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Smalls/Mezzrow Newsletter - May 23rd, 2016

Dear Friends:
 

Thinking about my main man - the great Mitch Borden.  Last week Smalls celebrated it's 22nd year as a jazz club.  On May 20th, 1994, Smalls had its first evening of music.  It started with a duo from pianist Jason Lindner and saxophonist Ned Gould.  Then a quintet which featured Brad Mehldau, Peter Bernstein, Grant Stewart, Omer Avital and Andy Watson played - A club was born!  Now 22 years later, there have been about 25,000 shows and more than 4000 musicians on the Smalls stage.  Smalls has spawned multi-generations of jazz musicians, who have come to hang out and cut their teeth in this tiny, 65 seat basement.  The common denominator of all of this is one man, Mitch Borden, who has selflessly and tirelessly worked the club and loved and charmed nearly everyone who has set foot in his hallowed space.

Mitch remains an enigma to most folks.  I've had the extraordinary privilege of getting to know him personally and to become his friend.  But the man himself is somewhat of a mystery.  As public as he is, he is an intensely private person.  In my mind he is a true philosopher who applies his credo to his daily life and manifests in the results of his work.  In his heart he is a Buddhist - a compassionate person who works for the benefit of all Mankind and not for his personal gain.  He is an artist and a true musician - most don't know how deep his knowledge of music runs.  For those that have had the chance to see inside his apartment (he lives just around the corner from his beloved Smalls), it is packed to the gills with records, books, videos and everything else you can imagine.  He has a comprehensive knowledge of opera, classical music, jazz from every era, not to mention medicine, religion and Asian culture.

I recently found this interview with Mitch that was done in 2005, before I was involved in the business of the club (I became his business partner in 2007 but have been a part of Smalls since the first day).  It gives a deeper insight into the mind of the man and fills in some blanks in the club's history that may have not been clear.  Here is the link to the interview --->  CLICK

One thing really struck me from this interview.  One question he was asked was; "why do you work the door at Smalls, is it because you want to hear the music?" - meaning, why should a club owner do what some owners might consider beneath them.  Mitch's response typifies the philosophy that I have carried close to my heart.  Mitch said; "The way I set up the business is that you have to be an owner operator, give yourself a salary. ‘Cause there isn't a big profit for the owner who doesn't work. It's out of necessity.  I do try to listen to the music. But I'd rather play it. You know, when you listen to someone else… musicians are always trying to get ideas or inspired, and so I'm always trying to do that. But then like really listening? That's a meditative trance you have to get into and that's hard working the door. I guess I should take a day off someday and go to my own club."

This made me laugh so hard!  If only people could realize this - hard work is the key.  No room to be the kind of owner that sits around and gets all the money - there is no money!  If you want to make anything then you got to do it all (and I mean all) to get by - and the number one thing - the music!  To play it, to be part of it - that's the reason why you the hard work.  It's this "Smalls Credo" that I live by, that was taught to me by my beloved mentor Mitch, just be humble, just work your ass off, just really believe in what you're doing and just give as much as you possibly can.  Keep that mindset and you can achieve something great.  Mitch is a cultural hero, a behind the scenes kind of guy who, without him, we would be a whole lot poorer.  Jazz music and New York City owe an awful lot to this modest, odd man.  God Bless him and give us the strength to continue another 22 years!

My best to wishes to all of you!

Spike

 

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20 shows added per week

   
             The Johnny O'Neal Trio           The Dwayne Clemons Quintet        Brooklyn Circle      
NOW: A cover paid at Mezzrow also gets you admission to Smalls.

Monday - 5/23
Emmet Cohen with Russell Hall & Evan Sherman

Pianist Emmet Cohen is a dynamic player with a hard swinging drive and considerable knowledge of the jazz idiom.  Join him for an evening of trio with Russell Hall on bass and Evan Sherman on drums.

John Merrill ( No Cover ) @ 8 PM
Emmet Cohen sets @ 9 PM & 10:30 PM

To advance purchase a reserved seat click:
CLICK HERE TO RESERVE

Tuesday - 5/24
Claudia Acuna with
Pablo Vergara & John Benitez

Chilean vocalist Claudia Acuna has a sultry voice and authentic deep feeling.  Each of her concerts is a special event.  With her is Pablo Vergara on piano and John Benitez on drums.

Doors @ 7:30 PM
Claudia Acuna sets @ 8 PM & 9:30 PM
Mezzrow "Polite Jam Session" @ 11 PM


To advance purchase a reserved seat click:
CLICK HERE TO RESERVE

Wednesday, Thursday - 5/25-26
Eric Alexander & Harold Mabern

There's no harder working (or swinging) duo around - power duo!  Tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander and legendary pianist Harold Mabern team up for two nights at Mezzrow.

Doors @ 7:30 PM
Eric Alexander sets @ 8 PM & 9:30 PM
5/25- Mezzrow "Polite Jam Session" @ 10:30 PM

5/26 - Davis Whitfield "After-hours" @ 11 PM

To advance purchase a reserved seat click:
5/25- CLICK HERE TO RESERVE
5/26 - CLICK HERE TO RESERVE

Friday, Saturday - 5/27-28
Joanne Brackeen & Richie Goods

  • Jazz pianist Joanne Brackeen is a jazz legend, having had played with artists such as Art Blakey and Stan Getz.  She has a sound that is truly her own.  Don't miss this rare Mezzrow engagement.  She'll be accompanied by bassist Richie Goods.
5/27 - Sacha Perry ( no cover ) @ 7:30 PM
5/28 - Spike Wilner ( no cover ) @ 7:30 PM

Joanne Brackeen sets @ 9:30 PM & 11 PM
5/27 - Johnny O'Neal "After-hours" @ 12 AM
5/28 - "After-hours" @ 12 AM

To advance purchase a reserved seat click:
5/27 - CLICK HERE TO RESERVE
5/28 - CLICK HERE TO RESERVE

Sunday - 5/29
The Grant Stewart Trio

Tenor saxophonist Grant Stewart has a huge sound and huge love for the American Songbook.  Come out to hear his trio in Mezzrow's listening room.

Pasquale Grasso from 8 PM to 9 PM
Grant Stewart from 9 PM to 11:30 PM


To advance purchase a reserved seat click:
CLICK HERE TO RESERVE

Mezzrow proudly endorses Steinway pianos

THIS WEEK AT SMALLS
(a selection of featured shows)

For our full schedule please go to www.smallslive.com

Monday - 5/23
TRI-FI
 Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM

     with Matthew Fries - Piano, Phil Palombi - Bass, Keith Hall - Drums
Monday - 5/23
The Ari Hoenig Nonet
 Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM

     with Ari Hoenig - Drums, Noam Wiesenberg, Glenn Zaleski - Piano, Joel Frahm - Tenor Sax, Eden Bareket - Bari Sax, Darren Beckett - Drums, Tim Gallagher - French Horn, Ryan Keberle - Trombone, Alex Lore - Alto Sax
Tuesday - 5/24
The Spike Wilner Trio
CD Release!  "Koan" from Posi-tone
 Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM

     with Spike Wilner - Piano, Tyler Michell - Bass, Anthony Pinciotti - Drums
Tuesday - 5/24
The Lucas Pino Nonet
 Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM

     with Lucas Pino - Tenor Sax, Benny Benack III - trumpet, Andrew Gutauskas - Bari Sax, Nick Finzer - Trombone, Glenn Zaleski - Piano, Rafael Sarnecki - Guitar, Desmond White - Bass, Jimmy MacBride - Drums
Wednesday - 5/25
The Hendrik Meurkens Quartet
Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM

     with Hendrik Meurkens - Leader, Misha Tsiganov - Piano, Eduardo Belo - Bass, Adriano Santos - Drums
Wednesday - 5/25
East-West Trumpet Summit
Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM

     with Thomas Marriott, Ray Vega - Trumpet, Orrin Evans - Piano, Luques Curtis - Bass,
Donald Edwards - Drums
Thursday - 5/26
The Dan Aran Quintet
 Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM

  with Dan Aran -Drums, Joe Magnarelli - Trumpet, Itai Kriss - Flute, Adam Birnbaum - Piano, Dave Baron - Bass
Thursday - 5/26
The Carlos Abadie Quintet
 Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM

     with Carlos Abadie - Trumpet, Mike Troy - Alto Sax, Peter Zak - Piano, Clovis Nicolas - Bass,
Luca Santaniello - Drums
Friday - 5/27
Tom Dempsey/Tim Ferguson Quartet
Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM

$20 for this show
    with Tom Dempsey - Guitar, Tim Ferguson - Bass, Joel Frahm - Tenor Sax, Eliot Zigmund - Drums
 Saturday - 5/28
The Sylvia Cuenca Quintet
Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM

$20 for this show
     with  Sylvia Cuenca - Drums, Ralph Bowen - Tenor Sax, Paul Bollenbeck - Guitar, Jared Gold - Organ, Steve Nelson - Vibraphone
Friday & Saturday - 5/27-28
The Abraham Burton Quartet

Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM
$20 for this show
    with Abraham Burton - Tenor Sax, Luis Perdomo - Piano, Rashaan Carter - Bass, Donald Edwards - Drums
Sunday - 5/29
The Freddie Redd Birthday Show

Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM
     with Freddie Redd - Piano, Chris Byars - Tenor Sax, John Mosca - Trombone, Stefano Doglioni - Clarinet, James Byars - Oboe, Pasquale Grasso - Guitar, Ben Meigners - Bass, Stefan Schatz - Drums
Sunday - 5/29
The Charles Owens Trio

Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM
     with Charles Owens - Tenor Sax, Hans Glawischnig - Bass, Daniel Friedman - Drums

SMALLS JAZZ CLUB REGULAR SHOWS

Monday - 5/23, 1 AM to close
After-hours with Jonathan Michel

 

Tuesday - 5/24, 1 AM to close 
After-hours with Kyle Poole


Wednesday - 5/25, 1:30 AM to close
After-hours Jam Session with
 Aaron Seeber

 

Thursday - 5/26, 1:30 AM to close 
After-hours Jam Session

 

Friday - 5/27, 4 PM - 7 PM
Andrew Forman - Afternoon Jam Session

Friday - 5/27, 1:15 AM
After-hours with Corey Wallace DUBtet

 

Saturday - 5/28, 4 PM to 7 PM
Afternoon Jam Session with Jonathan Thomas

 

Saturday - 5/28, 1:30 AM to close
After-hours with The Philip Harper Quintet

 

Sunday - 5/29,  1 PM to 3 PM
Vocal workshop with Marion Cowings


Sunday - 5/29,  4:30 PM to 7 PM
Ai Murakami Trio, Feat Sacha Perry

 

Sunday - 5/29,  1 AM to close
After-hours with Hillel Salem


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