Hello everyone. I should probably re-title this week's treatise "No Musically This Week". It seems that we're done at the Iris Restaurant. Damn. I'm going to miss that piano. But I hope not to miss all of you...
OK, why? Well, if you've been there, you know why. Since the beginning of this year, you didn't exactly have to fight for a spot at the bar. Business is business. And when there's no such business, the inevitable laws of macro-economics take over. Vinnie Lesh at the Iris asked me to explain that they are going in another direction. (Isn't that what they say when a coach gets fired?) And there is some truth to that. He doubled the size of the club by removing a wall. And he brought in a sound system with speakers the size of the Mars lander. He wants to bring in national acts, and appeal to a larger audience. (That being the kind of audience that likes their music loud...) And I think another factor was the intimacy we lost when that big stage was constructed in a zip code different from the bar...
But if we're going to be honest with ourselves, even given the new direction the club is taking, we know the truth. Vinnie would have continued our Tuesday jazz experiment if it had at least paid for itself. So we're on to other things...
By way of an experiment - and that's exactly what this is - we're going back to where we started, only different. On March 5th we're taking our Tuesday thing to Milkie's on Elmwood. We're going to try an early start time to see if we can draw a downtown audience for dinner, drinks, and music before people go home from work. And we have to face the daunting economic reality of trying to offer live music while keeping the club viable: we have to ask for a $5.00 cover charge. I hate to do it, in that I almost feel like we're penalizing the very people who have kept us going for almost 15 years. But if we are not generating enough sales to cover the little bit that we're paying the artists, there will be no gig. We'll see what happens.
If it doesn't fly at Milkie's, there are other venues. We can adapt. Maybe it doesn't have to be a Tuesday. We'll see where this takes us, and whether the jazz community wants us to keep our effort alive.
My thanks to the good people at Hamburg Music for the generous use of their grand piano. Phil Georger is a prince of a human being. Gentle, honest, salt of the earth... And Pat, now president of Hamburg Music, besides being on the short list of first call pianists in Buffalo, is one and the same. Easy going, direct, straight and honest... The comfort I take from doing business with people like Phil & Pat Georger is that you know you are being dealt with honestly. They're not out to gouge you or retire on your sale alone. They know what they have to charge for their services in order to stay in business for the long haul, but they will be as fair to you as they are to their own responsibilities.
So we'll be off this Tuesday, 2/26. My apologies to the Brothers Stirtzinger and John Werick for the cancellation. If it flies at Milkie's, or elsewhere, we'll reschedule. So for now...
Tuesday, 3/5 at Milkie's on Elmwood 6:30 - 9:30
Dave Schiavone, saxophones & flute Bobby Jones, piano Cameron Kayne, bass your humbled host, drum set
Tuesday, 3/12 Cindy Miller
Tuesday, 4/2 Rick Strauss
Tuesday, 4/23 trioPAYAZZO Ainse que Deux
Tuesday, 4/30 Clay Jenkins
Tuesday, 5/14 Laurie Bordonaro
Tuesday, 6/18 Western New York Jazz Orchestra
We'll keep trying...
The capacity to change is indispensable. Equally indispensable is the capacity to hold fast to that which is good.
- John Foster Dulles