jazz centennial 2017

Celebrating the Jazz Centennial

Hot Jazz Hands! On February 26th, we celebrated the centennial of the beginning of the Jazz Age with the recording of “Livery Stable Blues” by the Original Dixieland Jass Band in front of where it happened exactly 100 years ago, at the former studios of Victor Talking Machine Company on 46 W 38th St. What a company! DJ Michael Cumella played the record that started it all on his beautiful antique phonograph, while Tatiana Eva-Marie danced around with Don Spiro of Wits End and Miss Art Deco 2016 Dandy Dillinger, of The Repeal Society. This commemoration was organized by Michael Katsobashvili, the creator of the New York Hot Jazz Festival. (Photo credit Nina Galicheva)

The Original Dixieland Jass Band was fronted by cornetist Nick LaRocca, with Eddie Edwards on trombone, Larry Shields on clarinet, Henry Ragas on piano, and Tony Sbarbaro on drums. They had just picked up a steady gig at Reisenweber’s Café, near Columbus Circle, where Jazz at Lincoln Center is now located! They were an immediate sensation and their record selled like hot cakes: nearly every person who owned a phonograph in 1917 owned that record. This rowdy recording of instruments imitating barnyard animals over loud and fast syncopated music heralded in what we now call the Jazz Age.

gatsby jazz band

Gatsby in the winery

Tatiana and DandyLast month we were off to the Hamptons in the scorching heat to perform in one of the most beautiful natural decors ever. We performed on a stage in the middle of a gorgeous vineyard, surrounded by green and luscious grape leaves. Our friend Francois, who was visiting from Québec, was on the gypsy guitar and we performed a mix of Gatsby inspired American standards and 1940’s French jazz, which perfectly suited the fresh and inviting setting.

Our music was highlighted by the presence of the lovely burlesque dancers from Dances of Vice and their “maître de cérémonie”, the stylish Dandy Wellington. Their grace and energy brought sunshine to the whole event. On the left is a picture of Avalon Jazz Band’s vocalist Tatiana Eva-Marie in her 1930’s mink hat alongside the fabulous New York City Dandy.

gatsby 1920 jazz band event wedding

Gatsby Jazz Party Orchestra

Avalon Jazz Band was so thrilled to perform authentic 1920’s jazz for a Gatsby themed party at the Lambs Club in Times Square. Our very own nightingale, jazz singer Tatiana Eva-Marie got a lovely vintage white lace dress for the occasion and wore her grandmother’s pearls. The impeccable Vinnie Raniolo was on the banjo, which added the perfect sound to fit the event. We also invited AJ Kluth on the clarinet and Jeremy Bruyere on the bass. Adrien Chevalier brought his French touch to the ensemble with his violin and his perfectly trimmed moustache. The repertoire was handpicked 20’s hits, hot and cheeky, from Al Joleson’s “Swanee” to Cole Porter’s “Let’s Misbehave”, including many famous George Gershwin and Irving Berlin tunes, naturally.

Avalon Jazz Band usually specializes in 1940’s French Gypsy swing, but we are starting a new band inspired by our “prohibition Wednesdays” at the Apotheke speakeasy and Tatiana Eva-Marie’s unique affinity with the 1920’s style and repertoire. It is called the Gatsby Jazz Party Orchestra and can vary from a quartet to a full 10-piece band. Please think of us for all your Great Gatbsy and 1920’s themed events. Don’t we look like a handsome bunch?

gatsby jazz band

jazz band plaza gala nyc

New York City Opera gala at the Plaza

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Last Thursday, Avalon Jazz Band was invited to give a private concert during the annual New York City Opera gala that took place at the Plaza Hotel. We performed on the stage of the sumptuous and iconic Grand Ballroom, which is truly a perfect setting for old school jazz. The Plaza Hotel was opened in 1907 and was the scene of many wild parties and grand weddings or celebrations during the jazz golden age. The music felt like it really belonged there, and it was very inspiring to us.

The two stars of La Périchole were in high spirits and decided to sing a couple of tunes with us! French-born mezzo-soprano Marie Lenormand gave a very emotional rendition of Edith Piaf’s “La Vie en rose” and tenor Philippe Talbot tackled “Padam padam” with vehemence and passion that made all the ladies in the audience swoon. It was a fun night, in a ballroom packed with music lovers and experts who let their hair down and danced to the sound of hot French swing.

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Jammin’ at Mona’s

Since our good friend swing guitarist Romain Constant is visiting from France, we decided to take him out for a night on the town and show him some of our cool New York musical spots. First we stopped by speakeasy/cabaret Sleep No More, located in the beautifully decadent 1930′s McKittrick Hotel, to call on our friend violinist Scott Tixier who was performing there with the Candy Shop Boys. Then, we all headed towards Alphabet City to get some New York pizza slices as a midnight snack before stepping into a time machine and being transported to Mona’s in the 1920′s. Every Tuesday, this famous bar turns into an old school swing jam, led by Mona’s Hot Four, which includes our pal stride mastermind Gordon Webster who performed on our CD “Paris Paris”. Romain Constant was delighted to sit in with them and bring some Django style Gypsy swing to the mix. Below are pictures of Romain Constant and Tatiana Eva-Marie jamming at Mona’s.

Mona’s Hot 4

Sleep No More

Gordon Webster

swing and gypsy jazz for wedding

A Musician’s Wedding

Our good friend and co-worker Kate, the accordion player from our “rival” band Carte Blanche, was getting married last weekend. She is very dear to us and you will see her soon in our upcoming music video clips (being edited as we speak). As a matter of fact, we love her so much that after a 5-hour gig at Brasserie Julien, at 1am, we embarked on a 15-hour odissey to be at her wedding on time. We drove all the way to Maine, with a snooze-stop at the very appropriately named motel we found on the side of the road in a forest: “The Red Carpet Inn”. Though it was actually clean and tidy, our fatigued imaginations still pictured the place as a scene from one of the too many horror movies we’ve watched. So we just kept calling it “Bates Motel” and spooking each other out.

When we finally arrived in Maine, we headed towards the beautiful renovated barn where we were going to give our little jazz concert. It was in the middle of a huge piece of land, with green grass, horses, swings and trees. What a sight for sore new yorker eyes! The ceremony was touching and simple, Kate looked outrageously stunning with her flashy red hair and sleek 1920′s wedding gown. During dinner, we performed a mix of Gypsy hot jazz, old school swing and French music. Then the bride’s father performed with his dixieland style ensemble the Bellamy Jazz Band, and let me tell you these cats could surely swing!

The afterparty was held in the “backyard” of Kate’s beach house. We played music all night sitting around the fire in the middle of the woods. At 6am, a cab came to take the newlyweds away to Mexico. Bon voyage les amoureux!!! Congratulations to Kate and Cristhian!

Brasserie Julien

Carte Blanche

Bellamy Jazz Band

Red Carpet Inn

Below is a picture of French jazz singer Tatiana Eva-Marie (a.k.a. Laura Ingalls) having a ball on the swing, while Romain Constant is falling asleep on her left.

jazz at Apotheke

Prohibition Night at Apotheke

Every Wednesday night is “prohibition night” at Apotheke, a famous modern-day speakeasy hidden in a small street in Chinatown. Avalon Jazz Band performed 1920′s style jazz with pianist Gordon Webster while the audience boozed, cooched and smootched. It’s the perfect place to discover the art of mixology and pretend you are a floozy out of Boardwalk Empire. New York’s favorite old school French jazz singer Tatiana Eva-Marie sang some sassy tunes, including “Is you is, or is you ain’t ma baby” and “Pennies from Heaven”, in her sleek vintage sequin dress. Tenor saxophone player AJ Kluth joined us for the second set, and the music got wilder, the skirts shorter and the cocktails tastier. While we were enjoying our night of hot jazz and swing inside our little time bubble, on the street outside of Apotheke was Method Man of the Wu-Tang Clan shooting his latest music video. This city has enough room for everyone, from hip hop rappers to lindy hop swingers, and that’s why we love New York.

Apotheke

Below is a picture of the whole band at Apotheke. From left to right: AJ Kluth (tenor sax), Romain Constant (Gypsy guitar), Eduardo Belo (bass), Gordon Webster (piano), Adrien Chevalier (violin), and of course, last but certainly not least, our lovely pin-up chanteuse Tatiana Eva-Marie.

swing jazz for wedding

Jazz on the Hudson

Avalon Jazz Band went to perform for the birds and the bees at a charming vintage location called Locusts on Hudson. It is a favorite wedding destination surely because there is such a effortless grand aura to the place. The centerpiece of the estate, a beautifully restored Neo-Baroque country manor is perched on the highest elevation and commands breathtaking views of the Hudson River Valley. The Locusts is also of great historical importance, for jazz lovers especially, because it used to be the country hang of Cole Porter and Leonard Bernstein (among others). It was thrilling to perform swing and Parisian jazz in such a musical place.

Locusts on Hudson