For those of you who were not there...

Elements is a club on Mamaroneck Ave. in White Plains, NY.  It's had the courage to have a Tuesday night jazz policy for over a year and a half now.  Our trio has been featured there monthly almost since the beginning.  That's a pretty long gig.  I love playing there for three reasons: the first is getting to play (and sing) regularly with Steve LaMattina, guitar, and Lou Stelluti, bass.  Like me, these guys grew up in Westchester and have been active in its jazz scene for decades.  If Westchester was a couple hundred miles from NYC it would probably be legendary for the quality of jazz it has produced.  But understandably it is overshadowed by the Big Apple.  Steve and Lou are world class players, who believe it or not, prefer the more laid back musical atmosphere in Westchester than the competitive New York scene.  The second reason I really enjoy playing at Elements is the room itself.  Most places are either too "dead" or too "live" acoustically.  Somehow, the space is just right for trumpet.  The third reason is the management.  We play what we want how we want.  No pressure.  That allows for a lot of creativity and musical fun.  Brian, the manager can look a little stressed at times.  Last night, at 6:30 when we were about to start, there wasn't a soul in the place.  Brian looked worried and I felt bad for him.  Since the spring weather has arrived it's been harder to get people inside.  After a few minutes our friends and other customers starting arriving.  Individuals went to the bar.  Couples and groups took tables.  Before you knew it we had a respectable crowd and I was relieved to feel that our group would not be responsible for the demise of the jazz policy at Elements due to a lack of paying customers.  After a short discussion about keys, we opened with "Stella by Starlight" in Bb (I had called G, but was out-voted).  From there we romped through several standards and a few vocals, getting looser as we progressed. In the second set an English friend, Julian, sat in and sang a swinging version of "Another You," and a little later the excellent flutist Pam Sklar joined us on a few tunes.  The audience was with us all the way, which I guess is another reason I love playing at Elements.  People actually listen and enjoy what we're doing.  In short, the gig is a gas. Tuesday night is jazz night, at least for now.  It would be a shame if it died do to a lack of support by Westchester jazz fans, unless they actually prefer driving into Manhattan, paying tolls, finding a parking space, being charged an arm and a leg and then driving home through that toll again.

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