Thursday, October 8, 2020

Some good news for a change, near and far (updated)

Amid all the economic pain and uncertainty this year for jazz musicians, clubs and festivals due to the pandemic, there is some good news to share.

It comes on distant and local fronts, as we continue to await how the “new normal” affects the arts long term.

First, from Europe:

On September 2, Denmark’s iconic venue, Jazz Club Montmartre in Copenhagen, announced it was closing and laying off all staff. Management said it was economically impossible to keep operating with a diminished audience. Sad news, indeed, for a venue that opened in 1959 and had featured an array of global jazz talent. Saxophonists Dexter Gordon, Ben Webster and Stan Getz all moved to Copenhagen because they so liked the club’s vibe.

However, last week, Montmartre’s board of directors announced it will reopen the venue beginning November 3rd with safe-distancing precautions. Board chairman Michael Christiansen said a large anonymous private donation and special coronavirus support from the City Council means the club will be able to operate through at least 2024. The city commitment is 1 million Danish krone (nearly $158,000 USD) annually for four years.

Christiansen said the club will be able to repay all debt and survive long term. “This rescue plan will secure an even stronger presence, both with regards to attracting the very best from the world elite … and developing a lot of new talents.”

Second, from Southwest Florida:

Aside from a small number of musical opportunities at local restaurants up and down the coast, the Southwest Florida jazz scene has been in limbo since early March. No festivals, no live indoor concerts.

However, Artis Naples is resuming its All That Jazz concert series that features the Naples Philharmonic Jazz Orchestra, a sextet that brings in a variety of featured guests throughout the season. Instead of performing in the more intimate, 275-seat Daniels Pavilion, the series moves next door to the much larger (1,600 seat) Hayes Hall, where seating with safe distancing will accommodate about 250 people. As usual, there will be separate admission shows each night at 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. All patrons will get their temperatures checked upon arrival. Face masks are required.

Here is the All That Jazz schedule for this 11th season:

  • October 14: The sextet performs the music of George Gershwin
  • November 4: singer Kenny Washington
  • December 16: trumpeter Randy Sandke
  • January 20: tenor saxophonist Billy Harper
  • February 10: Italian-born, New York-based guitarist Pasquale Grasso
  • March 3: singer Denise Donatelli
  • March 31: alto saxophonist Dick Oatts
  • May 12: NPJO celebrates the Charlie Parker centennial.

The Naples Philharmonic Jazz Orchestra resident sextet includes tenor saxophonist (and artistic director) Lew Del Gatto, trumpeter Dan Miller, pianist Jerry Stawski, bassist Kevin Mauldin, drummer Mke Harvey and violinist Glenn Basham.

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