This leaning towards the arts was influenced by my first real art teacher in 7th grade, Mr. Foster of Staley Jr. High School. I began to appreciate art then. Mr. Vacca was my music appreciation teacher there as well. I remember his passion for for music in general and jazz specifically. He told us that he was a good friend of jazz pianist, Dave Brubeck. I was very impressed by this because I had been listening to my father’s jazz albums since I was 4 years old. Brubeck was among them. My biggest jazz influence however was my dad. At four years old, surprisingly, my parents allowed me to play their stereo. I would listen to Duke Ellington, Dave Brubeck, Ella Fitzgerald, JJ Johnson, Louis Armstrong and Roy Hamilton, Patty Page, the Andrews Sisters, Johnny Mathis and Nat "King" Cole. My dad’s favorites, however became mine: Sara Vaughan and Harry James. I came to love that "sound". I found out later that sound was swing, the rhythm, syncopated and that spontaneity I loved was called, improvisation. I found myself watching the Abbot & Costello movies for the musical performances by Ella, Ginny Sims, Dick Haymes, Martha Raye (who really was a swinger!) and the Modernaires. That sound left me during my "formative years", but gradually came back with in the early 1980’s as I became reintroduced through "smooth jazz" and gradually back to the bebop jazz styles of the ‘40’s & 50’s.
When Jim Morehand (interior designer) and Dave Polazzo (high school teacher) met in 1998, who knew that a discussion about jazz would become reality 4 years later? It began when Dave bought 1850's, Gothic Revival brick rowhouse in Ft. Greene. Jim began redesigning the floor plans for a double duplex renovation, when they both saw the potential for the "parlor jazz" concerts in their home. They knew many musicians and the frustration of being in an smoky jazz club where people were actually talking over the music while the wait staff passed back and forth, mere inches in front of the vocalists. Here was their opportunity to do something for the musicians and the neighborhood they'd come to love. On February 23, 2002, they began hosting semi-monthly (1st & 3rd Saturday of every month) live jazz sessions in their home. All performances are from 9:00 pm - 11:30 pm which features two sets plus snacks & beverages for a suggested donation of $15.00.
They offer their home as a venue for jazz musicians to play, sing and swing, surrounded by contemporary and African art. Meet and hear some of the best jazz musicians that NYC has to offer in an atmosphere that is smoke-free and dedicated to bringing the jazz experience literally, back into the community. The musicians are appreciative of the fact that we're supplying a unique venue that attracts a new audience for them, in which they are the main focus where the music and musicians alike are respected. The audience has been as diverse as NYC ages 14 - 84, and from every background. Both the musicians and the audience love the juxtaposition of that "up close and personal" feel of being in someone's home for a live jazz performance, the non-smoking policy and, for many, a warm, welcoming space where you can actually hang out with the musicians and meet new friends.
The following is a listing of some of the "stars" that have passed through our doors: Pianists: Ronnie Mathews, James Weidman, Frank Owens, Danny Mixon, John di Martino, Harry Whitaker, Dwight Dickerson, Eric Lewis, Charles Carrington; Bassists: Bob Cunningham, Alex Layne, Andy McCloud III, Sean Smith, Ratzo Harris, Yoshi Waki; Coronetist: Ed Polcer; Drummers: Cody Moffett, Drori Mondlak, Vinnie Johnson, Victor Jones; Congas: Eric Frazier; Saxophone: Karolina Strassmayer, Jed Levy, Ricardo Strobert; Vocalists: Rochelle Thompson, Dave Coss, Lezlie Harrison, Whitney Marchelle, MARILYN, Alva Anderson, Sarah James, Kathi Farmer, Tamm E. Hunt, Mari Toussaint among others who continue the legacy of keeping jazz alive.
UPCOMING SATURDAY NIGHT PARLORJAZZ CONCERTS:
During the month of February, we celebrate our one-year anniversary with tributes to Black History Month and Valentines Day.
Saturday, February 1, 2003
Rochelle Thompson & her trio, Jazzratti
"A Swingin’ Tribute to Black History Month"
Paul Winston - piano
, Radu Williams bass
Kalil Madi - drums
Saturday, February 15, 2003
Marilyn & her Fabulous Trio
"Post Valentine’s Day Jazz Soiree"
(Musicians to be announced)
119 Vanderbilt Avenue (btwn. Myrtle & Park)
Brooklyn, NY 11205
Ph: 718 855-1981
Transportation: G train to Clinton/Washington station in Clinton Hill, or check