In these tumultuous political times, many of us desperately need peace, joy, and tranquility and I found all three last night at the Café Carlyle with John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey, whose show "American Stories," runs through November 17. Their eclectic set list covers everything from Paul Simon to Johnny Mercer and the songs are funny, whimsical and poignant, providing a much-needed respite from today’s volatile political climate.
Even today in New York City, basic musical entertainment is not easy to find.
I can still recall a Monday evening 40 years ago, walking down Seventh Avenue in Manhattan and visiting an endless number of jazz clubs from Chelsea to Greenwich Village, where I saw a variety of well-known musicians performing in clubs that no longer exist.
Fortunately, the Café Carlyle, a quiet sanctuary on the Upper East side of Manhattan is still supplying first class musical talent in a room so intimate you’ll feel as if you’re in someone’s home.
The Café Carlyle is a New York institution, and back in the day we called it a “supper club,” although it’s temporarily not serving food while the kitchen is renovated, making "American Stories" less expensive and far more informal than in the past. (The lack of clanking silverware and dishes during the show provides an unusually serene environment.)
Pizzarelli and Molaskey are great storytellers and the anecdotes they offer are every bit as enjoyable as their music, with a diverse set list offering really unique arrangements rather than standard covers. Molaskey is a great interpretive singer and Pizzarelli is a guitarist extraordinaire, and their pianist (Konrad Paszkudzki) is one of the best jazz sidemen I’ve ever heard live.
In a time when Donald Trump’s name is uttered endlessly from cabdrivers to congressmen, it’s nice to hear Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Johnny Mercer, and Stephen Sondheim mentioned instead. Politics seems to have infused itself into everything from sports to Broadway, plus the Knicks are not particularly good despite excelling at offering prohibitively expensive tickets.
Try to attend "American Stories." It’s necessary for a balanced psyche.
John Pizzarelli (guitar and vocals) and Jessica Molaskey (vocals) are backed up by Konrad Paszkudzki (piano) and Mike Karn (bass).
Rob Taub has enjoyed an eclectic career in film, television, radio, and journalism. He has interviewed everyone from pop stars to presidents and he has written more than 250 articles for People Magazine, FoxNews.com, SI/Cauldron, The Huffington Post, and Thrive Global. Rob is a respected Diabetes Advocate and Obesity Ambassador, writing and speaking regularly about Type 2 diabetes and health. Follow him on Twitter @robmtaub or at www.RobTaub.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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