As an antidote to the recurring journalistic “Jazz is dead,” “Jazz is irrelevant,” “Jazz no longer has an audience,” I offer cheering evidence to the contrary: Jeff and Joel’s House Party (October 10-12, Guilford, Connecticut).
I’ve been to two of the House Parties thrown by Jeff Barnhart and Joel Schiavone in Connecticut and they were wonderful weekends: friendly, full of fun, with easy opportunities to hear an abundance of hot music in cozy surroundings. Rather than hearing music at a distance while sitting in a hotel ballroom, people who attend the House Party actually have it at close range, and find themselves surrounded by friends who are there because they, too, enjoy the sounds.
Most of us aren’t actually going to throw a rent party — hire a dozen or more professional musicians and have them play long sets over a weekend — so this is as close as we will get to that experience. And when you look at the listing of musicians, stars of the traditional jazz scene in the Northeast, you know that “professional” is both accurate and an understatement here.
Only eighty seats are available for each session over this weekend, so I encourage you to investigate soon: previous House Parties have sold out. (I checked the site today, and more than half of the seating is already taken.)
My friend Eric Devine — a brilliant jazz cinematographer — has been on hand to capture some of the highlights of past House Parties for us all. (His YouTube channel is CineDevine and he takes his camera to surprising places.) Here are a few samples of the wonderful music to be experienced there. From April 2013, John Gill singing SALOON:
Jeff Barnhart tenderly singing and playing Fats Waller’s THERE’S A GAL IN MY LIFE in October 2013:
I’ve chosen more restrained examples of the hot music offered at the House Party, but there’s plenty of AVALON and THAT’S A PLENTY. Here’s one such seismic expression from October 2012, AFTER YOU’VE GONE:
This year, there will be a special Friday night (October 10) concert featuring Dan Levinson and Molly Ryan: 7-9 PM, tickets $30 / person. And the three sessions to follow (Saturday afternoon and evening, Sunday afternoon) will feature Jeff Barnhart, Joel Schiavone, Vince Giordano, Dan Levinson, Molly Ryan, Herb Gardner, Lew Green, Tom Palinko, Fred Vigorito, Genevieve Rose, Bill Reynolds, Bob Ferguson, Peter Anderson, Will Anderson, Herb Roselle — everything from solo piano, duos and trios, to full-ensemble traditional jazz and banjo-led sing-alongs. You can purchase tickets for individual sessions or for all three, plus Friday’s concert: the tickets for the weekend sessions include food and non-alcoholic beverages.
May your happiness increase!