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Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall

By Published: October 10, 2004
Barkan, onetime owner of the world famous Keystone Korner and a regular habituï of many other great jazz spots, is well aware of how vital both aspects are to the success of a place and is devoting himself to making Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola the best jazz club in the world, beginning with the music that will be heard there. The room will receive its public baptism Monday October 18 with a Live From Lincoln Center PBS television broadcast with the Bill Charlap Trio and special guests, followed by its first extended booking which will be a three-week long tribute to the club's namesake with programs devoted to Gillespie's small band, Latin and big band repertoires respectively, featuring Nicholas Payton and Charles McPherson, Paquito D' Rivera and the Julliard Jazz Orchestra with Carla Cook.

Future acts include George Coleman and Eric Alexander, David Fathead Newman, Marcus Roberts, Cyrus Chestnut with Frank Morgan, Eric Reed and Mulgrew Miller with Gary Bartz. Weeks with Diego Maroto Sextet and Antonio Sanchez and Gonzalo Rubalcaba reflects the rooms international vision and a Monday night Jazz Stars of Tomorrow series featuring bands from Julliard, The New School and other college and high school jazz programs is in keeping with J@LC's dedication to jazz education. A late night set featuring duos (beginning with John Hicks) will attempt to make Dizzy's a regular hangout for the jazz community, hoping revive the sense of camaraderie that once thrived in places like Greenwich Village's Bradley's where many musicians unwound after a night of performing in the city's other clubs.

Barkan admits that the overall mission of is a challenging one. Getting listeners to buy the most expensive ($150) tickets to see real jazz artists in the larger rooms may be difficult. He says, "There are going to be challenges, like with anything. I think we're going to put asses in the seats and think we're going to do a damn good job of it". Asked how he thinks the high top ticket prices will affect audiences he replies, "I don't really know and that's kind of outside my domain in general because I'm not setting up the budgets at Jazz at Lincoln Center. I'm not passing the buck, but what I am saying is that that is also one of the most expensive pieces of real estate in the universe. And that's what is reflected in those prices. I think everything will get regulated and adjusted over time as soon as the institution itself establishes an endowment, which it does not yet have. The New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan opera and Carnegie Hall all have multigazillion dollar endowments. As does Alvin Ailey, as do numerous other institutions".

Barkan continues, "Jazz at Lincoln Center is a relatively young institution. It is the youngest constituent member of the Lincoln Center family - it's the newest child in the family. It's basically not even ten years old in terms of its constituency at Lincoln Center. As it is, it is still growing. It's still in its adolescence. It has to grow.

Barkan thinks that Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola is perhaps not quite as difficult a sell as of the larger rooms because of the ticket price level. He says, "We need the seventy-six dollar jazz tickets and that's great, but those aren't the rank and file jazz audience for the most part. You know there are some wealthy people who love jazz and without them we wouldn't be able to survive, but it's a combination of that and the rank and file, which is going to make it work ï Our ticket prices at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola are a very reasonable thirty dollars, which is kind of right in the middle range of what's going on in this town", he says. "Thirty is average. The people we have playing, they're thirty-dollar acts. And we will try to have it even lower than that at times. We're really, really attuned to trying to bring the music to as many people as we can. So that work is just starting. It's going to be a reaching out process that will be quite mind-boggling and soul tingling, but it's going to take time". He does admit that the $30 regular cover at Dizzy's is still steep for many jazz fans. He hopes the $10 music charge for late night set and the $15 one on Mondays will help bring in younger listeners and those with more modest incomes and make them feel like part of the communal constituency he hopes to build around the club.

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