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Jazz & Culinary Notes: Pianists, Guitarists, Saxophones and Cupcakes, All Close to Home

Some of you may have noted infrequent postings of late, but my excuse was that I was attempting to take a vacation. I didn't plan an ordinary holiday - the kind that requires packing a suitcase and going somewhere, but I did feel a need to be less busy for awhile. The plan failed. One of my dogs got sick, and my spouse was in Argentina. The little guy is better now, and the spouse is home, but the sweet aging terrier and the vet had me scurrying around the neighborhood most of the last two weeks for special foods and supplies. I coped with this unpredicted development by spending some time with friends, watching the American Ballet Theatre Gala, seeing the Aernout Mik exhibit at MoMA, visiting the Jazz & Sketch night uptown, waiting for the First Couple to come out of Blue Hill, lounging in Times Square, shopping for summer clothes (mostly at UNIQLO), taking pictures of sad bicycles, and getting my hair done (Sam Brocato, formerly Oscar Bond, on Wooster). The rest of the time was spent in dog land, mostly at the park. Not so bad, really.

Walking around the Village while on errands, I glanced at posters in the club windows and couldn't believe how many amazing musicians are lined up for gigs in the neighborhood. Gato Barbieri, for real, at the Blue Note? And then Ute Lemper a few days after at Le Poisson Rouge? People may complain that Greenwich Village isn't the same as it was, and of course that's true in many respects, but we have serious jazz here, and I don't need to walk far to enjoy it.

MUSIC CALENDAR NOTES

Here's just a sampling of some musical events in or near my Village neighborhood in the coming week. Please visit the website links included here to survey their extensive music calendars. Though the city has lost its JVC Jazz Fest, the music still plays.

• Through June 7. Guillermo Klein y Los Guachos. Argentine pianist based in Barcelona and his ensemble play at the Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Avenue. http://villagevanguard.com/

• Thursday, June 4. Bill Sims, Jr. and Chaney Simms. Terra Blues, 149 Bleecker St. http://www.terrablues.com/

• Friday, June 5 - Sunday, June 7. Gato Barbieri, tenor saxophone. Blue Note, 131 W. 3rd St. http://www.bluenote.net/newyork/index.shtml

• Saturday, June 6. Brazilian Bossa Jazz on Saturday Nights at Zinc Bar, 82 West 3rd Street. Featuring Marianni: Sultry Sounds of Bossa. http://www.zincbar.com/

• Sunday, June 7. Every Sunday. Klezmer Brunch, City Winery, 155 Varick St. Tickets: $10, children 13 and under free. http://www.citywinery.com/

• Sunday, June 7. Todd Sickafoose’s Tiny Resistors at 55 Bar, 55 Christopher St. 9:30 p.m. Free. http://55bar.com/

• Monday, June 8. Ari Hoenig Group "Punkbop" at Smalls, 183 W. 10th St. Tickets: $20. 10:30 p.m. and midnight. http://smallsjazzclub.com/

• Tuesday, June 9. Ute Lemper plays Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St. http://lepoissonrouge.com/

See many more jazz event and club listings at gothamjazz.com

CUPCAKES & CULINARY NOTES

Street vendors of the creative variety are increasingly trolling the streets of Gotham. Today, I visited the first day of the CupcakeStop Truck, a high-end cupcake mobile that was parked on Fifth Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets. http://www.cupcakestop.com/

Also, while out and about the last two weeks, I gathered some formal and informal dining notes:
• Good black bean burritos at Doja (14 W. 4th St.).
• Split an appetizer and entree at Lure Fish Bar (142 Mercer St.) for economical fine dining.
• Martini at the Temple Bar (332 Lafayette St), as only they can make them. Convenient break from pressing dog errands, as it's next to Happy Paws.
• Breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien, corner of Fifth Avenue and 8th St.
• LaGuardia Place, the name for the blocks of West Broadway from Washington Square South to Houston Street, is home to several good restaurants. I enjoyed shrimp avocado rolls at the reliable Marumi, an affordable prix-fixe breakfast at Favela Cubana, and Cashew Chicken at Rhong Tiam.
• A wonderful chicken taco from the Calexico truck on Wooster and Prince St.
• Special Pondicherry extra spicy dosa at NY Dosa, a truck parked on Washington Square South.
• A mini red velvet cupcake at the Cupcake Truck.
• There are also rumors of the impending roll-out of A Big Gay Ice Cream Truck.

So, obviously, it's possible to eat well in New York no matter what's taking place, even from a truck, and to listen to world-class live music without venturing north of 14th Street.

Images by Walking Off the Big Apple. I'm coming back, slowly but surely. Some reviews of museum exhibitions are in the works, and I'm feeling a special extended walk coming on.









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