One block from Tarrytown Music Hall, another venue, the Jazz Forum, has made a name for itself as Westchester’s only dedicated jazz club. The club just celebrated its second anniversary.
Jazz Forum is an 85-seat venue offering patrons an intimate experience with internationally renowned jazz artists year-round, featuring two sets Friday and Saturday nights and two Sunday shows.
“We are elated by the reception and appreciation of performers and patrons,” said Executive Director, Mark Morganelli.
Morganelli and his partner/wife, Ellen Prior, greet incoming guests who enjoy amenities including a lounge with a vintage pool table. Morganelli regales visitors with 40 years of stories about artists he has presented. The lounge also has eclectic details including throne chairs from Dobbs Ferry’s South Presbyterian Church.
Inside, the club features a hand-crafted walnut bar, a rotating exhibit of original works by area visual artists, and an extensive bar menu including Italian wines that Morganelli and Prior selected during the club’s two-year construction. An informal dinner menu developed and prepared by the club’s chef includes entrées, homemade desserts, salads, Italian cheeses and charcuterie.
The club operates as a signature program of the non-profit Jazz Forum Arts. Morganelli and Prior are the first to acknowledge that the club’s success is due in large part to the support of their community of patrons, some of whom have followed the couple since they put on free jazz concerts in Manhattan’s Riverside Park over 30 years ago.
The club was launched with a three-year grant from New York-Presbyterian along with ArtsWestchester and other corporate and governmental funds. As an extraordinary expression of the commitment and appreciation of patrons, the club opened with donations from nearly 70 “Charter Donors” beginning nearly a year before the club opened. Individual donors have also become members (and special campaign donors) since that time.
The Jazz Forum recently took a remarkable and risky step celebrating its second anniversary by acquiring a new seven-foot Steinway Grand Piano on loan from Steinway & Sons. Individual donors funded the purchase, and this incomparable instrument has hailed the club “one of the best in the world” per many renowned jazz artists.
To achieve its mission, Jazz Forum Arts is devoted to the presentation, appreciation, and understanding of jazz as a distinctly American art form. The organization will present 34 free outdoor concerts in Westchester this summer, including the 20th anniversary of the Dobbs Ferry Summer Music Series and 10th anniversary of Sunset Jazz at Lyndhurst.
Clara Winder, Jazz Forum’s marketing manager, explained, “The mission of the club is to offer affordably priced tickets (generally $20-$30 per person) while presenting the highest caliber jazz artists — such as the late Roy Hargrove, Catherine Russell, John Pizzarelli, Bill Charlap, and most recently, David Sanborn — often to sold-out shows. Mark is able to bring highly celebrated artists to Tarrytown based on his 40 years of relationships and good will. We are thrilled to be part of this exceptional gift to the Rivertowns and New York metropolitan area.” For more information, visit: jazzforumarts.org.