Fat Cat (75 Christopher Street, New York City) is a cavernous basement space notable for a bar, pool tables, chess sets, ping pong, other kinds of games, and an enthusiastic — often cheerfully vocal — young crowd. Since it costs three dollars to enter and have your hand stamped with a feline silhouette (I always respectfully decline), it is happily frolicsome down there. That is a gentle way of saying — for the members of the JAZZ LIVES audience who insist that music be played in reverent silence — that there is an audible background of human conversation and occasionally shouts and yelps of what I hope is pleasure. Once the music begins, it is easy to concentrate on the jazz, so don’t quail and panic. Unless, of course, you’d rather. Imagine yourself invited to a large party full of happy people where you can listen to a wonderful New York City jazz quartet for free.
Generously, the kind and wise management also offers jazz of all kinds, from Terry Waldo’s happily loose Gotham City Jazz Band to much more modern experiments.
One of the happiest times I’ve had at Fat Cat was very recent — September 30, 2015 — and a delightful long set by the Tal Ronen Quartet. Tal is a great string bassist but he’s also a fine catalyst: he puts together excellent groups of people who like and listen to one another. This Quartet (with a special surprise guest at the end) was special: Jay Rattman, saxophone and clarinet; Rossano Sportiello, piano; Kevin Dorn, drums. And here’s the first half of what they played. And sung:
Frank Foster’s SHINY STOCKINGS:
A seasonal AUTUMN IN NEW YORK:
YOU’RE DRIVING ME CRAZY:
JUST IN TIME:
More to come. And the Fat Cat music schedule is available here, with appearances by a wide variety of fine jazz players, from George Braith to Ehud Asherie to Billy Kaye and Harold Mabern . . .
May your happiness increase!