Where The Music Is Intimate And The Vibe Is Swinging
May 5, 2007
By MARC-YVES REGIS, Courant Staff Writer
The tiny La Paloma Sabanera Coffeehouse & Bookstore on Capitol Avenue might seem an unlikely venue for a jazz series.
But it works, in a big way.
Unlike many venues, the home for the Real Jazz for Good series is a street-level commercial space with large windows - and easy views, from inside and out.
There are no dark hallways or stairs, not even a box office. You walk through the doorway, say "excuse me" to the trumpet player and wend your way through the crowd, scanning for an empty seat.
Audiences love the intimate setting and the closeness to musicians, says Luis Edgardo Cotto, an owner of La Paloma. Musicians love the acoustics and the vibe.
"The vibe is hard to explain, define or quantify," he says, "but when you're doing a solo on a ballad, and you feel a 60-plus set of ears holding on to your every note - you've got to love it."
Jimmy Greene, an in-demand New York saxophonist who studied under Jackie McLean and now lives in Wethersfield, is among the notable musicians who have played at La Paloma.
"There was not much decision involved for me to pursue jazz music," says Greene. "I believe that, throughout my life, God has put people and opportunities in my path to develop the gift for performing and love of the music I always had. Jazz music, to me, is an art form of the highest order and requires a lifetime of constant study, growth and dedication of its practitioners."
At La Paloma, Greene's music attracts jazz lovers like, pictured at right, Sarah Barker (left) and Lillie Wells - if they can find a seat.
Says bassist Luques Curtis, who performed at La Paloma with the Albert Rivera Quartet on a recent Saturday: "People should care about jazz because it is a true American art form. It was created here. If people do stop caring about it, it will die off."
The jazz series continues Sunday at 7 p.m. with a group led by series founders Kris (saxophone) and Jen Allen (piano).
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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