66 Park Ave
New York, 10016
Hours: Wed-Sat 5p-12mid
Subway: 4,5,6,7,S to Grand Central
Written by: Mark Osborne
“Location, location, location” is the mantra of the real estate business; however at this Park Avenue jazz location, the mantra becomes “intimate, intimate, intimate.”
Located in a mezzanine above the lobby of The Kitano Hotel, this unheralded jazz venue dedicates itself to providing quality jazz performances to a small, but loyal, group of jazz followers.
A list of those who have, or are slated to perform at The Kitano, reads like a who’s who of contemporary jazz players; most of whom have played with legends such as Freddie Hubbard, Wynton Marsalis, Benny Carter and Randy Brecker. Better yet, the performances are free Wednesday and Thursday, with a small cover charge on the weekends.
The stage is nestled into a corner of the room and surrounded by a random order of small tables and chairs. Seating at the small bar also gives customers a view of the proceedings. A small crew of waitpersons keeps the customers satisfied; but it’s not the food and drink that attracts, it’s the quality of the performances.
The booking manager, Gino Moratti, approaches his mission of providing loyal aficionados with great jazz by way of an almost evangelical zeal. A jazz pianist himself he prides himself on providing his players with the “best sounding piano in New York,” having it tuned three times a week to ensure the integrity of the sound.
The Kitano continues in the rich tapestry of jazz history; the tradition of salon style performances where every breath and every note has meaning and resonance. This Park Avenue jewel is a splendor that needs to be experienced, not just for jazz savants, but for all fans of great music.