The Singers Connection Open Mic and Jam (Friday, Aug. 19) at University of the Streets, located at 130 E. 7th St. and Avenue A, will be celebrating a special summer jazz jam with cool drinks and great music. Donations for the summer drinks will help to continue support victims of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami.
Admission is $5 and singers pay $5 per song, no cover. The open mic is hosted by Okaru Lovelace from 8:30 p.m.-11 p.m.
Jazz fans stand and cheer-a new jazz club, the Moldy Fig, is now swinging for your pleasure at 178 Stanton St. on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The club is the brainchild of Charles L. Brown, the owner, who officially opened the venue on July 4.
The Moldy Fig differentiates itself from its jazz competitors with extensive high ceilings and brick walls. The club’s atmosphere is warm and mellow; the space is long and narrow but quite spacious with a good view of bandstand performers from any location.
There are four comfortable black leather couches strategically located around the club. The large bar, located close to the entrance, offers ample seating. Aside from listening to good music, customers have the option of playing chess, scrabble and backgammon. Games, tables and chairs are set up at the entrance and around the club, plus a shuffle board game is located across from the bar.
“I got the game idea from Fat Cat,” said Brown, who was manager of the West Village jazz club for six years. “The concept of playing games in a jazz club is unique and helps you relax and just mellow out.”
The Moldy Fig bar-cafe-jazz club is open seven days per week. However, there is no live music on Mondays. Happy hour runs from 6 p.m.-8 p.m., Monday though Thursday. There is no cover charge Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday, which is Latin Jazz night and features a jazz jam from 8 p.m.-12 a.m. On Friday and Saturday, there is a cover charge of $10. There is always a jazz jam after performances at no extra charge.
The weekly scheduling for August includes a mix of aspiring jazz musicians like vocalist Vondie Curtis-Hall, as well as established musicians including pianist Bertha Hope (appears on Aug. 27), pianist Marcus Persiani with his trio (Aug. 20), trumpeter Melvin Vines (Aug. 19) and noted vocalist TC III hosts a vocal jazz workshop every Thursday at 8 p.m.
“The bottom line for me is to just get good musicians,” stated Brown. “I opened this club for the love of the music. We are just beginning and fortunately we have been able to book some good acts. I developed some good relationships with musicians while working at Fat Cat so in the near future the bookings are only going to get better.”
Brown, who was born in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn and lived in the Bushwick Projects for 14 years, has made Moldy Fig a family affair. His mom, Ella, is usually the hostess, greeting customers as they come in, while others tend bar and other various jobs. Brown is married with three children. However, he and his mom are also taking care of his late sister’s three children, who unfortunately, died from congenital heart failure, a condition that both Brown and his mom have.
During these drastic economic times, Brown felt so strongly about Moldy Fig that he used his own money. “I don’t regret using my money because I love jazz and feel this club is only an extension to the music,” says Brown. “We have a lot of young jazz musicians from the neighborhood who are performing and hangout at the jam sessions. We are looking forward to musicians throughout the city to perform, jam or just hangout and enjoy.”
Brown is currently working on a new menu. “We will be serving good, delicious, light food, nothing heavy.”
Brown, a former U.S. Marine, explained the club has two floors, and downstairs is just as large as the main room. “Now, my main concern is getting this floor in perfect shape before working on plans for downstairs.”
One of Brown’s current concerns is soundproofing the ceiling. New York City has given him a September deadline to remedy the situation. Fortunately, he has completed part of the task, but there is more work to be done. On Aug. 27 at 8 p.m., there will be a special soundproofing fundraiser at Moldy Fig. For more information, call (646) 559-2553 or visit moldyfigjazzclub.com.
Moldy Fig is the new jazz club on the block with its fresh interior. With all the young and established jazz musicians flocking here, it may just be the new percolator that boils over into extended jazz dimensions.
The Jazz Gallery reached its goal to raise $20,000 for their campaign “The Woodshed at the Jazz Gallery.” The success of this project means that starting January 2012, the Jazz Gallery will offer free rehearsal space to jazz musicians.
Parlor Entertainment presents its 19th annual “Jazz-at-the Mansion” on Aug. 20 at 2 p.m. at Morris-Jumel Mansion, 65 Jumel Terrace, between St. Nicholas and Edgecombe avenues and 160th and 162nd streets.
Admission is free. Musicians include saxophonists David Lee Jones, Gerald Hayes, Sedric Choukroun, bassist Bob Cunningham, drums Clay Herndon and pianist Rudel Drears. Poets Dfaye Anderson, Arthur French and Roger Parris will also perform. The musical director is Marjorie Eliot.
An exciting free event not to be missed as the summer quickly comes to a close.