Spike Wilner writes about a new club, Mezzrow, opening tomorrow in New York. Filling the void once defined by Bradley’s for NYC featuring world class statesmen of this music brought to you from our friends at Smalls, Spike Wilner & Mitch Borden.
By Spike Wilner
I'm really nervous/excited about the new club - Mezzrow opening next week. Wednesday is Johnny O'Neal and then Thur-Sat is Cyrus Chestnut & Dezron Douglas to kick off the first weekend. Johnny will be doing a steady Monday night at the club and the rest of the week will be amazing piano players in various duet configurations.
This whole thing came together as if in a dream. I've never felt such a positive surge of karma as all the elements of the club came together - it feels as if it's been meant to be. I just want to say thank you to everyone that's contributed so far. I really hope to have as many artists participate as possible - of course it's not feasible to have everyone in the first few months but my aspiration is have Mezzrow for many years to come and eventually offer everyone the chance to perform there.
I hope to have Mezzrow and Smalls operating in tandem and like two brothers, sharing and cooperating. Since Mezzrow is literally right next door (163 w. 10th) patrons will be able to go back and forth. Our cover charge will be the same at both clubs, $20. At Mezzrow, however, you do have the option of reserving a table seat by the music if you choose (for an extra $5). On our website, (mezzrow.com) you can choose an event and if you want to reserve a place for a show you can buy it right there. Mezzrow opens at 6:30 pm for a no-cover happy hour. The cover charge kicks in at 8PM and, like the Vanguard, we are doing 2 shows: 8:30pm & 10:30pm. On the weekends there will be a 12:30 am set of some fine solo pianist. Our lovely bartender from Smalls, Erin, has created the menu for Mezzrow and will be manning (womaning) the bar and you'll see our familiar Smalls staff managing and serving.
Like with Smalls, Mezzrow is dedicated to the propagation of Jazz Music, the culture of New York City and to world-peace through musical communication. It's a music venue run by musicians for musicians. If you feel inclined to share our links in your social media we would appreciate that. The Facebook fan page - https://www.facebook.com/mezzrowclub and be sure to check out our website, www.mezzrow.com. Also, of course, we hope you come by Smalls and check out the wealth of talent that we present each week. My humblest thank you to the Lord for our good fortune and to ask for the strength to continue and to have the inspiration to complete this work.
Mezzrow Questions and Answers (in response to the questions we've been getting)
1) Do you have a website? A) YES! Please check www.mezzrow.com for all of our info, scheduling and advanced ticket purchases.
2) What are the hours/charges? A) We open our doors at 6:30 PM every night. Showtimes are at 8:30 PM and 10:30 PM and a 12:30 AM after-hours set on the weekends. Like Smalls, our cover is $20 but we don't start charging until 8PM if you want to come have a drink during the happy hour. Afterhours is 1/2 price.
3) Can I reserve seats? A) YES! Our new website features a built-in advanced ticketing option. Go to the event of your choice and you can purchase a guaranteed seat for either the 8:30 or 10:30 PM shows. Advanced guaranteed seats are $25 per show.
4) How many seats are there at Mezzrow? A) Mezzrow is a long rectangle so in the back of the club is our "listening room" with about 30 seats that we are selling as the advanced reserved seats. In our lounge we can hold another 25 max or so. Even if the listening room sells out you can still come to our lounge and hear the music - however, for those folks that want to guarantee themselves a seat at a table for a show you have that option.
5) Will Mezzrow be open late? A) No, not terribly late. About 1AM on the weekdays and 2AM on the weekends. Anyone that wants later after-hours will be able to go to Smalls.
6) Is Mezzrow nearby Smalls? A) YES! - right across 7th ave. Smalls is 183 W. 10th and Mezzrow is 163 W. 10th. Patrons will be able to go back and forth easily between the two clubs.
7) Why is Mezzrow a "piano room"? A) New York used to have many "piano rooms", quiet places where you could go and hear piano/bass duets. The most famous was Bradley's but there were many others such as Zinno's, Sofia's, Whipoorwill and Knickerbocker (which still is exists and has piano duets). This is a way for us to showcase all the great piano players in New York and there are many.
8) Will Mezzrow be live streamed? A) No. For the time being we are going to keep Mezzrow contained in it's basement space. If you want to see Mezzrow than you need to drop by.
9) Who was Mezzrow and why name a piano room after him? A) Good question! Milton "Mezz" Mezzrow was a Jewish clarinetist from Chicago in the 1920's. He was a good musician and an ubiquitous figure on the Chicago scene. He became very close friends with Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet. He was an activist for racial equality and embraced African American culture as his own, marrying an African American woman and settling down in Harlem. He produced many great records, was an advocate for marjuana usage as a substitute for alcohol and wrote one of the greatest jazz books ever written called "Really The Blues". Mezz is our symbol of jazz, music, spiritual depth, racial equality, reefer and cool little night clubs where the music is the most important thing.
I wish the best to you and your loved ones!