May 2nd, 2015
April 30th, 2015
Not everyone is cut out for the music festival scene.
The first thing that becomes apparent to someone who may be in over their head is the notion that, woah, there's no way we're going to see all of these bands, eat all of this food and drink all of these drinks.
It's too much. Of everything. Everywhere you look. Lots and lots of stuff to do.
And it goes on forever, seemingly. You start early in the day and then by noon you're questioning the laws of the universe. Time: what is it? How does it work? Where are we all moving, in life?
Sometimes we need to take a deep breath and try on a festival more our size. The Exit 0 Jazz Festival, slated for May 29-31, is the perfect sort of vibe for anyone who isn't ready to commit to Coachella-level craziness just yet.
Oh, and the lineup! This year features the legendary Dr. John & The Nite Trippers and Grammy winners the Rebirth Brass Band, in addition to more than 30 other house shows. You also have food vendors galore (including some incredibly inventive food truck options) and a whole lot of other live entertainment.
You can't go wrong with this mellow, good time. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit exit0jazzfest.com.
- Matt Chimento
April 22nd, 2015
CELEBRATING 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN’S EPIC, PAUL JOST REIMAGINES BORN TO RUN
EXIT ZERO JAZZ FESTIVAL MAY 29, 2015 8 P.M.
IN CAPE MAY CONVENTION HALL . BOB SIMON MEMORIAL MAIN STAGE
Cape May, NJ (April 20, 2015) — In 1975, who would have thought there would be a concert performance celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Springsteen's epic, Born to Run? Now, Exit Zero Jazz Festival has commissioned vocalist, drummer, composer and arranger Paul Jost, himself a native of the Garden State, to reimagine in a jazz context the music of Bruce Springsteen's Born To Run. The concert will take place on Saturday, May 29, 2015 at 8 p.m. on the Bob Simon Memorial Stage at the Cape May Convention Hall with Joey Alexander and his trio opening, the 11 year old jazz piano prodigy.
Inviting Paul Jost to arrange and present Springsteen's Born to Run was an easy selection according to Michael Kline, Producer of Exit Zero. He said, "When we began to think about the Springsteen project with its obvious connections to New Jersey, and how best to make clear the not so obvious connection Born to Run has to the jazz world, we began to think about an artist who could take the ideas and make it work for a festival audience. It took us about a half of a second before we selected Paul Jost.”
The innovative Paul Jost, a popular performer in the region who is becoming known on the international jazz scene, is a prolific arranger and composer. He has written over 40 CD’s, including the highly acclaimed song "Book Faded Brown," that has been recorded by The Band, Carl Perkins and Rick Danko and is included in his latest recording "Breaking Through" (Dot Time Records.)
The Springsteen project is an exciting venture for Jost. He feels very appreciative of this opportunity and said, "I'm honored to have been tapped by Michael Kline, as the person to re-imagine the music of such an iconic artist from my native state. I love the images Springsteen paints with his lyrics and they serve as the inspiration for our reinvention of the music." This is, in a way, a collaborative effort by Jost. In addition to his arrangements, Jost has asked internationally renowned vibraphonist Tony Miceli and legendary musician Barry Miles to write arrangements as well. Jost has assembled an incredible band made up of great artists and friends that include Jim Ridl-piano, John Swana-E.V.I., Chico Huff-bass, Anwar Marshall-drums, and vibraphonist Tony Miceli.”
Jost, who performs frequently in the Philadelphia and South Jersey region, has extended his stage credits to New York, Germany and South Korea. This year, he's been performing at the well-known New York jazz club, 55 Bar, and this April he performed in Germany at Jazzahead!, the world's largest jazz conference. With his band, The Jost Project who perform the classic rock of the 60's and 70's in a jazz format, he toured South Korea last summer.
Originally a drummer, over the years Jost's musical talents extended to guitar and harmonica, but it’s his voice that truly makes him a standout. His vocals are so soulful that music critic Buster Maxwell wrote, “He nearly single-handedly reclaims the male voice as a valid and critically important jazz instrument.” Peter McLaren in Jazz in Europe wrote about his new album and said, With "Breaking Through", Paul Jost has shown that he is a force to be reckoned with and an artist that deserves to be seen on all great festival stages worldwide. This album is one of the best jazz CD's I've had the pleasure of listening to." Music Journalist Esther Berlanga-Ryan said, "Paul Jost is the very essence of Vocal Jazz today. Breaking Through is an album filled with beauty and perfection."
Jost is involved in many exciting projects including the release of two recordings with Dot Time Records in a one-year period. His first solo CD is appropriately titled Breaking Through because he, literally, breaks through traditional boundaries and conventions in each song on the album. His arrangements are being applauded as much as his voice. In August, 2013, the album Can’t Find My Way Home was released by Dot Time Records, performed by The Jost Project, the band launched by vibraphonist Tony Miceli and including bassist Kevin MacConnell, drummer Charlie Patierno and Paul as vocalist/harmonicist/arranger.
In addition, there are many other music collaborations he is involved in that include performances and recordings. He sings in The Diane Monroe Sextet, “What is This Thing Called Freedom” featuring violinist Diane Monroe. In the past few years, Paul has recorded three separate duo projects. One with bassist Tim Lekan, Side by Side (Independent), a second with flutist Mark Adler, Silver Whispers (Arabesque,) and a third (to be released late in 2014), Where We Meet with pianist, Frank Strauss. Jost is both singer and arranger in the jazz ensembles Antfarm Quartet featuring pianist Jim Ridl, Tim Lekan and drummer Bob Shomo. His recently released work includes CD’s with: Antfarm Quartet Dialogues Pt. 2 and Live @ The Colony Theater, (Dreambox Media); Andy Lalasis Fret Not (Independent), Carolyn Nelson Come a Little Closer (Independent) and as drummer for Susan Goodman’s Central Park West and vocalist on her, Live Out Loud (Soozaroo Music). He is guest lecturer and teacher at several colleges and universities including University of the Arts in Philadelphia and West Chester University in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Jost also played drums in the Off- Broadway production of Andy Warhol's "Man On The Moon" featuring John Phillips (Mamas and the Papas).
Born and raised in Southern New Jersey, Paul still resides in the area and is proud to have served as musical director at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City. He also served as music director for singer Morgana King. The list of artists he has performed or recorded with is extensive including Billy Eckstine, Mark Murphy, George Mesterhazy, Ann Hampton Calloway, Sylvia Simms, Bobby Scott, Sivuca, Dr. John, Bucky Pizzarelli, Teo Macero, Joe Farrell, Ron Carter, Bobby Tucker, Pee Wee Ellis, John Phillips, Mike Abene and many more. He is honored as well to have worked in collaboration with songwriter/producer Jim Tullio throughout his career.
When looking back at his childhood, he says, “Music spoke to my heart the instant I was exposed to it, and each experience has added to a continuing dialogue that becomes more beautiful and more meaningful in my life.” He learned to play piano at age six and quickly turned his talent to the drums. When he was 12, he started playing professionally, earning respect in the music community. After graduating Vineland High School where he was voted “best musician”, he studied at the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston. He has performed all over the country, living for a while in New York and Chicago, but chose to make his home in New Jersey where he lives with his wife, Valerie. They are the proud parents of Daniel Jost, a highly respected musician/vocalist, and Juliana Jost, a high school art teacher and granddaughter, Olivia Grace.
March 20th, 2015
March 7th, 2015
Spring Forward to Exit 0 International Jazz Festival With These Superb Artists, By: Carol Banks Weber AXS Contributor
For a relatively new music festival, the Exit 0 International Jazz Festival in historic Cape May, N.J. really pulls in blockbuster jazz, soul, R&B, and blues icons, NEA Jazz Masters, Grammy-winning legends, and crowd favorites, as well as a solid, loyal fan base every year. This time, the annual November festival jumps into spring, May 29-31, at several main stage concerts and over 30 clubs.
A resident of Cape May, Exit 0 Jazz Festival producer Michael Kline (Michael Kline Artists booking agency) saw the end of the semi-annual Cape May Jazz Festival after 17 years in 2011, due to economic problems. He and his Spy Boy Productions events company organized the Exit Zero Jazz Festival the next year, after Hurricane Sandy decimated the Jersey Shore, Staten Island, and other nearby towns. In March last year, Kline announced the beginning of the spring version of the festival, to take advantage of the pre-summer crowd and outdoor venues at this seaside Victorian landmark.
"When I think about festivals that I've been to, obvious ones that stand out are New Orleans, Monterey and Newport," he told Don Botch, in a March 29, 2014, Reading Eagle interview [also posted on the festival website's News section], "and these iconic festivals, all of which are held in the spring or summer, feature outdoor stages plus full vendor components including arts and crafts and food that speak to a region or a community."
The spring edition of this festival features live music at several choice stages: Jazz at the Estate in the afternoons at the Estate Outdoor Stage, Jazz Under the Stars Series, Cape May Convention Hall Main Stage Concerts, and 30-plus shows at clubs all over the city.
In a website press release, Kline explained the direction of his festival: "I wanted to offer something to Cape May to kick-off the summer season and celebrate music. We want fest-goers to find their summer soundtrack right here at the Festival. The fest keeps growing, and we’re getting bigger ideas about where we want to take the music. We want visitors to Cape May to hear and feel the music wherever they go in Cape May Festival weekend and we try to bring a little of that New Orleans street party flavor to Cape May."
With such an exclusive access to jazz celebrities under his international booking agency, Kline found a great way to hook his festival up. This year, the family friendly Exit 0 Jazz Festival lineup of over 100 musicians includes two big New Orleans artists in six-time-Grammy winner Dr. John & the Nite Trippers performing their salute to Louis Armstrong, and the Grammy-winning Rebirth Brass Band, award-winning gypsy jazz singer Cyrille Aimée, 2013 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone winner Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio, DownBeat's Rising Star trumpeter Sean Jones, Wynton Marsalis/Herbie Hancock-approved child prodigy, Balinese pianist Joey Alexander, all-star Cuban singer Ernesto "Gato" Gatell, and 2010 Thelonious Monk first runner-up Charenee Wade.
One of the top music labels in the world - Motéma Music - is a major part of making this festival happen. Here are five special reasons to come.
Dr. John and his Nite Trippers invoke 'Ske-Dat-De-Dat Spirit Of Satch'
Dr. John, aka Malcolm John "Mac" Rebennack, aka Dr. John Creaux, is the high priest voodoo master, a guy with the golden tongue, and his own shortcut language - a combo of New Orleans smooth and street-smart musician - miles of fun on piano, guitar, those déjà-vu, gris-gris vocals. He and his Nite Trippers have been tripping through an exciting repertoire of Louis Armstrong standards in shows and from the August 19, 2014 album, Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit Of Satch on Concord Records. Besides winning six Grammys, the New Orleans legend was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 14, 2011 by John Legend, and first burst onto the mainstream circuit with his 1973, cross-over hit, "Right Place Wrong Time." He's always a good time. He and his band are up May 30, 8 p.m., at the Cape May Convention Hall/Vintage South Jersey.com Stage.
Rebirth Brass Band brings the party
The New Orleans-famous Rebirth Brass Band boasts fans from all over, young, old, rich, poor, Joe Schmo off the street to Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Everyone in the vicinity of Carrollton in uptown New Orleans makes a beeline Tuesday nights to the Maple Leaf Bar to see these guys jam and feel the true spirit of the second line. When they won their first Grammy in 2012 for Rebirth Of New Orleans, the rest of the world began to take serious notice of the grand funk and the conjugal lyrics. The band's currently on the move, about to tear up Seattle's Tractor Tavern tonight. Also stars on HBO's Treme, the nine-piece band comes from way back, 1983, when the Frazier brothers got it on from the streets of the French Quarter to festivals and the big time. The Rebirth Brass Band combines an electric brass section with R&B vocals for a second line party that will make you forget all your troubles. The group's on May 29, 10 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. at Cabanas/Cape May Brewery Stage and May 30, 3:45 p.m., Jazz at the Estate.
Melissa Aldana and Crash Trio create new on bold music
In 2013, Chilean tenor saxophonist and a virtual unknown walked away with the top prize in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, and made history as the first female instrumentalist to do so. The then-24-year-old Melissa Aldana breezed past stiff competition to impress an impressive panel of legendary judges - Jane Ira Bloom, Branford Marsalis, Wayne Shorter, Jimmy Heath, and Bobby Watson. Ever since, Aldana has made the most of her opportunity, recording a self-titled album last June on Concord with her Crash Trio, fellow Chilean musician, bassist Pablo Menares, and Cuban drummer Francisco Mela, going on an extensive tour, and trying to carve out her own style from the inspiration of one of her biggest idols, Sonny Rollins. Melissa Aldana and Crash Trio are on at Jazz at the Estate, May 30, 12:15 p.m.
Trumpeter Sean Jones takes lead
Anyone who ever listened to Sean Jones' new record on Mack Avenue would be at his next available show. This young, hot trumpeter (formerly drummer) comes straight out of the John Coltrane/Miles Davis/Wynton Marsalis school of thought to forge his own foreground in the audacious im.pro.vise never before seen. With longtime friends, pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Luques Curtis, and drummer Obed Calvaire, the once lead trumpeter of Marsalis' Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra took the new and the old directly to heart, hitting hard, shooting deep, and playing whatever they felt. In a press release, Jones expressed his wish to jam with these musicians without overdubs, "This time it was just the four of us in one room, no barriers between us, playing live." Jones takes it to the next level May 30, 7:30 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. at Aleathea's/Whale's Tale and Splash Stage.
Cyrille Aimee redeems gypsy jazz for everyone
Gypsy jazz gets a bad rap from the mainstream as a little too mellow, an affable, ineffective, guitar-strumming monotone that goes nowhere fast. Enter, Cyrille Aimée, a young, luminous French/Dominican artist whose time has come. Aimee fell madly in love with gypsy jazz at a very young age, listening to the music fans would play around campfires before trekking over to the annual Django Reinhardt Festival near her childhood home in Samois-sur-Seine. A singer and composer fast approaching celebrity status wherever she gigs - hotels, clubs, cafes, the recent Portland Jazz Festival, she's been gigging a lot in support of her latest Mack Avenue record, It's A Good Day, while trying to fit in more music for another album. Her gypsy jazz is easygoing and mostly happy, but never boring. She brings lively, spirited vocals to vary the familiar flutter of cascading guitar strokes in time and in tune to her own sparkling, sudsy beat. Critics adore her. She's been on their list a lot last year, including Jazz Times' annual Readers' Poll. It's only a matter of time before she receives major Grammy notice. Aimee has shows at the Pier at the Lobster House/It's A Breeze Stage May 30, 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
February 27th, 2015
Michael Kline, Producer of Exit Zero Jazz, Talks the Fest With Destination Jazz TV
February 24th, 2015
February 9th, 2015
During Exit 0, the seashore town becomes a veritable jazz village. I imagine that it must be like that in Sundance when Hollywood comes to their town for the annual film festival . Jazz Times
Exit Zero Jazz Festival, presented by Beach Creek Oyster Bar & Grille & Motema Music & Spy Boy Productions, kicks off May 29-May 31, 2015. The Spring Edition features Main Stage Concerts in the Cape May Convention Hall, Jazz at the Estate Outdoor Stage, Jazz Under the Stars Series, and Over 30 Club Shows in the National Historic Landmark
City of Cape May, New Jersey
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Features Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee & 6 Time Grammy Award Winner Dr. John & The NiteTrippers and the Grammy Award Winning Rebirth Brass Band; Paul Jost Reimagines Springsteen's Born to Run; Night In Havana on the Beach at Hotel Icona; Sean Jones, Joe Locke, Cyrille Aimee; and Young Innovators Melissa Aldana, Charenee Wade; & Introducing Joey Alexander + More
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The charming Victorian seaside town of Cape May, New Jersey, will transform into a mecca of worldclass music, fine wine, great food and happy music fans May 29-May 31, 2015 for the 5th Exit Zero Jazz Festival. The festival celebrates music with over 100 international touring musicians descending on Cape May in an atmosphere similar to stylish, accessible European festivals. The perfect size for a family-friendly festival, Exit Zero Jazz offers fest-goers the opportunity to stroll from venue to venue and revel in many styles of music from jazz, soul, blues and R&B not to mention the gorgeous ocean setting of the National Historic Landmark city.
Exit Zero Jazz is produced by Spy Boy Productions led by Michael Kline, who celebrated many summers in Cape May and returned in 2005 from New Orleans: " I wanted to offer something to Cape May to kick-off the summer season and celebrate music. We want fest-goers to find their summer soundtrack right here at the Festival. The fest keeps growing, and we're getting bigger ideas about where we want to take the music. We want visitors to Cape May to hear and feel the music wherever they go in Cape May Festival weekend and we try to bring a little of that New Orleans street party flavor to Cape May."
Named for the exit to Cape May off the Garden State Parkway, the festival attracts a loyal, diverse audience of thousands from the major metropolitan regions surrounding Cape May including New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., all within a four or five hour drive of Cape May. The Festival features Grammy Award-winners, living legends, NEA Jazz Masters, emerging jazz stars, international musicians and home-grown talent too.
Ticket Information. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Cape May Convention Hall Box Office at (609)884.9563 or by visiting www.exit0jazzfest.com. Hotel packages are available from Congress Hall, the Official Hotel Partner of Exit Zero Jazz, and from Hotel Partners on the Festival site. Individual tickets are available to all Cape May Convention Hall and Jazz at the Estate events. Festival Passes provide the best value for fest-goers: Duke's Pass: $150 plus tax and ticket facility fee Includes all headliners, club and Jazz at The Estate shows. Count's Pass: $70 plus tax & ticket facility fee Includes Jazz at the Estate and Pop's Pass club shows. Pop's Pass: $45 plus tax & ticket facility fee Includes all Club Shows all weekend.
About Exit 0 International Jazz Festival. Distressed at the loss of the semi-annual Cape May Jazz Festival, which ended a 17-year run in 2011 due to economic difficulties, jazz industry veteran Michael Kline launched the Exit Zero Jazz Festival in 2012, following in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Exit Zero is produced by Spy Boy Productions, an events company founded by Kline, who runs Michael Kline Artists, an international booking agency representing NEA Jazz Masters and emerging artists. Kline left Cape May in 1992 for New Orleans, where he hosted a show on WWOZ FM and worked in jazz. Music industry veteran Eric D. Wright completes the artistic leadership team as Festival Senior Producer. He was part of the launch team for the Rochester International Jazz Festival and is Assistant Director of Concert Operations for Jazz at Lincoln Center. Kline and Wright worked together in New Orleans on behalf of artist Terence Blanchard.
The Festival is supported through the efforts of our Festival Partners: Beach Creek Oyster Bar & Grille, Motema Music, Exit Zero Magazine, Xerox, Congress Hall & Cape Resorts Group, Mid Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities, South Jersey Tourism Corp.
We are grateful to our partners for supporting the positive cultural and economic impact for Cape May and the surrounding community Exit Zero Jazz Festival strives to make. Consumer Business: Beach Creek Oyster Bar & Grille, Motema Music, Exit Zero Magazine & XEROX. Spirits. Tito's Handmade Vodka, Cape May Brewing Company, Auburn Road & Hawk Haven Vineyards Tourism: South Jersey Tourism Corp., Arts: Mid-Atlantic Center for Arts & Humanities, Cape May Center for Community Arts. Hospitality: Congress Hall, The Virginia Hotel, The Sandpiper, The Star Inn / La Mer Beachfront Inn / The Montreal Beach Resort / The Queen Victoria Bed & Breakfast/ The Grand Hotel/ The Carol Villa/ The Victorian Motel/ Hotel Icona. Retail: It's A Breeze, West End Garage, Just 4 Wheels, Whales Tale & Splash. Media: Jazz Times Magazine / WCFA-LP / WRTI FM / WURD AM/ WBGO FM. Community. Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cape May / Cape May Music Festival / Flying Fish Studio / Sea Star Boutique / A Place on Earth / Patricia Jackson Jewelers / Linen Ladies.
January 4th, 2015
November 30th, 2014
by joel roberts
The summer crowds may be long gone from Cape May, the historic resort beach town at the southern tip of the Jersey Shore, but for a weekend in November each year (and a second weekend in May) the town is filled by an eager throng of jazz fans from New York, Philly and beyond for the Exit 0 Jazz Festival. This year's festival (Nov. 7th-9th) kicked off on Friday night with The Cookers, the allstar group of jazz veterans featuring Donald Harrison, Billy Harper and Eddie Henderson, at the event's main venue, Convention Hall, which sits directly on the Cape May boardwalk. Unfortunately for many fans coming from out of town, the early start time, 6:30 pm, made for late arrivals and only a brief peek at the hard-hitting band. Any disgruntlement, however, was soon appeased by singer René Marie. Backed by a stellar quartet that she gave plenty of room to roam, Marie performed a focused, intense set drawn mostly from her recent tribute to Eartha Kitt. Eschewing imitation of Kitt's highly distinctive style (save for a purring spoken intro to Kitt's trademark "I Wanna Be Evil"), Marie tackled tunes associated with the late singer/actress, including "C'est Si Bon", "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" and "Peel Me a Grape", which Marie turned into an uproarious and commanding anthem of female empowerment. A forceful stage presence, when she sings the line, "When I say do it, jump to it", you know she means business. Marie, who doesn't shy away from disclosing her personal struggles and demons, closed her engaging set with some as-yet-unrecorded original compositions, including the heartrending "Go Home" and uplifting "Blessings".
Saturday night's early headliner was the young New Orleans-born phenom (and New York resident of several years) Jon Batiste and his band Stay Human. An accomplished pianist and singer and member of one of the Crescent City's most esteemed musical families, Batiste performs mostly traditional tunes drawn from the New Orleans canon, but with an entirely modern attitude. Above all, he's an entertainer with tons of charisma and obvious crossover appeal- something jazz sorely needs. He opened his eclectic show with, of all things, a solo piano version of "The Star Spangled Banner", played with dramatic classical and Gershwin-esque flourishes, which quickly established the Juilliard-trained artist's pianistic bonafides. After that, he brought his band (saxophone, tuba, electric guitar, drums) onstage for thoroughly deconstructed and unpredictable readings of classic
fare like Jelly Roll Morton's "New Orleans Blues" and Scott Joplin's ragtime classic "The Entertainer", which delved into free jazz territory. By the set's end, Batiste was leading his band and the audience on a swinging second line through the hall, a fitting and ecstatic conclusion to a memorable performance.
Veteran pianist Monty Alexander followed with his Harlem-Kingston Express-a jazz trio set up to the leader's right and a reggae quartet to his left. The band alternates between the two styles, often within a single tune, playing separately, or, somewhat too infrequently, together. Between anecdotes about how he was discovered in the early '60s by Frank Sinatra while playing in a Miami club frequented by gangsters, Alexander delivered an energetic set that reached its pinnacle in a rousing version of Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry". Still, fans longing to hear more of
Alexander's celebrated straightahead jazz piano chops were left wanting.
Besides the headliners, the festival featured a wide variety of jazz, blues and funk acts in the clubs along Beach Avenue. Aleathea's, a restaurant in a stately Victorian hotel, hosted an overflow afternoon crowd for a winning set by the Aaron Parks piano trio, with bassist Ben Street and the great drummer Billy Hart. New York stalwart Johnny O'Neal brought his vintage swing and bebop piano and vocals to the same venue for an entertaining late-night show. Some unexpected highlights included the Feedel Band, a brass-heavy group of Ethiopian musicians playing Fela Kutiinspired
Afrobeat in the Boiler Room, a club in the basement of the historic Congress Hall hotel; and a fine straightahead quartet led by a pair of Rowan University jazz educators, guitarist Brian Betz and baritone saxophonist Denis DiBlasio.
While some more afternoon events and slightly more adventurous programming would be welcome, the Exit 0 festival is a great destination for metro New York jazz fans looking for a weekend getaway. Cape May is a manageable, walkable town with excellent restaurants, charming Victorian architecture and, on at least two weekends a year, some great jazz.
© richard conde photography