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SmallsLIVE/Mezzrow Newsletter
April 8th, 2019

Auspicious Events
 
The day was auspicious.  It was the 12th-year anniversary of my taking over the lease and license to the 183 Rio Restaurant Corporation also known as Smalls Jazz Club.   I remember that my original plan was “5 years, tops”.  Well, here I was 12 years in and counting and no end in sight.  Unexpectedly that night, my old friend drummer Joe Farnsworth called me for a gig in Connecticut.  Getting called for a gig by Joe in-itself was auspicious, a rare thing that I did not take lightly.  I gladly accepted.  Joe told me it was to be in a fancy country club and that the bass player was another old friend, Ari Roland.  Joe asked if I could travel with Ari to the gig together and he would meet us there.  It occurred to me that I hadn’t played with the combo of Joe and Ari for many years, perhaps as long as the late 1980’s when I used to hold down the Sunday afternoon jam session chair at the venerable Village Gate.

I met up with Ari at Grand Central and we rode the 4:33 to Westport together.  This gave us an opportunity to catch up and talk about the scene.  I was introduced to Ari when he was just a 16-year-old prodigy at Barry Harris’ Jazz Cultural Theater.  Fast forward now 30 years later to that Metro North car and the two of us were ruminating like old men about musicians long gone.  We conjured forgotten names and laughed at old war stories.  Of course, we discussed Smalls in the post-Mitch Borden era and the fact that tonight was my 12th year anniversary of taking over the club.  I marveled how auspicious that the night of this anniversary I would be doing a gig with these two veterans, my old Village Gate bandmates.  We talked about the time before Smalls existed.  Then the hang was at the Village Gate, now a desecrated ruin infested by a CVS drug store.  But in those days, it was a serious scene for musicians and regulars.  Each vibrant Sunday afternoon I ran the jam session there and hired various trios, Ari and Joe being one of those configurations.

We arrived at this very posh country club and went to the restaurant where we were told to set up “by the piano”.  I didn’t have much faith in the quality of the instrument and was relieved that there was even a piano and not a keyboard.  As I looked over the piano it turned out to be a Steinway M.  Imagine my surprise when I saw a calligraphed sign reading: “This 1937 Steinway piano was owned by the Village Gate until the club closed…” and then listed all the great jazz pianists that had played it.  I was agog.  This was the piano for the Village Gate terrace - the very piano that I played Sunday after Sunday!  How could it be?  The coincidence seemed immense and yet, here it was, true.  Auspiciously, on the very night of my 12-year anniversary of owning Smalls, I was conjured to Connecticut to play a trio gig with bandmates from another time on the very piano that I had performed on.  It seemed incredible!  I touched the piano and played some – yes, that old Steinway action.  Something old and “New York” about it, a New York Steinway with that heavy touch.  No feather-trigger action here – you had to muscle it to get that tone.  Hello old friend!  It brought back that sound and I was teleported back to 1988 – bebop on the terrace, all the tables packed, the waitress getting around with the beers, the friends high-fiving and sitting up on the steps behind the bandstand and getting yelled at.  It all came back to me in a flash – The Village Gate, this piano, these musicians, my life.  All in one big circle.

My great-great Grandfather the mystic and Kabbalist insisted that signs and omens were everywhere and that an aware person should always be taking note.  Coincidence is the “hand of God” and we must read His book as it unfolds before us.  My life in Jazz has been a story and one still being written.  The wonderful people I have met and the musicians I have known and most importantly the last 12 years spent in a basement at 183 West 10th street.  From the Village Gate to Smalls to the future, it’s been a wonderful fabric.  I can only express wonder and gratitude, keep one eye on the past on the other on the future and marvel at my good fortune.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  Life itself is auspicious.

Peace and Productivity,

Spike

Monday - 4/8
Nitai Hershkovits & Rick Rosato

Pianist Nitai Hershkovits returns to Mezzrow with bassist Rick Rosato for an evening of duo not to be missed.

 Doors @ 7 PM
Seatings at 7:30 and 9 PM

Guitarist Pasquale Grasso @ 10:30 PM

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

Tuesday - 4/9
Omer Avital & Yonathan Avishai

Bassist Omer Avital returns to the stage at Mezzrow with pianist Yonathan Avishai for an evening of duets.

 Doors @ 7 PM
Seatings at 7:30 and 9 PM

Vocalist Vanessa Perea @ 10:30 PM

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

Wednesday - 4/10
Massimo Farao, Rita Payes & Nicola Barbon

Join Italian pianist Massimo Farao for a rare New York appearance in Mezzrow's listening room with his trio featuring trombonist/vocalist Rita Payes & bassist Nicola Barbon.

 Doors @ 7 PM
Seatings at 7:30 and 9 PM

Pianist Luis Perdomo @ 10:30 PM

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

Thursday - 4/11
Lafayette Harris, Peter Washington & Jerome Jennings

Lafayette Harris is a modest and sparkling pianist with a lovely swinging touch.  He is joined by his trio featuring Peter Washington on bass and Jerome Jennings on drums.

 Doors @ 7 PM
Seatings at 7:30 and 9 PM

Pianist Spike Wilner @ 10:30 PM

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

Friday & Saturday - 4/12-4/13
Steve Davis, Larry Willis & Peter Washington

Trombonist Steve Davis is a Mezzrow favorite.  He's brings Larry Willis on piano and Peter Washington on bass for a weekend of trio in our acoustic room.

 Doors @ 7 PM
Seatings at 7:30 PM and 9 PM

4/12 - Pianist Greg Murphy @ 10:30 PM
4/13 - Pianist Anthony Wonsey @ 10:30 PM


To advance purchase a reserved seat click:
4/12 - CLICK HERE TO RESERVE
4/13 - CLICK HERE TO RESERVE

Sunday - 4/14
Solo Piano Salon - No Cover

Join pianist Spike Wilner for an afternoon of solo piano, there is no cover charge for this event.

  Doors @ 4:30 PM
Spike Wilner from 5 PM until 6:30 PM

  

Sunday - 4/14
Neal Kirkwood, Tim Harrison & Ron Horton

Pianist/Vibraphonist Neal Kirkwood is a veteran player who plays with wonderful jazz feeling. He is joined by pianist/flautist Tim Harrison and Ron Horton on trumpet.

 Doors @ 7 PM
Seatings at 7:30 and 9 PM
Guitarist John Merrill & Friends @ 10:30 PM


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

Monday - 4/8
Omer Avital Trio
 Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM
with Omer Avital - Bass, Yonathan Avishai - Piano, Daniel Freedman - Drums
Monday - 4/8
Rodney Green Trio
 Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM

with Rodney Green - Drums, Nicole Glover - Tenor Sax, Dean Torrey - Bass
Monday - 4/8
Sean Mason Trio "After-hours"
 1 AM to close
with Sean Mason - Piano
Tuesday - 4/9
Justin Robinson Quartet
 Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM
with Justin Robinson - Alto Sax, Tadataka Unno - Piano, Santi Debriano - Bass, Jason Brown - Drums
Tuesday - 4/9
Frank Lacy's Tromboniverse
 Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM

with Frank Lacy - Trombone
Tuesday - 4/9
Malik McLaurine Trio "After-hours"
 1 AM to close
with Malik McLaurine - Bass, Julius Rodriguez - Piano
Wednesday - 4/10
Remy Le Boeuf Quintet
 Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM

with Remy Le Boeuf - Alto Sax, Gilad Hekselman - Guitar, Glenn Zaleski - Piano, Rick Rosato - Bass, Peter Kronreif - Drums
Wednesday - 4/10
Mike Lee Trio
 Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM
with Mike Lee - Tenor Sax, Ed Howard - Bass, Alvester Garnett - Drums

Wednesday - 4/10
Davis Whitfield Quartet "After-hours"
 1 AM to close
with Davis Whitfield - Piano, Jovan Alexandre - Tenor Sax, Otto Gardner - Bass, Franklin Kiermyer - Drums
Thursday - 4/11
Carlos Abadie Quintet
 Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM

with Carlos Abadie - Trumpet, Sam Dillon - Tenor Sax, Peter Zak - Piano, Kiyoshi Kitagawa - Bass, Luca Santaniello - Drums
Thursday - 4/11
Jerry Weldon Quintet
 Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM
with Jerry Weldon - Tenor Sax, Philip Harper - Trumpet, Massimo Farao - Piano, Nicola Barbon - Bass, Byron Landham - Drums
Thursday - 4/11
Jonathan Thomas Trio "After-hours"
1 AM to close

with Jonathan Thomas - Piano
Friday & Saturday - 4/12-4/13
Ralph Bowen Quartet
Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM

$20 for this show
with Ralph Bowen - Tenor Sax, Jim Ridl - Piano, Luques Curtis - Bass, Donald Edwards - Drums
Friday & Saturday - 4/12-4/13
John Marshall Quintet
Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM

$20 for this show
with John Marshall - Trumpet, Grant Stewart - Tenor Sax, Steve Ash - Piano, Paul Gill - Bass, Steve Little - Drums
Friday - 4/12
Corey Wallace DUBtet "After-hours"
1 AM to close

with Corey Wallace - Trombone
Saturday - 4/13
Philip Harper Quintet "After-hours"
1 AM to close

with Philip Harper - Trumpet
Sunday - 4/14
Joey "G-Clef" Cavaseno Quartet
Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM

with Joey "G-Clef" Cavaseno - Alto Sax, David Gibson - Trombone, Jordan Piper - Piano, William Ash - Bass
Sunday - 4/14
Bruce Harris Quintet
Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM

with Bruce Harris - Trumpet, Grant Stewart - Tenor Sax, Pete Malinverni - Piano, Neal Miner - Bass, Peter Van Nostrand - Drums
Sunday - 4/14
Alon Near Trio "After-hours"
1 AM to close

with Alon Near - Bass, Takeshi Ohbayashi - Piano, Alon Benjamini - Drums
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