M.A.K.'s set structure is brilliant: six sets covering four different stylistic areas. There will be literally something for everyone, as Danza and her colleagues intended when they created the series. They want music lovers to have something to be excited about, and to be able to go out to hear and support their favorite artists in a "cool hang" environment. They also want to make it a place where musicians want to come and share their artistic creations.
The M.A.K. schedule, every Sunday, will be:
7pm: Cocktail Hour (Happy Hour): Half off on all drinks, with what Danza describes as beautiful traditional jazz.
8pm: Half off one on-tap beer all night. Rock, funk, world, fusion and jazz; as Danza says, something to dance to, but usually original music, written by the musiciansor covered in very intriguing, cool ways.
9pm: Half off one on-tap beer all night. Rock, funk, world, fusion and jazz.
10pm: Half off one on-tap beer all night. Rock, funk, world, fusion and jazz.
11pm: Half off one on-tap beer all night. A DJ that spins (DJ Nastee, who has produced twelve platinum albums) a dance party that's also creative.
12am: Half off one on-tap beer all night. Avant-garde, late night music, and a jam session after that.
The cocktail hour happy hour will feature Danza first, singing such innovative standards as "Everytime We Say Goodbye," "My Foolish Heart," "How Deep Is the Ocean," "I've Got the World on a String," and "Skylark."
On April 17 there will be a famous cabaret singer at 7pm, Aaron Bond. Bond worked with Philip Springer, the writer of "Santa Baby," and "How Little We Know," for Frank Sinatra
. Bond has also worked with Marvin Hamlisch, the orchestra manager/orchestrator for Barbra Streisand
, and even worked with Yip Harburg, who wrote the lyrics of "Over The Rainbow." Mat Maneri, and his wife Lucy, will curate April 17. As well as Aaron Bond, there will be some special guest artists. The complete line up is presented at Nikka Art's website Nikka Arts
April will include Danza, Ben Monder, Judi Silvano, Noah Preminger, Fay Victor
, DJ Nastee, Mat Maneri, Sean Conly
, Ben Gerstein
, Albey Balgochian, Jon De Lucia
, Angelica Sanchez
, Katie Bull, and others. Danza says to on the lookout for Kendrick Scott (drummer for Herbie Hancock and Terence Blanchard
) and Sheila Jordan, who will also be featured soon.
Trombonist Ben Gerstein will kick off the first evening of late night avant-garde music (the 12am slot) with his group, comprising Jonathan Mortiz, Chris Welcome
and Mike Pride
. Gerstein has a very authentic tone, kind of like the '40s swing trombonists, but playing modern music. He is another great choice for the series.
Danza is pleased to acknowledge the suggestion that M.A.K. is like a weekly festival.
M.A.K. has already received considerable interest: Danza and JB are enthusiastic and grateful for the way that the Nikka Arts concept has been supported by the jazz community, including several famous names. Danza says it's amazing how people have responded to the concept, that so many fellow musicians have stepped up to support Nikka Arts and M.A.K., in different ways. Sheila Jordan, a jazz icon, is behind it. John Zorn has been very supportive, and Danza says he has acted like a mentor to her musically, artistically and also on the whole concept behind Nikka Arts and M.A.K. She adds that Bill Laswell
has also been very supportive, saying he has been another mentor. Laswell will also be featured at M.A.K in the future.
Alto saxophonist/composer Darius Jones will also be featured at M.A.K., and has also stepped up to help support the series. Looking ahead, the foundation will also have a marathon day in August, with lighting sculptures, poetry, dance and music. This will be a fundraiser event for the Foundation. And stay tuned for Kendrick Scott's feature dates.
Nikka Arts and its star-filled M.A.K. series are a great concept and a great cause. With cocktails at half price at 7pm, one on-tap beer always at half price all night and a constellation of talent, the M.A.K. series at Fat Baby is something not to be missed. Photo CreditScott Friedlander