Since the Jazz Standard on East 27th Street closed its doors in December 2020, there has been a deep gaping pit left in Manhattan’s jazz community. Despite the club’s exit they have not disappeared in an effort to maintain their commitment to the music they have instituted “The Flip Side Sessions,” a virtual concert series broadcasting fully-produced, pre-recorded shows every Friday from March 26-May 14, 2021. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. ET. Shows will be made available to stream for the following 48 hours. TICKETS are $15 per show and must be purchased online in advance at www.JazzStandard.com. Ticket buyers will receive an exclusive link to access the broadcast.
This new series debuted on March 26th with trumpeter Keyon Harrold and will be followed on April 2 with the Fred Hersch Trio; the debut duo of Chris Potter and Craig Taborn; on April 16th the pianist composer Christian Sands Group. For the coming weeks check website for Dave Holland/Kenny Barron /Johnathan Blake, Melissa Aldana Quintet and more (dates TBA).
This new series will help keep Jazz Standard in the spotlight as it presents musicians who offer the best in jazz. Hopefully, with such a series the club will blossom again at another location as an international site for great live jazz that was applauded for almost two decades. “This series helps to keep Jazz Standard alive while giving work to musicians during these dire times,” said the producer and curator for this series and artistic director of Jazz Standard, Seth Abramson. “It’s a joy to see musicians performing again on stage and the comradery they share. Through these productions we want to meet people’s expectations and ideally we want to exceed them.” A portion of the proceeds go to the Jazz Foundation of America. The productions are being filmed at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) in New Jersey, eight cameras are used during filming, “the different camera angles hopefully make people feel they are part of the show. We are using the same high productions standards that represented the Jazz Standard,” says Abramson.
As the pandemic rages on there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel (thanks to the vaccine) Sista’s Place in Brooklyn is still swinging to hang in there. The club closed in March like every other jazz club and live entertainment venue in New York City. In April they began building an outdoor connection with a tent allowing for four-people per table. The set-up allowed the musicians to play inside while the customers sat outside. The first musician to perform in the new setting was pianist and composer Jason Moran. “Jason contributed to us in more ways than one,” said club’s owner Viola Plummer. “That enabled us in the next few months to hire musicians along with the help of the Jazz Foundation of America.” The club in the absence of live performances presented live-streams that Plummer says, “will continue we are trying to get it perfected so we can charge.” Donations have come from community leaders including Assemblyman Charles Baron, as well local people and some of our regulars.”
“The pandemic has been a devastation for musicians and those paying to see live music but they have not let this COVID-19 virus dampen their spirits,” said Plummer during a phone interview. “We lost two of our founders but the music keeps us lifted and adds to our enthusiasm to move forward. We are now celebrating our 25th anniversary so Sista’s Place will only get better and swing harder.”
Last Saturday was the first time in a year the club (one of few that is Black-owned) opened its doors to a live audience that included 20 people with social distancing and masks. The trio included drummer Jerome Jennings, bassist Ednea Owens and pianist Keith Brown. She noted, “the current CDC guidelines doesn’t allow horn players to perform at this time.”
The club will be open on a biweekly basis. The pianist Arnold Palmer appears on April 17 and pianist Anthony Wonsey will perform on April 24. Due to social distancing reservations are a MUST call 718-398-1766. To make donations please download the cash app and put in $sistasplacecash. For upcoming shows visit the website sistasplace.org.
Poetry is the perfect match for jazz like Gil Scott-Heron and his Midnight Band, Amiri Baraka’s poetry and his Blue Ark band, everything by Langston Hughes, Ntozake Shange or Jayne Cortez. In the tradition of these poets on April 3 and 17th (2 p.m.-5 p.m.) in celebration of National Poetry Month, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe presents an afternoon of intensive workshops each led by two outstanding poets, Jani Rose and Advocate of Wordz. Each session will also feature a crash course poetry history lesson led by Paul LaTorre, adjunct professor of Creative Writing at Bloomfield College.
There is a suggested donation of $5 for this event. Donations help Nuyorican Poets Cafe continue this free online programming. Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89917701613 Also streaming on YouTube and Facebook.
Technology has literally eliminated the entire concept of record stores or record shops as they were referred to on 125th Street. That was the famous record shop (then known as the Harlem Record Shack) across the street from the Apollo. It was the place where one might see James Brown, Smokey Robinson or the Temptations signing autographs. But that was long ago when Sam Goody’s and Tower Records ruled and Amazon referred to the Amazon Rainforest located in nine different countries but the majority of it (around 60%) is located in Brazil.
For those of you who miss that in-store buying, touching and reading liner notes of real records and not mp3’d or Dropbox music then Original Vinyl Records is for you. Ok it’s not in Manhattan or even Queens for that matter, no it’s located at 314 State Route 94 South #7 Warwick Crossing in Warwick, New York. The store is open daily seven days per week from 12noon to 5 p.m.
The store closed in March 2020 and reopened in August. Since reopening “business has been good,” says co-owner Jim Eigo. “people are coming in. There is social distancing and we have curb service pick-ups.” Visit their website and browse the inventory some great vinyls in stock. The website is www.originalvinylrecords.com and their email is email@example.com; phone: 845-987-3131.