Volume 17 • Issue 23 | Oct. 29 - Nov. 4, 2004

Tenor sax Ralph Lalama and New York University’s student jazz musicians at Garage Restaurant & Cafe’s Jazz Legends of Tomorrow Program. Students will be performing weekdays at lunch.

All that jazz

NYU students perform daily at the Garage

By Wickham Boyle

The union of bars downtown and NYU students is not unusual. What is newsworthy is the alliance that was launched this past week between the Garage, a restaurant and cafe at 99 Seventh Avenue, and the NYU Jazz and Contemporary studies department.

The alliance is an innovative way for young student artists and a venerable Village restaurant to ban together to meet mutual goals. The Garage restaurant will host new jazz musicians and vocalists every weekday at lunch from 1 until 3 p. m. until the end of the school year. In case you’ve missed how huge that is, it means performances fives days a week for seven months.

The series was kicked off with some jazz legends performing alongside these plucky NYU upstarts. Ralph Lalana, a well-known tenor saxophonist, took center stage and jammed away with a tune he had composed called “Criss Cross” and the NYU students took off at the break riffing on the melodies, with piano arching and guitar bringing up the rhythm.

Although the audience was sparse for the opening lunch, manager David Goss, himself a jazz vocalist, was hopeful that this program would gather a ground swell of enthusiasm.

“This is organic music and look at us, we are an organic restaurant. We have the brick walls, the wonderful woodwork and the fireplace and traditional food. So we are keeping the music real, original stuff and standards.”

The buzz in the room was wonderful, the eggs to perfection and the fireplace took the chill off a rainy October for all who wandered in.

Dr. David Schroeder is the director of the NYU program whose students are being showcased at the Garage.

“The point is to wear the students down, you know in a good way, by having them perform as much as possible. That is what makes them musicians. In order to participate in these gigs the kids have to be responsible. If you are scheduled to play you have to show up or get someone to replace you. That is what performing in front of an audience is all about. “

Schroeder continues. “You know the Garage is known for its night time jazz, they have many of the greats play here, but this idea to have students perform at lunch is different. And that is what the NYU program is all about. We have Master Classes, we provide rehearsal space for artists and all of our students can be flies on the wall to listen. But here, it is their spot light and that will really make them musicians.”

John Scofield another jazz legend who was at the inaugural concert and is as well a professor at NYU, was caught toe tapping at the bar before he went on stage.

“The most important thing for young musicians is to play, not just for each other but a live audience. In the golden age of jazz there were a lot of spaces where you could just go and play. There was a wealth of experience in these gathering places. This is wonderful because it gets students out of the practice room and in front of an audience.”

Bob Rinaldo, owner of the Garage Restaurant and Cafe is upbeat that this series will launch some of jazz’s future greats.

“After all Greenwich Village is synonymous with legendary performers such as Miles Davis, Buddy Rich, Stan Getz and John Coltrane and we are thrilled that our patrons will continue to enojy the greats of tomorrow.”

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