I had a nice gig with Peter Bernstein and Paul Sikivie the other night. It’s strange, but in all these years Peter and I have never really played together. I have wanted to for a long time, and it finally came together at 181 Cabrini, a local bar/restaurant/cafe where I often run into Pete, a neighbor on 181st street, getting coffee in the morning (better than Starbucks!). We have, in this pursuit of caffeine, and in support of a local business, run into each other many times, and in the process have gotten to know the owner, James, an offhand, but cool proprietor of this popular neighborhood spot.
Although 181 Cabrini did have a regular Monday live jazz night for a while, featuring some great young players - Roxy Coss, Kate Miller and Shawn Baltazor - it never really seemed like a jazz club, perhaps because of the way the band was crowded into a tight spot next to the bar, where it seemed many of the regulars regarded the music as competition to their storytelling.
It felt like a jazz club the other night! The gig with Peter and Paul was first in what we hope will be a series to raise money for different causes: Jam for Charity. This first one was to benefit PS 187, a local public school that has suffered many cutbacks, losing teachers and programs.
We set the trio up in the back room (not next to the bar!) and started playing tunes. It felt like magic at times, the way the we all felt so relaxed and allowed the music to find twists and turns - had us all smiling. The crowd was a mix of locals and those who traveled uptown. Great vibe.
For the second set suddenly the place was filled with musicians, some with their horns, like Eddie Barbash, James Zeller, and Bruce Harris who came up to make their “donation” to the cause. Others, without instruments, like Aaron Diehl and Jonathan Batiste and Tobias Gebb, donated their good vibes to the cause.
Looking forward to the next one!