Dancing In The Dark", "Deep In A Dream", "Indian Summer" - one after the other in a continuous segue.  Not jazz either, no "blowing" or hip originals or far out harmonies or grandstanding but just the tunes - played clearly and simply and with the most correct chord changes you'll ever hear.  I mentioned to my Pop - "this is a rarity, like seeing a dinosaur".  I observed this guy play, with a gentleness and grace, while televisions blared and people talked at the top of their lungs and some stupid kid walks by and plays "chopsticks" while the guy is in the middle of tune.  He is unfazed.  Just patient and playing his songs - creating a lovely background fabric for the restaurant.  A lost art, indeed, this style of cocktail piano.  It made me think about Humility and particularly humility as a musician, as the kind of musician who can serve a public and create a music that is not a "performance" but rather something environmental - lovely background for people to eat and speak.  In this day and age of self-proclaimed masters on Facebook, extolling their own virtues or emailing about their EPK's of their "amazing" shows to promote themselves.  Or musicians who simply regurgitate what they think is hip or the self-righteous ones who claim lineage to some kind of tradition - they all need to shut up and sit in a corner and play for 5 hours with minimal breaks (this guy didn't take one in the entire time we sat there, not one).  Musicians today need to learn about service and also about taste and playing tunes correctly - really knowing those melodies and the right chords, not the ones taken from some jazz-class.  It's hard to play this way.  It can be crushing but it's real work, something that a lot of young musicians have never known or have forgotten about. Real musical work, which is to say, not playing your original tunes for a one hour set in front of a appreciative audience but rather as a way to create background.  A throwback to the days before iPods when the only way to have music in a restaurant was to hire a pianist.  It made me think about the great masters that I've known in my lifetime - musicians like Harry Whitaker or Mark Thompson or Walter Davis Jr - they were musicians who knew about work, could play in pizzerias, could play for hours without complaint, who were joyful and not slanderous but through their love of music only saw the good qualities in others.  Musicians, who like boulders in a river that have been rubbed smooth by the current were natural, uncomplaining and spoke with their hearts.  Humility, Taste and Grace - the highest qualities a musician can aspire to and what is most sorely needed today.

My best wishes to everyone and their loved ones - I hope to see you at the clubs!


NOW: A cover paid at Mezzrow also gets you admission to Smalls.
Mezzrow proudly endorses Steinway pianos

Tonight! Monday - 3/23
Michael Kanan with
Neal Miner, Greg Ruggiero

Mike Kanan is the epitome of taste and class as a pianist - a musician's musician.  This evening he plays with the stellar swinging bassist Neal Miner and the soulful guitarist Greg Ruggiero.  Come join us for a evening of his music.

John Merrill Solo Guitar @ 7:30 PM
Trio Sets @ 9:30 PM & 11 PM

To advance purchase a reserved seat click:

Tuesday - 3/24
Philip Harper Trio

Trumpeter Phil Harper brings his sterling sound and jazz feeling into Mezzrow for two sets.

Doors open @ 7 PM
Trio sets @ 8 PM & 9:30 PM

Mezzrow "polite jam session" @ 10:30 PM

To advance purchase a reserved seat click:

Wednesday - 3/25
Willerm Delisfort & Gerald Cannon

Pianist Willerm Delisfort has a grooving feeling and a modernist's approach to jazz but all with a great jazz feeling.  With him is the rock solid Gerald Cannon on bass.

 Happy Hour Solo Piano @ 7:30 PM
Duo sets @ 9 PM & 10:30 PM

Mezzrow "polite jam session"@ 11:30 PM

To advance purchase a reserved seat click:

Thursday - 3/26
The Lew Tabackin Birthday Celebration

Come down to Mezzrow this evening to celebrate the birthday of one of the greatest living saxophonist - Mr. Lew Tabackin.  There will be many guests and much merriment!

 Happy Hour Solo Piano @ 7:30 PM
Lew Tabackin sets @ 9 PM & 10:30 PM

Jon Davis Solo Piano @ 11:30 PM

To advance purchase a reserved seat click:

Friday to Sunday - 3/27-29
Kevin Hays with
Matt Brewer (3/27),
Scott Colley (3/28),
Larry Grenadier (3/29)
  • Kevin Hays is a modern improvising musician with a tremendous span of knowledge and a masterful approach to the piano.  He comes in for three nights at Mezzrow each with a different bass player.

    Fri - Ehud Asherie Solo Piano @ 7:15 PM
    Sat - Spike Wilner w. special guests 
    @ 7:15 PM
    Sun - Pasquale Grasso Solo Guitar @ 7:30 PM

    Duo sets @ 9 PM & 10:30 PM
    12 AM - 2 AM After hours

    To advance purchase a reserved seat click:


(a selection of featured shows)

For our full schedule please go to

Monday - 3/23
Stephane Spira
"In Between" Quartet

Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM
w. Stephane Spira - Tenor Sax, Sam Kulik - Trombone, Steve Wood - Bass, Johnathan Blake - Drums

Tenor saxophonist Stephane Spira celebrates the release of his new CD "In Between"
Monday - 3/23
The Ari Hoenig Trio
Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM

w. Gilad Hekselman - Guitar, Orlando Le Fleming - Bass, Ari Hoenig - Drums

Ari Hoenig returns to his regular slot at Smalls with his excellent trio featuring guitarist Gilad Hekselman.

Tuesday - 3/24
Smalls Legacy Band Feat. Frank Lacy
Sets at 9:30 PM & 11 PM

 w. Stacy Dillard - Tenor Sax, Josh Evans - Trumpet, Theo Hill - Piano, Ameen Saleem - Bass, Frank Lacy - Trombone, Kush Abadey - Drums

The Legacy continues it's residency and bring the powerful swing and feel to the Smalls stage.

Wednesday - 3/25
Itamar Borochov Band
Sets at 7:30 PM & 9:00 PM
w. Dayna Stephens - Tenor Sax, Itamar Borochov - Trumpet, Michael King - Piano, Alexander Claffy - Bass, Jay Sawyer - Drums

Israeli trumpeter Itmar Borochov comes into Smalls with his excellent quintet that features the work of tenor saxophonist Dayna Stephens.
Wednesday - 3/25
Logan Richardson's SHIFT
Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM
w. Logan Richardson - Alto Sax,  Nir Felder - Guitar, Sam Harris - Piano, Harish Raghavan - Bass,
Rudy Royston - Drums

A rare New York appearance from the amazing Logan Richardson and his group SHIFT, which features the work of guitarist Nir Felder.
Thursday - 3/26
The Ken Fowser Band
Sets at 7:30 PM & 9:00 PM

w. Ken Fowser - Tenor Sax, Josh Bruneau - Trumpet, Rick Germanson - Piano, Gerald Cannon - Bass,
Willie Jones III - Drums

Swinging tenor saxophonist Ken Fowser comes to Smalls with his all-star group that features the stellar drumming of Willie Jones III.
Thu, Fri & Sat - 3/26-28
Steve Davis Quintet
Thu - Sets at 7:30 PM & 9:00 PM
Fri, Sat - Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM

$20 for this show
w. Steve Davis - Trombone, Abraham Burton - Tenor Sax, Taber Gable - Piano, Dezron Douglas - Bass,
Jonathan Barber - Drums

Modern day master Steve Davis returns to Smalls with his crack ensemble that features the great Abe Burton on the tenor and the hard swinging Dezron Douglas on bass.
Friday - 3/27
The Dave Stoler Trio
Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM
$20 for this show
w. David Stoler - Piano, Essiet Essiet - Bass,
Joe Farnsworth - Drums

Pianist Dave Stoler returns to Smalls with his trio.  This is a pianist of great taste and swing and well worth discovering.
Saturday - 3/28
The Pete Malinverni Trio
Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM

$20 for this show
 w. Pete Malinverni - Piano, Doug Weiss - Bass,
Billy Drummond - Drums

Pianist Pete Malinverni is an original voice on the instrument and a joyful improvisor.  Come discover this wonderful artist.
Sunday - 3/29
George Gee Orchestra
Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM
 w. Hilary Gardner - Vocalist, Andy Gravish - Trumpet, Freddie Hendrix - Trumpet, Ed Pazant - Alto Sax, Mike Hashim - Tenor Sax, Paul Nedzela - Baritone Sax, Robert Edwards - Trombone, Steve Einerson - Piano, Marcus McLaurine - Bass, Willard Dyson - Drums

Our big band Sunday afternoon tradition continues with the hard swining George Gee and his big band.,
Sunday - 3/29
Behn Gillece Quintet
Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM

w. Ken Fowser - Tenor Sax, Behn Gillece - Vibraphone, Jeremy Manasia - Piano, Joseph Lepore - Bass,
Charles Ruggiero - Drums

Vibraphonist Behn Gillece is a force to be reckoned with.  Catch him with his excellent quintet.


Monday - 3/23, 1 AM to close
Afterhours with Jonathan Michel


Tuesday - 3/24, 7:30 PM to close 
The Ehud Asherie Trio

Tuesday - 3/24 12:30 AM to close 
The Next Generation Sessions with Kyle Poole


Wednesday - 3/25, 1:30 AM to close 
Afterhours Jam Session


Thursday - 3/26, 1:30 AM to close 
Afterhours Jam Session


Friday - 3/27, 4:30 PM to 7 PM
Friday afternoon open jam session With :
Ai Murakami Trio


Friday - 3/27, 1:15 AM
Friday Afterhours With :
The Anthony Wonsey Trio

Saturday - 3/28, 4 PM to 7 PM
Saturday Afternoon Open Jam Session
With : Jonathan Thomas Trio

Saturday - 3/28, 1:30 AM to close
Afterhours with Philip Harper

Sunday - 3/29, 1 PM to 3 PM
Vocal Masterclass with Marion Cowings 
$20 entry, $40 to participate


ENJOY SmallsLIVE records!

Find them on


SmallsLIVE at iTunes
NEW on iTunes!!!!



Copyright © *2104 *SmallsLIVE *All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences