June 30th, 2014

Dear Friends:

It's been an exceptional year!  Smalls has turned 20 and to celebrate we are finally ready to officially announce our big news: we are opening another venue!  My partner Mitch Borden and I have been working in secret for the last 7 months on this special project.  Due to the complications involved in obtaining a full on-premise liquor license we have been reluctant to speak about it in fear that something could derail our plans.  However, as of last Friday, we received our license and now are really set to open our place.

The new club, which we are calling "Mezzrow" in honor of Mezz Mezzrow, is located at 163 West 10th street - literally a stones throw from Smalls (Smalls is 183 West 10th street).  Mezzrow, like Smalls, is a basement club - a real speakeasy vibe.  We've put a ton of work into making it beautiful and comfortable.  We installed an antique bar (built in Chicago in 1929) and the place looks absolutely amazing!  We also bought a truly exceptional Steinway grand for the club that will be worthy of the great musicians who will be playing on it.  The idea for Mezzrow is that of a "piano room".  There was a time in New York where there were many piano rooms - places where you could go to hear great pianists in solo, duet or trio settings.  Our model was the legendary Bradley's, which used to be on University Place.  This is the  concept for Mezzrow: an adult place to hang out, have a cocktail and listen to great jazz piano music.  It will be run in tandem with Smalls and (we hope) to have a cross-current of clients going back and forth between the two clubs.

I've been asked already; "why Mezzrow?" and "why name a piano club after a clarinetist?" or "who the hell is Mezzrow?".  Here's a short paragraph that I'm including on our new website (soon to launch):

Milton “Mezz” Mezzrow, (November 9, 1899 – August 5, 1972) was born in Chicago to a poor Jewish immigrant family.  As a juvenile delinquent, he was in and out of reformatory schools and prisons where he was exposed to jazz and blues music.  He began to play the clarinet and decided to adopt the African American culture as his own.  He became a ubiquitous figure on the Chicago jazz scene of the 1920’s and ran in the circles of musicians that included King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Jimmy Noone, Al Jolson, Baby Dodds, Bix Beiderbecke, Louis Bellson and many others.  Mezz was an advocate for the pure New Orleans jazz style.  Mezz became close friends with Louis Armstrong and later became his personal assistant.  In the late thirties, Mezz moved to Harlem in New York City and married an African American woman.  He continued to play and also organize recording sessions with many great artists.  Mezz Mezzrow also became famous as a marijuana dealer and advocated for the use of the herb as a healthy alternative to alcohol and other drugs.  His product was so well known in the jazz community that musicians called it “mezz”, “the mighty mezz” or “mezz-rolls”, as in marijuana cigarettes.
Above everything Mezz Mezzrow was an advocate for integration and equal rights at time well before the movement of the 1960’s.  Eddie Condon said of Mezz Mezzrow: “When he fell through the Mason-Dixie line he just kept going". Mezz was the original hipster, slang master, jazz musician and bohemian spirit.
Mezzrow’s autobiography, Really The Blues, is a colorful masterpiece - a true glimpse into the underworld of speakeasies, gangsters and the masters of jazz music as well as a morality tale through the American odyssey

We still have some small stuff to do before we can open but I am anticipating to be open by mid-July or August 1rst at the very latest.  I will be sending out a special email announcing our opening and the launch of the Mezzrow website, which will give all the info, performance dates and on-line reservations.  In the meantime, please go ahead and "like" our Mezzrow fan page on Facebook.  We'll be updating this page with photos and other info as we progress.  Here's the direct link ------>

My very best wishes to everyone and I hope to see you at both clubs!  Please remember in these spiritually trying times to keep a positive outlook and to act compassionately to your fellow Earthlings.

Best Regards,


(a selection of featured shows)

For our full schedule please go to

Monday - 6/30
Eden Ladin Trio

Sets at 7:30 PM & 9:00 PM
Edien Ladin is a burning young pianist building a name for himself in the NYC Jazz scene. His trio is completed with Joe Sanders on bass and Colin Stranahan on drums. 
Moday - 6/30
The Ari Hoenig Trio

Sets at 10 PM & 11:30 PM

Ari Hoenig, a Monday night staple at Smalls, always grooves with an hip and intoxicating group.  Tonight his trio features the amazing Lage Lund on guitar and Orlando Le Fleming on bass.
Tuesday - 7/1
The Smalls Legacy Band
Featuring Frank Lacy

Sets at 10:30 PM & 12:00 AM

The Smalls Legacy Band is an institution of hard bop - a direct legacy from Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers - co-led by the fiery Josh Evans on trumpet and the legendary Frank Lacy on trombone. This power force of a group is completed by  the creative Stacy Dillard on sax, Ameen Saleem on bass, Theo Hill on piano and Kush Abadey on drums. 
Wednesday - 7/2
The Jeff Williams Quartet + 2
Sets at 9:30 PM & 11:00 PM

Jeff Williams is an exceptional drummer and composer who, through his playing over the years, has earned the respect of countless musicians. He is joined by a slew of talented musicians: Duane Eubanks on trumpet, John O'Gallagher on alto sax, Phil Robson on guitar, Leo Genovese on piano, and John Hebert on bass.
Wednesday - 7/2
"Round Midnight" with:
Bob DeMeo Trio

Set at 12:30 AM 

Stick around for our "Round Midnight" set  featuring a rarely heard drum master - Bob DeMeo - with a killing veteran trio - Ron Affif on guitar, and Essiet Essiet on bass. 
Thursday - 7/3
 Ralph Bowen Quartet

Sets at 9:30 PM & 11 PM

Don't miss this opportunity to check out one of the contemporary masters on the tenor sax, Ralph Bowen.  For his quartet,  Ralph is working with a truly great rhythm section which features Jim Ridl on piano, Kenny Davis on bass and Donald Edwards on drums. Prepare to be blown away.
Saturday - 7/5
The Smalls Master Series :
The Neal Kirkwood Quartet

Sets at 7:30 PM & 9 PM
$20 for this show.

Looking to hear some exciting tunes Saturday evening, check out this adventurous quartet that features some of the top improvisers in New York City. A true master, Neal Kirkwood has written over 200 works for his jazz ensembles. He will be performing with the amazing Jimmy Cozier on tenor sax, Lindsey Horner on bass, and Lieven Venken on drums. 
Friday & Saturday - 7/4 & 7/5
The Dezron Douglas Quintet

Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM
$20 for this show.

A young talent dedicated to upholding the authenticity of the music, Dezron Douglas is a musician's musicians. There are two chances to catch him in action with his excellent quintet featuring the talented Lummie Spann on alto sax, Josh Evans  on trumpet, David Bryant on piano, and Chris Beck on drums - and their hilarious special guest Remick Bernice.
Sunday - 7/6
 The Legendary Johnny O'Neal

Sets at 10:00 PM & 11:30 PM
$20 for this show.

Johnny O'Neal plays piano effortlessly and with such a natural swing. To hear him play and sing truly puts you in touch with the masters.Come out and hear this great man's trio featuring Charles Goold on drums and Paul Sikivie on bass. 
Sunday - 7/6
"Round Midnight" With :
 The Joe Magnarelli Quartet 

Set at 12 AM

End your weekend with a bang with some hard swinging music courtesy of the Joe Magnarelli Quartet. Alongside a tight rhythm section with Anthony Wonsey on piano, Mike Karn on bass, and Victor Lewis on drums, they're guaranteed to delight your eardrums.

Mon, "Afterhours" -
Spencer Murphy Jam

Tues, 7:30PM to 10PM -
The Spike Wilner Quartet

Tues, "Afterhours" -
Kyle Poole "Next Generation" Jam 

Wed, 6PM to 9PM -
Michela Lerman Tap Dance Jam
Thur, 6PM to 9PM

The "Early Bird" With :
The Dwayne Clemons Quintet 

Fri, 4PM to 7PM -
OPEN Afternoon Jam

Sat, 4:30 PM to 7PM -
Saturday Afternoon With :
The Joel Press Quartet

Sun, 1PM to 3PM
Marion Cowings Vocal Masterclass
($40 to participate)

Sun, 10PM to 11:30PM  - 
The Legendary Johnny O'Neal


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