By December 2, 2021 Read More →

Jazz Blues View: Live Music Support It and It Will Grow!

Jazz Blues View: Live Music Support It and It Will Grow!
By Eric Benson

A little bio on one of our fellow Jazz pianists – 81 years young Kent Gripenstraw, who is hanging up his shingle playing out, secondary to feeling like his playing is not as it once was and schlepping around music gear. Kent started playing at age 6 and has been playing music in the area for over 50 years. In the Jazz hay day when Swing was king, once you had a union card you could show up at the office and they would send you on the gig!. He got his start with Dave Callihan group, playing with Jank deCoito Tenor Band, Hogan’s Hero’s and later Sinatra-influenced vocalist Josh Feiffer. Venues included the Treefrog Tavern, the Bamboo Room, Club 14, Cheeto’s, Jacks Club, Cameron Club and California Ballroom. At age 21 he joined the Airforce Band and stayed in 20 years playing twice for JFK weeks before he was assassinated. He played in Big bands, dance bands and did a lot of solo piano gigs. Influences include Oscar Peterson, Ramsey Lewis, and Andre Previn. His day job was working for the Hershey plant for 20 years while playing nights and weekends. Kent is a seasoned player who can knock out 100 standards on the keys without a sheet of music. He may come down to the Blue Monday Party Jazz Jam Monday Dec 13th and grace us with a few of his Jazz gems with the Blue Monday Band, come out if you can!

I am excited to be able to bring live music to Chef’s of New York Thurs through Sat. Friday night Jazz and Saturday Blues and Roots Music. The lineup for December: 3rd Eric Benson & Blue Monday Band, Dec 4th Thunder Road, Dec 9th South Shore Road Band, 10th Blade Runner, 11th Shad Harris, 16th Jake Spoon with Jeff Chilton, 17th John King Jazz guitar duo, 18th John Clifton Band, 23rd Thunder Road, 24th Tony & the Tough Times, 30th South Shore Road Band and New Year’s Evet Blade Runner. The food is great with full bar and a nice intimate room for the music, hope to see you there!

Cafe Urbano has DJ events with Taco Tuesdays, Thursday through Sunday with dance instruction with Salsa, Cumbia and other Latin idioms. Blue Monday Christmas Party Jam Monday Dec 13th. The Band features John Adey & Conrad Johnson Bass, Dave Hawks Drums, Andrew Rosenblum & John Burt Sax, Johnny Valdes Guitar and vocals and Eric Benson Keys. We play Jazz, funk, Latin and the Blues. The jam goes from 7-10PM with full bar and great food!

A lot of my peeps are still on the fence about coming out to see a show even with social distancing and precautions in place. I encourage all to get to the vaccination station and be cautious but not fearful! This is our world, and we all need to get on with the business of living! We have to continue to support our economy and businesses that support the arts. All we need is for you to come out and be part of the scene!

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