PLG Arts is showing the Marianne Solivan Quartet in a pre-recorded performance. Photo: Supplied

A jazz festival is gearing up to get toes tapping in Brooklyn, while providing some much-needed support for local musicians and businesses.

The One Brooklyn Jazz Festival is kicking off this Friday, Dec. 4, and running through Sunday Dec. 13 with a mix of virtual live shows, pre-recorded shows and dining with live music at select Brooklyn venues.

The festival is run by the Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium (CBJC), which had to postpone its annual spring festival for the first time in 21 years due to COVID-19.

ShapeShifter Lab and ShapeShifter Plus is showing Take Off Collective. Photo: Supplied.

Despite the challenges of showing live music during the pandemic, organizers were determined to keep bringing Brooklyn jazz to the borough this year, albeit a little differently than normal, CBJC Communications Director Bob Myers said.

“Brooklyn is really a popping place for music, but during the pandemic there were places that had to shut down that were really popular,” Myers said. “We wanted to keep the festival going to uplift the people.”

Performances are being hosted by restaurants and cultural institutions across Brooklyn, and jazz-lovers can enjoy live music with a meal in venues in Crown Heights, Bed-Stuy and East New York. Brooklyn residents would be supporting both the musicians and the restaurants, Myers said.

“Everybody in the wold comes to Brooklyn because our musicians are great musicians, some just waiting to get their chance. They’ll be the next ones getting the Grammys, and you can see them for the price of a meal.” 

The Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium is presenting the Youth Jazz Jamboree, hosted by Quest Youth Organization. Photo: Supplied

The festival is being promoted with the help from a grant issued through the Brooklyn Arts Council, but many of the production costs are being covered by participating venues and eateries. 

It’s taken time for local restaurants to equip themselves to produce live streaming events in the age of COVID-19, but many are now ready to go with the new normal.

Those restaurants providing dining with live music experiences are proceeding with every precaution, operating at 25% capacity and making sure the band is at least 12-feet away from the dining tables.

Sistas’ Place is presenting Culture is Our Weapon: Music Will Save Our Lives with Nate Adderley Jr., Chris Berger, Rocky Bryant. Photo: Supplied.

Organizers hoped the festival would help rejuvenate Brooklyn’s nightlife economy, CBJC chairman Clarence Mosley, Jr. said, by both encouraging people to experience the borough’s unique ethnic enclaves while sampling international food. “[The festival] is an exciting multi-cultural jazz presentation celebrating our borough’s diversity through jazz,” he said.

For Myers, who has been a part of the Brooklyn jazz scene for decades — running the Up Over Jazz Café on Flatbush Ave. from 1994 to 2003 — the uniquely grassroots festival was a way to celebrate the “mom and pop operations” where the borough’s jazz scene has thrived. “Jazz in Brooklyn is a different experience from the Village jazz experience,” he said. “Brooklyn jazz is run by entrepreneurs, local businesses.”

Despite this, he was looking forward to “PC” — post-COVID — when residents would be able to get out and support the scene again.

“Live streaming is cool, but its different to being there, interacting with the musicians and with your fellow patrons, both of you bouncing your heads to the music. That communication between those two people at the bar stools, and then talking with the musicians. But we’re in different times now.”

To check out the latest One Brooklyn Jazz Festival calendar, head to the website (full calendar coming Wednesday), or get a peek at upcoming events and where to watch them below.

Friday Dec. 4, 5:30 p.m.

ShapeShifter Lab and ShapeShifter Plus presents Take Off Collective with Ole Mathisen, Marko Djordjevic and Matt Garrison livestream.

Friday Dec. 4, 7 p.m.

Nostrand Social presents dining with live music at Nostrand Social, 706 Nostrand Ave., Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Friday Dec. 4, 9 p.m.

Williamsburg Music Center presents the Gerry Eastman Trio featuring Taru Alexander, Greg “Organ Monk” Lewis livestream on Facebook and YouTube.

Saturday Dec. 5, 7 p.m.

Sistas’ Place presents Culture is Our Weapon: Music Will Save Our Lives virtual concert live stream with Nate Adderley Jr., Chris Berger, Rocky Bryant. For info call 718.398.1766.

Sunday Dec. 6, 4 p.m.

Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium presents Jazz For Unity with Jeff King, Chico Alvarez, Dr. Mambo, Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch, Gerry Eastman, NYPD Band, Akiko Tsuruga, Reggie Woods, Randy Weston livestream. Watch here.

Monday Dec. 7, 6 p.m.

SugarHill Supper Club presents dining with live music at 217 Nostrand Ave., Bed-Stuy.

Tuesday Dec. 8, 7 p.m.

Fusion East presents livestream jazz and dining with live music at 1179 Elton St., East New York.

Thursday Dec. 10, 8 p.m.

Connection Works presents, Works featuring Michel Gentile, Daniel Kelly, Rob Gracia, s/g Scott Robinson livestream from Soap Box Gallery. Watch here

Friday Dec. 11, 9 p.m.

Williamsburg Music Center presents Gerry Eastman Trio featuring Taru Alexander, Greg “Organ Monk” Lewis  livestream. Watch on Facebook and YouTube.

Saturday Dec. 12, 1 p.m. 

Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium presents Youth Jazz Jamboree hosted by Quest Youth Organization live stream here.

Saturday Dec. 12, 7 p.m.

PLG Arts presents Marianne Solivan Quartet pre-recorded performance. Watch here

Sunday Dec. 13, 12 – 4 p.m.

Nostrand Social presents Jazz Brunch at 706 Nostrand Ave., Crown Heights.

Sunday Dec. 13, 8 p.m.

Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium presents Brooklyn Jazz Hall of Fame Tribute to Max Roach, Lena Horne, Herbie Mann, Randy Weston live stream. Watch here.

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Jessy Edwards

Jessy Edwards is a freelance writer based in Bushwick. Originally from New Zealand, she has written for the BBC, Rolling Stone, NBC New York, CNBC and her hometown newspaper, The Dominion Post, among others.

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