There are two types of concerts. The “big” ones: ceremonious and codified concerts in major venues, such as Carnegie Hall, where you are welcomed with several restrictions. No cell phones, no pictures, no talking. On the other hand you have the “small” concerts, in more informal venues. What about a performance hosted in the intimacy of the living room of a Harlem apartment? Welcome to Marjorie Eliot’s Parlor Jazz.
23 years. It has been 23 years since Marjorie Eliot opened the doors of her apartment in Washington Heights every Sunday afternoon for a colorful jazz concert. At Marjorie’s, no fuss. No tickets or reservations required – the concert is free and open to all. All chairs are occupied? Don’t worry, Marjorie will always find you a spot, whether in the hallway, the kitchen, or the entryway. She will squeeze you in somewhere. Some bustle in the kitchen? Don’t worry, it’s only snacks for visitors that are being prepared. Marjorie is a great host – that’s the least you can say. Passing drink trays, she sneaks between chairs, slaloms between rows. What may, from the outside, look like cheerful chaos is actually a well-oiled machine.
Marjorie at the piano is accompanied by her son Rudel Drears, saxophonist Sedric Choukroun, bassist Gaku Takanashi, and trumpeter Koichi Yoshihara. You are embedded in a 2-hour musical interlude – some jazz standards of the 50’s and 60’s, some improv, and some texts and poems delivered by Marjorie’s acolytes. The jazz diva holds this weekly ritual in celebration of her late children, Philip and Michael. You will exit apartment 3F, lighthearted with the sense that you experienced authenticity and true generosity. This musical gathering has frankly nothing to envy the big ones.
Parlor Jazz at Marjorie Eliot’s
555 Edgecombe Avenue, apt 3F, Washington Heights
Every Sunday from 3 :30pm to 5:30pm
Free admission – donations accepted.