John Pizzarelli Trio at Keystone Korner

Mark Robbins By

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From 1972 to 1983 NEA Jazz Master's award recipient Todd Barkan operated San Francisco's Keystone Korner as one the preeminent jazz clubs in the country. Performers such as Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Betty Carter, McCoy Tyner and so many more played on the Korner's stage until, due to financial difficulties, Barkan had to close the club down.

Then in 2019 Barkan, with Michelin-starred chef Robert Wiedmaier, revived Keystone Korner but this time in Baltimore's Harbor East. Keeping the tradition of having the best jazz musicians on the Korner's stage the opening act on April 30, 2019 was bassist Ron Carter with Russell Malone on guitar and Donald Vega on piano. Most recently the John Pizzarelli played 6 gigs there over a cold Baltimore weekend paying homage to one of his musical heroes, Nat King Cole. Continuing Cole's centennial birthday celebration Pizzarelli with pianist Tadataka Unno and bassist Mike Karn spent the evening putting their spin on popular and seldom heard Cole songs like "Straighten Up and Fly Right," "Route 66," "Save the Bones for Henry Jones ('Cause Henry Don't Eat Meat" and many more. If there was one disappointment in the 90 minute set it was the lack of an audience. The 200 seat room had less than 20 people in attendance for a ten o'clock Friday night show. The hostess said the earlier set was just about sold out but it was still disappointing to see such a poor turnout for such a great trio. Oh well, at least the 20 who were there got to see a show that was "Unforgettable."
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