At a time when it seems venues are closing and our options to perform (and listen!) are dwindling, I’m happy to report a great new monthly concert series in New York City: Jazz at the Player’s Club. I performed there last week (thanks to all of you who came and made it a sold out show!), and I want to tell you all about it.
The Player’s Club, founded by Edwin Booth (that’s the brother to John Wilkes Booth) in 1888, is located in a Greek Revival Townhouse facing Gramercy Park. You can walk through most of the house (at least the first few floors) and see beautiful paintings of current and former members and also other paraphernalia, including Mark Twain’s pool cue. The performance is held in the “dining room”, which seats over 100 people comfortably, and the stage boasts a new Yamaha grand piano. Despite being a “concert venue” the room is surprisingly intimate, and the performance felt more like a house concert / party than a traditional concert or club performance.
The atmosphere is definitely jovial and laid back, thank goodness, because I inadvertently greeted several guests while standing outside the club eating pizza with my bassist before the show. It was only when I was recognized and approached while mid-bite that I thought perhaps we should have walked around the corner, or at least a few buildings down from the club. After the show everyone convened downstairs in the bar to drink, play pool, and eat sandwiches.
It’s a unique venue that comprises all my favorite elements of a night out: relaxed but elegant environment, drinks, food, and a little history. (If you want to know the history of the club and the brothers Booth, ask Stephen Fulton about it next time you see him. He regaled everyone at the after-party with the most fascinating stories.)
All Jazz @ The Player’s concerts are open to the public, please visit their website for a list of upcoming shows, The Player’s Club is located at 16 Gramercy Park South in NYC.