The pandemic has sadly killed some local performing arts productions, but the people behind Jazzville Palm Springs wouldn’t let the concert series, which honors Palm Springs’ historic jazz scene, go smoothly on this good night.
Jazzville Palm Springs celebrated its return on July 1 to a brand new venue: the revamped concert series takes place every Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Cascade Lounge in Agua Caliente Palm Springs.
âJazzville is four years old and has had a number of different venues, but none as illustrious as the Cascade Lounge,â said Adam Levy, executive producer of Jazzville. âI had been backstage helping founders Mark Alan and Barry Martin realize their vision, and by chance we connected during the pandemic when I heard Jazzville was likely to be gone. The pandemic really messed up Jazzville – and I wanted to keep the vision alive.
âWe were exploring different places and I ran into former colleagues that I knew when I was working at Agua Caliente as an advertising manager. They asked about the Jazzville show and other events that I had produced in the past, and they seemed interested and everything went well.
Levy said it became evident when the first shows went on sale that audiences were eager to see Jazzville return.
âSome were from LA, Orange County and, of course, Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley,â Levy said.
Barry Martin, also known as DJ Baz, is the co-founder of Jazzville.
âWhat we’re doing is supporting a culture that’s over 100 years old now, and some people just have to take it upon themselves to keep this art form alive,â Martin said. âMusicians do it on their own, but they need places to play and audiences to play for, and that’s where Jazzville comes in.
In the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, Palm Springs was home to one of the West Coast’s most popular jazz clubs, Chi Chi, which featured performances by Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, and Sophie Tucker, among others.
âI read an article, in an old issue of Life in Palm Springs, about Irwin Schuman and the Chi Chi club, âsaid Martin. âThey could entertain 700 people on that stage, and anyone who was anyone was playing on that stage. It all goes back to reading this article because this was the first thought that occurred to me, and I was wondering why Palm Springs didn’t have something like this.
This thought led to the first iteration of Jazzville, in Oscar’s Palm Springs.
âOne night I saw that this indoor cabaret room was not in use,â Martin said. âThere was a nice red velvet curtain, and the acoustics were nice, and I’m like, ‘Let’s do something.’ The owner, Dan, agreed and gave me Wednesday evenings.
The Chi Chi was located on Palm Canyon Drive, near Andreas Road.
âIt was the hottest nightclub west of the Mississippi for about 18 years,â Martin said. âNo one could touch it, and anyone who was anyone wanted to play it. All the black jazz singers who couldn’t find work in LA and other states were still playing at Irwin’s club. They also had bawdy burlesque shows that couldn’t be performed anywhere else at the time. Palm Springs used to bring the true cabaret-jazz style and the big show, and kept it alive for many years after jazz began to enter the bebop era. Chi Chi kept primitive jazz alive, and it was such a huge, phenomenal, world famous place, so we take all of our inspiration from the style of club Chi Chi.
Jazzville moved from Oscar’s to Hotel Zozo, then to Wang’s in the Desert, before making the Cascade Lounge its current home. Levy said the biggest challenge for producers has been continuous improvement.
âJazzville has always been an event where we tried to really honor the traditions of Palm Springs and the culture of jazz music, primarily the Chi Chi Club,â said Levy. âThe pressure we have here really takes our production values ââand our new site to the next level. It’s something we’ve been more eager to do than ever, and in this new venue we’re able to incorporate pre-show multimedia presentations – a pre-roll of vintage videos, tours, music videos. Palm Springs in the 1950s, excerpts from Frank Sinatra, etc. We even had showgirls handing out candy cigarettes. The only squeeze, really, is just dazzling and dazzling on a consistent basis. “
While Jazzville is committed to honoring the history of the valley, its producers are also keen to show jazz music to a younger audience.
âOne thing we want to say loud and clear is that Jazzville is not your parents’ jazz show,â Levy said. âThe bands that perform are younger than me and I’m in my mid-thirties. It’s something that has always had a place in the hearts of musicians and aficionados, and what we do is bring that culture to Palm Springs and make it fashionable again. We have a lot of young people coming in, and (one of the first shows coming back) about 50% of the venue was in their 20s. I feel like what we’re trying to accomplish here translates into the demographics of rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly, and even metal. When you listen to heavy metal, the playing techniques are the same in jazz music. We try to spread awareness of not only the music, but all the vibe and culture that Palm Springs brings by creating this experience. You can watch jazz anywhere for free, but we try to give you the live, and I feel like this is really our biggest mission.
Martin said jazz music has always been trendy.
âIt’s the audience that is no longer in fashion, so we have to make them trendy again,â Martin said. âJazz was the only music people listened to; there was nothing else on the radio. Everything came from jazz, R&B, soul and pop. It’s the start of everything, and it has a very illustrious history. There are a lot of styles of jazz, so we focus on everything that is perfectly in the middle. We don’t do lazy jazz, and we don’t do loud, crazy jazz.
âWe did a Jazzville at The Abbey in West Hollywood, and Lady Gaga was in the audience for that show. We had a nice little gypsy jazz trio on a beautiful Sunday afternoon outside the abbey, and the abbey is now interested in what’s going on there regularly.
The management of Agua Caliente Palm Springs liked what they saw at Jazzville’s first two shows at the Cascade Lounge.
“I kind of expected an older and retired crowd to be there, and I was very pleasantly surprised to see that almost half of the crowd was made up of young couples. and young people who were in their late twenties and early thirties, âsaid Stephenie Streiff. Process, Director of Marketing at Agua Caliente Palm Springs. “It’s heartening to see a younger generation fall in love or continue to love what is truly America’s most unique art form.”
Martin said the Cascade Lounge is a great fit for Jazzville.
âIt was the only room in Palm Springs that I really wanted,â said Martin. âThere’s no other room in Palm Springs like this when it comes to seating, comfort, room look and feel, service, stage and lights, staff and everything. It was either about building something from scratch or going into that space – and when that came up I was thrilled. “
Martin said he is proud to continue the proud history of Palm Springs jazz.
âOur mission is to make more jazz lovers among the people who would love jazz if they only went to one show,â Martin said.
Jazzville Palm Springs takes place every Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Cascade Lounge, inside Agua Caliente Palm Springs, 401 E. Amado Road. Tickets start at $ 10. Upcoming shows include the Sandra Booker Quintet on July 22 and the Luke Carlsen Big Band on July 29. For tickets or more information, visit www.jazzvillepalmsprings.com.