Benny Green Trio

Benny Green Trio – Friday April 18th – Doors 7:30pm Show 8:30pm   860-434-0886*

Benny Green possesses the history of jazz at his fingertips. Combine mastery of keyboard technique with decades of real world experience playing with no one less than the most celebrated artists of the last half century, and it’s no wonder Green has been hailed as perhaps the most exciting hard-swinging, hard-bop pianist to ever emerge from Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.

For this historic Sunnyside release, Magic Beans, Green crafted ten new pieces performed by his working trio. Remarkably, this release marks Benny’s first self-produced trio recording of all original compositions in a career that spans decades: notably as a star sideman with Betty Carter, Art Blakey, Freddie Hubbard, and Ray Brown and culminating in over 20 years as a leader himself.

Born in New York in 1963, Benny Green grew up in Berkeley, California, and began classical piano studies at the age of seven. Influenced by his father, a tenor saxophonist, his attention soon turned to Jazz: “I began trying to improvise on the piano, imitating the records I’d been hearing from my father’s collection, which included a lot of Monk and Bird… it was a gradual process of teaching myself”.

In 2000, his debut recording on Telarc Jazz entitled Naturally was released, which featured bassist Christian McBride and guitarist Russell Malone. In 2001, Green’s Blues, a solo piano date and in 2003 Jazz at the Bistro (Telarc), a duo recording Malone, followed by Bluebird (2004) again pairing Green with Malone. A hiatus from recording produced Benny’s 2011 trio date, Source (JLP).

Benny Green Trio – Friday April 18th – Doors 7:30pm – Show 8:30pm  860-434-0886

*tickets are non-refundable – $10 food and beverage minimum not included in cover.


Marcus Strickland Quartet

MARCUS STRICKLAND QUARTET – Saturday April 19th – Doors 7:30pm Show 8:30pm*      860-434-0886

“Marcus Strickland has started to turn heads in the most thriving but most competitive jazz scene on the planet …his tone: liquid and luminous, yet forceful and exact.” -Thomas Conrad (JazzTimes Magazine). Marcus is joined by David Bryant – piano, Linda Oh - bass and E.J. Strickland – drums!

With a professional career that has just passed the ten year mark, Strickland’s influential sound, distinguished body of work, impressive set of credentials and steady acknowledgement from every credible jazz critic since emerging on the scene has earned him a rightful place alongside the very best narrators of modern jazz. Growing up in a household which encouraged the arts, Strickland’s musical palette had been vast long before his professional endeavors. The Miami native graduated from New York’s esteemed New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music; a breeding ground for many who would become today’s most relevant figures in jazz.

Strickland has a covetable list of recording and performing credits, having collaborated with Wynton Marsalis, Tom Harrell, and Dave Douglas, but Strickland’s longest and most impressionable working relationships include two of the most influential drummers ever to play the instrument: Roy Haynes and Jeff “Tain” Watts. Strickland was still attending college when jazz master Roy Haynes asked him to join his Fountain of Youth band. Strickland held the tenor spot for five years before joining Watts; a drummer who is without question at least in-part responsible for ushering in this generation of successors.

There’s a quote from Art Blakey that just says, ‘Leave the band alone,’ Strickland emphasizes, through an abundance of hearty laughter. “He’s referring to his leading style. You know, don’t tell them how to play! And it’s very important. I want everybody to feel good. I want the band especially to feel good so the music can feel good, and the audience can feel good. I want there to be room for a party. So I write like that, I lead like that.”

Strickland’s critics are listening, too. Over the last five years, Strickland has held some of the most prestigious positions in the realm of jazz journalism: Rising Star on Soprano Saxophone in Downbeat’s 2012 Critic’s Poll Rising Star on Tenor Saxophone in Downbeat’s 2010 Critic’s Poll, Rising Star on Soprano Saxophone in Downbeat’s 2008 Critic’s Poll and Best New Artist in JazzTimes’ 2006 Reader’s Poll. For Strickland, the blueprint for triumph is based on one main principle, “As long as you’re honest, I think nobody can mess with that. I think that’s essential to being an artist… to be yourself. Really expose what’s inside of you, try to put that out there in a very creative and beautiful way that people can enjoy. My whole goal is to make enjoyable music with great depth, and touch as many people as I can with it. That’s all I want to do.”

MARCUS STRICKLAND QUARTET – Saturday April 19th – Doors 7:30pm Show 8:30pm*      860-434-0886 - tickets are non refundable – $10 food/bev minimum not incl. in cover.


Ali Ryerson Quintet

Ali Ryerson Quintet – Friday April 25th – 7:30pm doors, 8:30pm show – 860-434-0886*

Ali will be joined by Mike DeMicco, Mark Egan, Pete Levin and Karl Latham.

With a career spanning over four decades, jazz flutist Ali Ryerson consistently ranks high among the top jazz flutists in the Downbeat Jazz Poll and has been nominated as Jazz Flutist of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association. Ali performs, records and teaches internationally, having toured the US, Canada, Europe, Japan, New Zealand and North Africa.

Her concert performances range from Carnegie Hall, London’s Ronnie Scott’s, to the Blue Note in New York and Japan. Festival appearances include the Monterey Jazz Festival, Miami Beach Jazz Festival, and Ireland’s Guinness Jazz Festival, to name a few. Ryerson has released close to 20 albums on major jazz labels such as Concord Records, DMP, Capri, and legendary jazz producer Bob Thiele’s Red Baron.

She has recorded and performed with jazz greats Kenny Barron, Frank Wess, Joe Beck, Mike Mainieri, Roy Haynes, Danny Gottlieb, Red Rodney, Stephane Grappelli, and Art Farmer, as well as classical artists Julius Baker and Luciano Pavarotti (while principal flutist with the Monterey Bay Orchestra). Musical director of the Hudson River Regional Jazz Festival (2001-’04), Jazz chair of the National Flute Association (2005-’10), and founder of the NFA Jazz Flute Big Band, Ryerson is the author of a highly acclaimed book, the Jazz Flute Practice Method.

Ms. Ryerson conducts master classes worldwide, has been on the faculty of the Litchfield Jazz Camp, the IJAM JAZZ summer camp in Italy, and is a visiting faculty member at The Jazzschool in Berkeley, California. Ryerson studied flute with Harold Bennett (NY Metropolitan Orch) and John Wion (NYC Opera Orch) and is a cum laude graduate of the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford. A Gemeinhardt Artist with an Autograph Series of flutes she helped design, Ali’s 2013 CD release, Game Changer – The Ali Ryerson Jazz Flute Big Band (Capri Records), features guest soloist Hubert Laws. It hit the ‘TOP 10’ on the US Jazz Charts for six straight weeks. See for more details.

See you on April 25th we hope!

*tickets are non refundable – $10 food/bev minimum not incl. in cover.


The Curtis Brothers

The Curtis Brothers – Saturday April 26th – Doors 7:30pm, Show 8:30pm – 860-434-0886

Brothers Luques (bass) and Zaccai (piano) Curtis are two of the most in-demand rhythm section players on the jazz scene today. Their ability to weave in and out of Latin jazz and “straight ahead” jazz styles set them apart from the average player. Their ensembles include the 7 piece band “Insight,” primarily categorized under Latin Jazz, and “Completion of Proof” is their straight ahead Jazz ensemble featuring Donald Harrison, Ralph Peterson and Brian Lynch. Their most experimental group is their quartet known as “The Curtis Brothers Quartet” (also known as CBQ), where they integrate many genres and styles.

The Curtis Brothers formed a quartet with two incredibly talented and creative percussionists, Richie Barshay (known for his work with Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea) and Reinaldo De Jesus (known for his work with Miguel Zenon and Dispatch/Braddigan). After years of practice, rehearsal and development, their unique voice began to take shape and gain recognition worldwide. From performing in New York clubs to touring the states, CBQ gained opportunities to travel abroad. From India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives to Puerto Rico, Cuba and more.

They have performed with some of the greatest Latin Jazz legends alive such as, Andy Gonzalez, Donald Harrison, Papo Vazquez, Hilton Ruiz, Ray Vega, Brian Lynch, Mitch Frohman to name a few. In 2005 they were honored to have been personally selected by Ray Barretto, Bruce Barth and Hilton Ruiz,  for the U.S. state department’s “American Music Abroad (Jazz Ambassadors) Program.” The CBQ then released 2 CDs that have made their mark in the Jazz and Latin Jazz community. The Curtis Brothers are currently signed to the Indie record label, “Truth Revolution Records” and plan to release their next album in 2014.


The Cookers w/Billy Harper, George Cables, Eddie Henderson, Billy Hart

THE COOKERS – Friday May 2nd – 860-434-0886 – doors 7:30pm Show 8:30pm*

Experience counts, especially in jazz. The more time musicians spend interpreting tunes and interacting with others, the more articulation an audience can expect. You can hear the fruits of such work in the expressive language The Cookers bring to the bandstand and to their three critically acclaimed recordings, Warriors, Cast the First Stone and Believe.

This exciting new all-star septet summons up an aggressive mid ‘60s spirit with a potent collection of expansive post-bop originals marked by all the requisite killer instincts and pyrotechnic playing expected of some of the heaviest hitters on the scene today.

Billy Harper, Cecil McBee, George Cables, Eddie Henderson, and Billy Hart all came up in the heady era of the mid ‘60s. It was a period that found the dimensions of hard bop morphing from their original designs, and each of these guys helped facilitate the process as members of some of the most important bands of the era. Hart and Henderson were members of Herbie Hancock’s groundbreaking Mwandishi group; Cecil McBee anchored Charles Lloyd’s great ’60s quartet alongside Keith Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette; Billy Harper was part of Lee Morgan’s last group, as well as being a member of Max Roach’s Quartet and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers; while George Cables held down the piano chair in numerous bands including groups led by Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Dexter Gordon and Art Pepper.

David Weiss and Craig Handy, from a more recent generation and the youngest members of the band,are experts in this forthright lingo, having gained experience performing with Bobby Hutcherson, Freddie Hubbard, Charles Tolliver, Roy Haynes and Herbie Hancock.

Each member of the Cookers has spent time leading his own series of groups as well, and each has a keenly individual sound. But it’s the unmistakable power of teamwork that makes this music so commanding and resonates with a kind of depth and beauty that speaks of the seasoned track record of its principals.

THE COOKERS – Friday May 2nd – 860-434-0886 – doors 7:30pm Show 8:30pm*

*tickets are non-refundable – $10 food/bev minimum not incl. in cover.


Steve Wilson Wilsonians Grain Quartet

STEVE WILSON, Alto & Soprano Saxophones brings his “Wilsonian’s Grain” quartet to The Side Door on Saturday May  860-434-0886*

Highly regarded as a musician’s musician, Steve Wilson has brought his distinctive sound to more than 100 recordings and ensembles led by such celebrated artists as Chick Corea, Ron Carter, Christian McBride, George Duke, Michael Brecker, Dianne Reeves, Bill Bruford, Gerald Wilson, Maria Schneider, Joe Henderson, Charlie Byrd, Karrin Allyson, and Don Byron among many others.

Arriving in New York in 1987 Wilson quickly became first-call choice for veteran and emerging artists alike, prompting a New York Times profile “A Sideman’s Life”. Since 1997 he has been regularly cited in the Downbeat Magazine Critics and Readers Polls in the soprano and alto saxophone categories. In 2008 the Jazz Journalists Association nominated him for Soprano Sax Player of the Year and in 2010 for Alto Sax Player of the Year. In February 2011, Wilson celebrated his 50th birthday with a six night engagement, leading six different bands, at Jazz Standard, NYC’s premiere jazz club. In a major interview feature preview, America’s largest newspaper THE WALL STREET JOURNAL proclaimed, “The Sideman Becomes the Star.” The WSJ article, by respected writer Larry Blumenfeld, added, “Mr. Wilson is essential to this city’s jazz landscape.”

Wilson is a respected leader of two diverse ensembles––Steve Wilson Quartet and Wilsonian’s Grain––and he is one-half of three dynamic duos, with drummer Lewis Nash, with pianist Bruce Barth as documented on their recent recording “Home” on the We Always Swing label, and also with pianist Billy Childs, and he co-leads a sublime and elegant trio with Renee Rosnes and Peter Washington.

Wilson has seven recordings under his own name, leading and collaborating with such stellar artists as Nicholas Payton, Mulgrew Miller, Rene Marie Ray Drummond, Cyrus Chestnut, Greg Hutchinson, and Ben Riley.

An in-demand and passionate educator, Wilson is an Associate Professor of Music at City College of New York, and on faculty at the Juilliard School. Please visit for more artist details:

Saturday May 3rd – 860-434-0886 *tickets are non-refundable – $10 food/bev minimum not incl. in cover


Steve Davis Quartet w/Nat Reeves & JMI All Stars

Friday May 9th - Steve Davis with Nat Reeves and Jackie Mclean Institute All Stars will be helping us to kick off the weekend celebrating our first year open!  Doors 7:30pm – Show 8:30pm* 860-434-0886

Steve Davis is widely regarded as one of today’s leading improvisers on the trombone.  His lyrical, hard-swinging style first gained him broad recognition during the 1990′s while working with the bands of jazz legends Art Blakey, Jackie McLean, Chick Corea’s Origin and the cooperative sextet, One For All. Steve has appeared in Downbeat Magazine’s Reader’s and Critic’s Polls numerous times, winning the TDWR (Rising Star) Trombone Category in 1998.  Steve was also recently nominated by The JJA as 2010 Trombonist of the Year.

Born in Worcester, MA in 1967, Steve was raised in Binghamton, NY and graduated in 1989 from The Hartt School’s Jackie McLean Institute (University of Hartford, CT).  It was Mc Lean’s guidance and recommendation that helped Davis land his first major gig with Art Blakey in NYC in Dec 1989.  Returning to Hartford in 1992, Davis joined Mc Lean’s sextet and begin teaching alongside his mentor at both the Hartt School and Artist’s Collective. Steve has resided in Hartford ever since.

Since our humble beginnings, Nat Reeves has become a friend and supporter and we are always thrilled to have him play….. In 1982 Nat moved to Hartford, Connecticut and started working with Jackie McLean, to this day the most important musical influence in his life. Nat found a calling in teaching and developed musical skills while traveling throughout the world performing and recording with Jackie and other living jazz legends, too many to list here!

Today, Nat is committed to perpetuating Jackie McLean’s legacy at The Hartt School, as well as continuing his career performing. Influenced most by bassists Sam Jones, Paul Chambers and Ron Carter, Nat is a gifted musician, who can be seen performing in every major jazz venue in the world. (

Steve and Nat will be joined by other brilliant Jackie McLean Inst. players, TBA….

Friday May 9th – Doors 7:30pm – Show 8:30pm 860-434-0886

*tickets are non-refundable – $10 food/bev minimum per person.


Our First Year Anniversary Celebration Event!! With VERY SPECIAL GUESTS!!!***

Saturday May 10th 2014 marks our very first year anniversary! Wow!

We have alot to celebrate and be thankful for! We are planning a VERY special ”birthday” celebration for our first full year of sharing incredibly talented jazz artists with you, each and every weekend for the last year! And that’s something worth celebrating!

Please come and join us for free champagne toast, hors d’oeurves, cake and celebrations – along with some VERY SPECIAL jazz virtuosos!!  Mark your calendars and be sure to get your tickets for this very special event well in advance!

(***Spoiler alert….. do LARRY CORYELL or BUSTER WILLIAMS ring a bell? Maybe JAVON JACKSON or LENNY WHITE…? Hmmmm - it’s going to be KILLING!! ;-)

Dress up, grab a friend and come enjoy a champagne toast with us. We want YOU to be there, as you have been all year!!


Rene Marie

RENE MARIE – Wednesday May 14th – Door 7:30 Show 8:30pm – 860-434-0886*

René Marie – singer, actress, writer. Eartha Kitt – singer, actress, writer. Never before has there been a vocal recording tipping the hat to the divine Ms. Kitt and her fiery, sensual and clever interpretations of songs. With her incredible range of vocal ability, her powerful emotional resonance and strong independent streak, René is the right artist to conceive of this historic project, out November 12 on the adventurous, multi-Grammy®-nominated label Motéma Music. “I Wanna Be Evil” (With Love to Eartha Kitt) is René’s third recording for the label and her 10th career album.

Eartha Kitt’s daughter Kitt Shapiro, who maintains her mother’s legacy via and the company Simply Eartha, expressed her appreciation. “It’s wonderful that such a talented artist like René Marie has recorded the first tribute album to my mother, helping to keep her memory and spirit alive. These classic songs deserve to be heard and loved by all generations”.

This brilliantly entertaining album burnishes René’s reputation as the most provocative risk-taker among today’s jazz divas. Featuring star turns by trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, trumpeter Etienne Charles and Australia’s Adrian Cunningham on saxophone, clarinet and flute, I Wanna Be Evil opens with a cackle of mischief.

See – or read: Downbeat Review:

RENE MARIE – Wednesday May 14th – Door 7:30 Show 8:30pm – 860-434-0886

*tickets are non-refundable – $10 food/bev minimum not incl. in cover.


Sachal Vasandani Trio

Sachal Vasandani Trio – Fri May 16th Doors 7:30 Show 8:30 –  860-434-0886*

Signed to Mack Avenue Records in 2006, Vasandani was born in Chicago and grew up in a household where all kinds of music were appreciated. His parents listened to a variety of jazz, from Duke Ellington to Keith Jarrett, which piqued his curiosity. In pursuing his love for music at the University of Michigan, he began to be recognized as a talent of the future, most notably by DownBeat magazine, which awarded him Collegiate Jazz Vocalist of the year in 1999.

After moving to New York, Vasandani quickly became a part of the jazz scene, and made a musical home in storied clubs like the Zinc Bar. He was also tapped for a number of guest performances and recordings, notably by the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Wycliffe Gordon, Eric Reed, T.S. Monk, and countless other peer and mentor musicians.

After Vasandani’s break-through debut recording, he toured extensively supporting Eyes Wide Open. He opened for such disparate artists from jazz trumpeter Chris Botti to pop singer Joan Osborne, garnering respect from a diverse spectrum of audiences. “I played in the US as well as overseas,” he says. “I played at jazz festivals as well eclectic venues, and it was humbling to see people with different backgrounds and tastes respond to what I do.”

If Sachal Vasandani has a trademark, it’s his vocal tone. Clean and clear, it glides with an accessible assurance.” – DownBeat

“Sachal Vasandani is a dozen years Kurt Elling’s junior, and that gap serves him well: He’s young enough to have absorbed plenty about the art of jazz singing from his fellow Chicagoan, yet mature enough to use such influences solely as guideposts as he shapes his own distinctive sound. Now, three albums in, he makes the leap from promising to fully formed, firmly establishing himself among the foremost post-millennial male vocalists.” JazzTimes

Sachal Vasandani Trio – Fri May 16th Doors 7:30 Show 8:30 860-434-0886

*tickets are non-refundable – $10 food/bev minimum not incl. in cover


Ray Vega and his New York Latin Jazz All Stars

Ray Vega and his New York Latin Jazz All Stars - Saturday May 17th Doors 7:30 Show 8:30pm 860-434-0886*

A native of the South Bronx, RAY VEGA is a veteran of the bands of Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Mongo Santamaria, Mario Bauza, Luis “Perico” Ortiz, Hector LaVoe, Johnny Pacheco, Larry Harlow, Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez and Louie Ramirez to name a few.

The Ray Vega NY Latin Jazz All Stars presents fiery Latin Jazz from a Nuyorican perspective. The quintet will include: Zaccai Curtis/Piano, Andy Eulau/Bass, Willie Martinez/Drums, Chembo Corniel/ Congas and yours truly on trumpet, flugel and percussion. More artist details here:

Ray has performed and/or recorded with Joe Henderson, Lionel Hampton, Mel Torme, Paquito D’Rivera, Arturo Sandoval, The Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Steve Turre, Israel Lopez “Cachao”, Las Leyendas De La Fania, Pete Escovedo, The Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, Jazz at Lincoln Center Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Paul Simon, John Santos and The Machete Ensemble, Diane Schuur, The Mike Stewart Big Band, Jeanie Bryson, Eddie Palmieri, James “Jabbo” Ware and The Me, We and Them Orchestra, La Orquesta Sinfonica De Simon Bolivar, Sandro De Las Americas, The Mingus Big Band, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Bebo Valdez, and Celia Cruz, among numerous others.

Ray has now established himself as one of the innovators of the international Jazz and Latin music scenes. A multi-talented trumpeter, percussionist, composer, and arranger, he presents Jazz from a refreshingly original and contemporary perspective. His two recordings on the Concord Picante label, his self-titled debut “Ray Vega”, and “Boperation”, along with his 1st release on the Palmetto label “Pa’lante”have been well received by critics, audiences and musicians alike. Vega’s 2nd Palmetto CD “Squeeze, Squeeze” has also received critical acclaim including Four Stars in Down Beat Magazine.

Vega grew up immersed in the heart of two vibrant New York City music scenes: Jazz and Salsa. In addition to learning about these two musical styles with some of the great legends, he received his formal training studying trumpet with Sydney Baker, Henry Nowak, Mike Lawrence, Stan Shafran, Laurie Frink, Richard Brezowski and Jerry Gonzalez. He studied Jazz harmony and improvisation with Susan Winder, Bobby Rogovin and Lonnie Hillyer. Vega studied Afro-Caribbean percussion with Luis Bauzo. Vega attended The Long Island University Brooklyn Center and is a graduate of the legendary High School of Music and Art.

The Ray Vega NY Latin Jazz All Stars presents fiery Latin Jazz from a Nuyorican perspective. The quintet will be;  Zaccai Curtis/Piano, Andy Eulau/Bass, Willie Martinez/Drums, Chembo Corniel/ Congas and yours truly on trumpet, flugel and percussion.  More artist details here:

Ray Vega and his New York Latin Jazz All Stars - Saturday May 17th Doors 7:30 Show 8:30pm 860-434-0886*

*tickets are non refundable – $10 food/beverage minimum not incl. in cover.


Donald Harrisons Berklee Quintet

On Thurs May 22 – The Side Door presents Donald Harrison’s Berklee Quartet – 860-434-0886*

“Masters on the Road” is a program featuring the music of a guest master musician as the focus of a Berklee ensemble course. Coursework is led by a faculty member familiar with the artist’s music. The semester culminates in several rehearsals and performances on the road, with the guest artist leading and featured.

Alto saxophonist, faculty member, and Berklee alumnus Jim Odgren has performed with Gary Burton, Antonio Sanchez, Michael Brecker, among others. He selected and has been rehearsing students to perform with Donald Harrison.

Alto saxophonist Harrison, a 1981 Berklee alumnus, is a New Orleans-born traditionalist, a modern jazz trendsetter, a former Jazz Messenger, a nurturer of young talent, a composer, and a bandleader. A kind of Crescent City Renaissance man, Harrison has performed with a musical who’s who that includes Art Blakey, Dr. John, Digable Planets, Lena Horne, and Miles Davis, to name just a few. An artist in residence at Tulane University, Harrison’s most recent recording is “This Is Jazz: Live at the Blue Note,” with Billy Cobham and Ron Carter, and New Orleans Gumbo with Dr. John.

Donald Harrison – saxophone, Santiago Bosch – piano, Osmar Okuma – bass, Darryl Staves – drums

*tickets are non refundable – $10 food/bev minimum not incl. in cover.


Benjamin Kopell Quartet

BENJAMIN KOPELL Quartet – Friday May 23rd – Doors 7:30pm  Show 8:30pm  860-434-0886*

Benjamin played at The Side Door when we first opened last year, accompanying Kenny Werner for a two night stay – we are thrilled to welcome him back with his own quartet!

Benjamin Koppel Quartet is a collaboration between the renowned Danish alto saxophone player, brilliant pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, John Hadfield on drums/percussion and Johannes Weidenmueller on bass.

The ensemble’s repertoire revolves around French-born Jean-Michel Pilc and Benjamin Koppel’s brand new album “Illuminations” with poetic and melodic compositions based on the French poet Arthur Rimbaud’s work of the same name. The quartet’s music is based on improvisation and intuition without loosing focus on the clear compositions and melody.

Benjamin Koppel has previously toured the US and has amongst other places performed at the Blue Note Jazz Club in NYC. He has close connections with a series of leading American jazz musicians, and orchestrates his own jazz festival in Copenhagen every year as art director in collaboration with Kenny Werner.

Benjamin was at The Side Door when we first opened, accompanying Kenny Werner for a two night stay – we are thrilled to welcome him back with his own quartet!

BENJAMIN KOPELL Quartet – Friday May 23rd – Doors 7:30pm  Show 8:30pm  860-434-0886

*tickets are non-refundable – $10 food/bev minimum not incl. in cover.



JEREMY PELT Quintet – Friday May 30th – Doors 7:30pm Show 8:30pm – 860-434-0886*

Jeremy Pelt has become one of the preeminent young trumpeters within the world of jazz. Forging a bond with the Mingus Big Band very early on, as his career progressed, Pelt built upon these relationships and many others which eventually lead to collaborations with some of the genre’s greatest masters.

These projects include performances and recordings with Cliff Barbaro, Keter Betts, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Ravi Coltrane, Frank Foster, Winard Harper, Jimmy Heath, Vincent Herring, John Hicks, Charli Persip, Ralph Peterson, Lonnie Plaxico, Bobby Short, Cedar Walton, Frank Wess, Nancy Wilson and The Skatalites, to name a few.

Pelt frequently performs alongside such notable ensembles as the Roy Hargrove Big Band, The Village Vanguard Orchestra and the Duke Ellington Big Band, and is a member of the Lewis Nash Septet and The Cannonball Adderley Legacy Band featuring Louis Hayes. As a leader, Pelt has recorded ten albums and has toured globally with his various ensembles, appearing at many major jazz festivals and concert venues.

Pelt’s recordings and performances have earned him critical acclaim, both nationally and internationally. He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal by legendary jazz writer and producer, Nat Hentoff, and was voted Rising Star on the trumpet, five years in a row by Downbeat Magazine and the Jazz Journalist Association. Pelt is currently touring throughout the United States and Europe in support of his latest release, “Water And Earth” (High Note Records, January 2013).

JEREMY PELT Quintet – Friday May 30th – Doors 7:30pm Show 8:30pm – 860-434-0886

*tickets are non-refundable – $10 food/bev minimum not incl. in cover


Etienne Charles

ETIENNE CHARLES – Saturday May 31st – Doors 7:30pm Show 8:30pm  – 860-434-0886*

One of the most compelling and exciting young jazz artists ushering the genre into groundbreaking new territory is trumpeter/bandleader Etienne Charles, still in his 20s, has already recorded three impressive and well-received albums for his own Culture Shock Music imprint. His new album, Creole Soul, is a captivating journey of new jazz expression. It buoyantly taps into a myriad of styles rooted in his Afro-Caribbean background and plumbs the musical depths of the islands, from calypso to Haitian voodoo music. Also in the jazz amalgam mix are rock steady, reggae, belair, kongo and rock as well as the influence of Motown and R&B music Charles listened to on his parents’ record player when he was growing up.

“Jazz is Creole music,” says Charles who was born in Trinidad, relocated first to Florida and then New York to further his jazz studies (graduating, respectively, from Florida State’s and Juilliard’s jazz programs) and today teaches jazz trumpet at Michigan State University. “As a person in the new world, I’ve been influenced by so much music. And my family has a mixed background, with French Caribbean, Spanish and African roots as well as Venezuelan influences. I come from a fusion of rhythms, a fusion of cultures. That’s what this album is all about: focusing on soul music that is Creole at heart.”

As befitting an artist who excels with such a diversity of musical styles, Charles has performed with a range of musicians, from Roberta Flack, Rene Marie and David Rudder to Wynton Marsalis, Johnny Mandel, the Count Basie Orchestra and Maria Schneider. He also worked with jazz masters Frank Foster and Benny Golson.

The New York Times calls Charles an auteur who is “one of [jazz's] more ambitious soloists and composers,” JazzTimes applauds him as a “daring improviser” and DownBeat celebrates his tone as “melodically captivating” and “rhythmically agile” that makes his music “immediately pleasing.” Visit: for more details.

ETIENNE CHARLES – Saturday May 31st – Doors 7:30pm Show 8:30pm  – 860-434-0886

*tickets are non-refundable – $10 food/bev minimum not incl. in cover




Chris Flory Quartet

Chris Flory Quartet – Friday June 6th – Doors  7:30pm Show 8:30pm 860-434-0886*

We welcome Chris back to The Side Door along with his quartet – Larry Ham, piano; Lee Hudson, bass; & Tom Mellito, drums.

Chris Flory played his first gig at the age of thirteen and continued playing in rock and blues bands until his late teens. He took his first jazz guitar lessons from Tiny Grimes, in Harlem, when he was seventeen. He continued studying jazz with another New York teacher for most of that year, but did not start playing jazz professionally until he was twenty and living in Providence, RI. He first led his own group there and then joined tenor player Scott Hamilton’s quartet. That group temporarily disbanded in the summer of 1976 when Scott and Chris made their separate ways to New York.

Chris released his first recording as leader in 1990. In this same period he began to tour Europe under his own name and as a sideman with other bandleaders. Chris has had a lengthy association with the stride pianist Judy Carmichael, begun in 1986. As a part of her group, he has made several recordings, done extensive concert tours of the U.S., and played for the U.S. State Department in China and Singapore. In recent years, Chris has played clubs and festivals with Judy in Europe and Brazil. He has also done numerous tours of the UK, both as a leader and a sideman, including playing twice at the Norwich Jazz Party. His most recent CD for Arbors (2012) is The Chris Flory Quintet Featuring Scott Hamilton, with Larry Ham on piano. (see

Chris Flory Quartet – Friday June 6th – Doors  7:30pm Show 8:30pm 860-434-0886

*tickets are non-refundable – $10 food/bev minimum not incl. in cover. 



CLIFTON ANDERSON Quartet – Saturday June 7th – Doors 7:30  Show 8:30  860-434-0886*

Clifton Anderson was born on October 5, 1957 in Harlem, New York City. He grew up surrounded by music. His father was a church organist /choir director, and his mother a singer and pianist. It was no surprise that Clifton exhibited an affinity for music at an early age. When he was just seven years old he got his first trombone, a gift from his uncle Sonny Rollins.

Clifton attended the prestigious Fiorello LaGuardia High School of Music and Art.  He continued his education at the Manhattan School of Music, and graduated in 1978 with a Bachelor of Music degree. At The Manhattan School, he studied under the renowned Metropolitan Opera trombonist John Clark. There he also met and befriended talented musicians like Angela Bofill and the late Kenny Kirkland.

By his senior year at Manhattan he had established himself as one of the young “in demand” trombonists in New York.  It was around that time that Slide Hampton formed the original “World of Trombones”, the group that would become the standard by which all jazz trombone choirs were measured. The group included Janice Robinson, Steve Turre, Earl McIntyre, Clifford Adams, Doug Purviance, Papo Vazquez, and Clifton along with residencies from Curtis Fuller, Britt Woodman and Benny Powell. Later additions to the prestigious trombone choir included Robin Eubanks, Clarence Banks, Frank Lacy, Conrad Herwig, Bob Trowers Garfield Fobbs and Malion Walker.

Clifton has worked with a “who’s who” of diverse musical giants: from Frank Foster, McCoy Tyner, Clifford Jordan, Stevie Wonder, Dizzy Gillespie, Merv Griffin and The Mighty Sparrow to Lester Bowie, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Paul Simon, Terumasa Hino, Keith Richards, Muhal Richard Abrams, WyClef Jean, Geri Allen, T.S. Monk, Charlie Haden, Slide Hampton and Wallace Roney among others.   We are thrilled to welcome him to The Side Door in June!

CLIFTON ANDERSON Quartet – Saturday June 7th – Doors 7:30  Show 8:30  860-434-0886

*tickets are non-refundable – $10 food/bev minimum not incl. in cover.



DIANE SCHUUR At The Side Door! Wed June 11th – Doors 7:30pm, Show 8:30pm – 860-434-0886*

Long regarded as one of Contemporary Jazz’s leading vocalists, Diane Schuur is as eclectic as she is brilliant. Born in Tacoma, Washington in 1953, Schuur was blind from birth; but she was gifted with perfect pitch and initially taught herself piano by ear. She later received formal piano training at The Washington State School for the Blind, which she attended until she was 11 years of age.

Nicknamed “Deedles” as a child, she grew up surrounded by the world of Jazz embraced by both of her parents: Her father was an amateur pianist, and her mother kept a formidable collection of Duke Ellington and Dinah Washington albums in her home. Not surprisingly, Dinah Washington is often listed as Schuur’s major vocal influence, and she learned the iconic singer’s “What a Difference a Day Makes” while she was still a toddler. She also developed her own rich, resonant vocal style at a very young age.

With a distinguished recording career that spans three decades, including two Grammy awards (Timeless and Diane Schuur and The Count Basie Orchestra on GRP Records), as well as three additional Grammy nominations, Schuur’s music has explored almost every corner of the 20th Century musical landscape. Her musical collaborations include the aforementioned Count Basie Orchestra, Barry Manilow, B.B. King, Ray Charles, and Jose Feliciano, among countless others. These collaborations have resulted in numerous #1 Billboard Chart recordings, including Pure Schuur and Heart to Heart with B.B. King; Ms. Schuur has appeared on PBS and many other television specials…as well as a very special visit to the beloved TV show, Sesame Street. Diane has been invited to perform at The White House on multiple occasions, and was one of the select musical guests invited to perform for Stevie Wonder at the Kennedy Center Honors when he received his prestigious award. She continues to tour and perform extensively at major concert halls and venues around the world.

Ms. Schuur has recently recorded an homage to two of her very important mentors, Frank Sinatra and Stan Getz. The CD will be released on June 10, 2104, and will also commemorate her “official” discovery 35 years ago by Stan Getz at The 1979 Monterey Jazz Festival. The recording features all new arrangements by Alan Broadbent, and in addition to Mr. Broadbent on piano, it includes an All-Star Band of Ben Wolfe, Ulysses Owens Jr., Romero Lubambo, Roni Ben Hur, and Joel Frahm.

DIANE SCHUUR At The Side Door! Wed June 11th – Doors 7:30pm, Show 8:30pm – 860-434-0886*

*tickets are non-refundable – $10 food/bev minimum not incl in cover.



PHAREZ WHITTED Quartet – Friday June 13th – Doors 7:30pm Show 8:30pm – 860-434-0886*

We are thrilled to have Pharez back to play at The Side Door once again. He was one of the first artists to perform at our fledgling club last year and he returns with his quartet.

Pharez is a performer, composer, producer, and educator. He has performed with such notables as Nancy Wilson, Freddie Hubbard, Slide Hampton, Joe Lovano, Elvin Jones, Ahmad Jamal, Clark Terry, Branford Marsalis, Johnny Griffin, David “Fathead” Newman, Phil Woods, Monty Alexander, The Count Basie Orchestra, Jon Faddis and the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, George Duke, John Mellencamp, Patti Austin, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Kirk Whalum, Ari Brown and Ramsey Lewis to name a few.

Pharez grew up in Indianapolis Indiana where he attended Shortridge High School, receiving his undergraduate degree from Depauw University and his graduate degree from Indiana University. He also was on the MoTown Jazz Label MoJazz where he released two CDs under his name PharezWhitted and Mysterious Cargo. Pharez presently is director of jazz studies at Chicago State University.

PHAREZ WHITTED Quartet – Friday June 13th – Doors 7:30pm Show 8:30pm – 860-434-0886

*tickets are non-refundable – $10 food/bev minimum not incl. in cover.


BENNY SHARONI QUARTET w/special guest David Hazeltine

BENNY SHARONI Quartet with special guest David Hazeltine – Sat June 21 Doors 7:30, show 8:30 860-434-0886*

Benny Sharoni is an Israeli-born tenor saxophonist, bandleader, composer and arranger who is a mainstay on the U.S. and European jazz scenes. After emigrating from Israel to the U.S. to study at Berklee College of Music, Sharoni studied with jazz masters Charlie Banacos, Jerry Bergonzi and George Garzone before exploding onto the scene with his own unique brand of music. Fusing together classic bop influences of Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon and Steve Grossman, Sharoni flavors his music with Latin rhythms and an energetic drive that delights audiences worldwide. The repertoire includes unique arrangements of standards from the American Songbook, as well as original compositions.

Benny’s recent release, “Eternal Elixir”, has captured the hearts and ears of jazz listeners, reviewers and promoters, generating tremendous acclaim for this recording.

Here’s what the critics are saying:

“…a vibrant hybrid of the hip and the holy” – Owen McNally, Hartford Courant……   “When Benny Sharoni plays, it’s a toast to life”- Bill Beuttler, Boston Globe……  “…a tenor saxophonist with a big tone and a hard-driving style” – Scott Yanow’s LA Jazz Scene…… “Sharoni is a precise and exciting player, an intoxicating cocktail of brains and brawn” – Jordan Richardson, All About Jazz

We are thrilled to have him play for the first time at The Side Door. More artist details at: and watch:

Saturday June 21 – Doors 7:30, show 8:30. 860-434-0886 85 Lyme St, Old Lyme CT 06371

*tickets are non-refundable – $10 food/bev minimum per person not incl. in cover


Jimmy Greene Quartet

JIMMY GREENE QUARTET – Saturday June 28  Doors 7:30pm Show 8:30pm 860-434-0886*

 A native of Hartford, CT, saxophonist, composer, and educator Jimmy Greene has emerged as a positive presence in the jazz world. His 9 solo recordings, Live at Smalls (SmallsLive), Mission Statement (RazDaz/Sunnyside), The Overcomers Suite (NuJazz), Gifts and Givers (Criss Cross), True Life Stories (Criss Cross), Forever (Criss Cross), Brand New World (RCA Victor), Live at Birdland (RCA Victor) and Introducing Jimmy Greene (Criss Cross)

” …without doubt one of the most striking tenors of recent years.” Jazzwise.

The Jimmy Greene Quartet performs regularly in jazz venues, festivals and clubs worldwide, including the Village Vanguard (New York), Le Club (Moscow), Casa del Jazz (Rome), Sunside Jazz Club (Paris), Red Sea Jazz Festival (Israel), Lapataia Jazz Festival (Uruguay) and Amazonas Jazz Festival (Brazil). “[Greene] is good for a couple of body chills every time you see him. He’s got a big barrelhouse sound, and a way of negotiating changes that make academic moves seem natural.” Village Voice.

In addition to his recordings and appearances as a leader, Greene appears on over 70 albums as a sideman, and has toured and/or recorded with Horace Silver, Tom Harrell, Freddie Hubbard, Harry Connick, Jr., Avishai Cohen, Kenny Barron, Lewis Nash, Steve Turre, the New Jazz Composers Octet and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, among many others. As a member of Harry Connick Jr.’s Big Band, Greene is a featured soloist on 2 DVD releases, Harry for the Holidays, and Only You. He was featured as a soloist on Connick’s 2003 holiday special aired on NBC, in addition to NBC’s Today Show, and BBC’s Parkinson Show.

Greene is Assistant Professor of Music and Assistant Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, CT. For more artist details visit:

We are so honoured to welcome Jimmy back to The Side Door once again, along with his quartet on Saturday June 28th – we do hope you can join us! We recommend you buy your tickets in advance as we sold out quickly for his last performance!

JIMMY GREENE QUARTET – Saturday June 28  Doors 7:30pm Show 8:30pm 860-434-0886          



85 Lyme St, Old Lyme, CT 06371


Buy Advance Tickets Here General Admission only. Doors 7:30pm. Show 8:30pm unless otherwise advertised. No standing room.

(860) 434-0886 | Email

Club Opens

7:30pm for cocktails and seating. Show 8:30pm unless otherwise advertised. General admission only.

Small bar/dessert menu available. $10 food/beverage min (not included in cover). Dinner reservations available at The Old Lyme Inn

Enjoy our "All That Jazz" package at The Old Lyme Inn. #TasteStayGroove!

Featured Show

8:30pm to 11:00pm (approx. unless otherwise noted).

$10 food/beverage minimum (not included in cover).

Small bar/dessert menu available. Dinner reservations available at The Old Lyme Inn

Gift Certificates Available

Enjoy our "All That Jazz" Package

#TasteStayGroove! We invite you to stay the night, or the weekend, here!



Bill Charlap

Cyrille Aimee & Diego Figueiredo


Fred Hersch





Mr. Nat Reeves Quartet (pictured with #1 fan!)

Javon Jackson WE FOUR (Jimmy Cobb, George Cables, Nat Reeves)

Jimmy Greene Quartet 10/19/13

Hector Martignon (Foreign Affair 7/13 and Pau Brasil 10/13)

Jonathan Michel BAM Quartet (and Marcus Strickland)

Dario Boente 9/28/13

Buce Barth Trio w/Steve Nelson on vibes

Freddy Cole Quartet 11/14/13

Manuel Valera Quintet 11/15/13

Samuel Torres Sextet - Premier of Forced Displacement 12/7/13

Donny McCaslin Trio

Orrin Evans Quartet

Chelsea Baratz (w/Orrin Evans Quartet Christmas Program!) 12/21/13

The tireless Christmas elves at the Side Door - Seasons Greetings from Ken and Jan

Happy Holidays from Ken and Jan!

Curtis Fuller (with Javon Jackson All Star Birthday Bash) 12/20/13

Curtis Fuller Birthday Celebration!

Rene McLean with Gary Bartz and Nat Reeves

Samuel Torres Octet. Forced Displacement CT Debut 12/6

Jani Siegel Trio 1/10/14

Grace Kelly

Nicholas Payton Trio 1/17&18/14



Thanks to everyone who came out last weekend and gave such a warm welcome to Manuel Valera (Fri) and Christos Rafalides & Manhattan Vibes (sat) - brilliant music each night!! AND,...

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Sunny indeed! Perfect for today..... hit it James!

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We couldn't agree more....!

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Manhattan Vibes hits at The Side Door..... !

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Manhattan Vibes checking their sound for you...... hit at 8:30pm! See you there... ;-)

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The Day - "A Lovely Spot To Listen"
November 14, 2013 | see full article
The SideDoor Announces Its Fall Line Up!
September 26, 2013 | see full article
Wine, dine, spend the night, and all that jazz!
September 17, 2013 | see full article
Old Lyme Inn opens the SideDoor
MAY 9, 2013 | see full article
Old Lyme Inn jazzed about new venue
MAY 6, 2013 | see full article
All About Jazz - Old Lyme Inn Goes Live At The Side Door Jazz Club
June 21, 2013 | see full article
Wallace Roney, Two Explosive Nights At The Side Door Jazz Club
July 21, 2013 | see full article
Exciting News at The Inn - Welcome to Jason and Jacob
September 11, 2013 | see full article
The SideDoor Opens to a Standing Ovation in Old Lyme
May 13 2013 | see full article



Founded in 1954, the Newport Jazz Festival® was the first annual jazz festival in America. It has been host to numerous legendary performances by some of the world’s leading established and emerging artists.

Garde Arts Center

Performing arts theater presenting Broadway shows, opera, film and other events. New London, Connecticut.


Established in 1994, JazzReach is a nationally recognized New York City-based not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion, performance, creation and teaching of jazz music.


The Artists Collective

The Artists Collective is a cultural institution serving the Greater Hartford region, providing year-round professional training in dance, music, drama, visual and martial arts emphasizing the arts and culture of the African Diaspora.


The Hartt School of Music

The Hartt School is the comprehensive performing arts conservatory of the University of Hartford. Hartt offers innovative degree programs in music, dance, and theatre.


Newport Festivals Foundation

To continue the Newport Jazz Festival® as it has been since 1954 in the presentation of the greatest jazz performers who follow the traditions of New Orleans, swing, bebop and modal as the core and heart of jazz music.




The SideDoor is quite literally a dream come true!

The Sidedoor jazz club is the realisation of a long cherished dream. Ken Kitchings has always been a true fan of jazz music and brought many great artists to The Garde Theatre in New London, CT during his time there.

In 2011 Ken and his wife Chris bought the beautiful, but sadly neglected, Old Lyme Inn and put their hearts and souls into bringing its former glory to life. Once the inn became an established part of the community, Ken set his sights on an unused “side door” space attached to the inn, visualizing the perfect jazz venue: Intimate, welcoming, elegant and a quality, great sounding room that the very best jazz artists would be happy to play in!

On May 10th, 2013 its door and stage was opened by none other than the venerable George Wein and his Newport All Star band, cutting the ribbon and giving his blessing to an awestruck Ken Kitchings! An incredible gala night opening to be remembered – setting the standard and placing The Sidedoor firmly on the jazz venue map!



  • “…First of all congratulations on a wonderful jazz joint – the SideDoor has all the Vibe a real top jazzclub should have and can easily be looked upon with both envy and fascination by other clubs around the world; because the SideDoor is based upon one man’s sheer and honest passion for a certain kind of music that thrives best when surrounded by loving and open-minded enthusiasts – and Ken’s passion for jazz nurtures exactly that exquisite atmosphere in which both musicians and audience will get the finest and rarest music experiences…”

    ~ Benjamin Koppel, renowned Saxaphonist
  • Hi Ken and Jan; I just wanted to thank you both again for a fantastic weekend. You have created a special environment (with both the inn and the club) where both Christos and I enjoyed ourselves immensely. Thank you also for being so kind to my family – they really loved it! Looking forward to seeing you again soon.

    ~ Sergio Salvatore
  • “It was a pleasure to experience The Old Lyme Inn and The SideDoor jazz club, and to witness again first hand your passion for and support of great music. We’ll be back!”

    ~ Luciano Salvatore
  • “This is the real deal! You’re right in the cross hairs of the NY and Boston music scene… This is every bit as great as playing the Vanguard!”

    ~ Kenny Werner
  • This is the best thing to happen to the Connecticut shoreline since the Baldwin Bridge!

    ~ Robin Whitney, The Side Door VIP
  • Intimate room, good bar service and superb jazz band! A great place to go after dinner on the weekend in Old Lyme or Essex near the CT shore.

    ~ TripAdvisor User: Glenn C
  • very excited to see this has opened – just what we need in this area!!

    ~ Facebook User: Carrie Leber
  • As shepherded by Ken Kitchings – who owns the Old Lyme Inn with his wife, Christine, and is a booking force at the Garde Arts Center – the SideDoor will be an intimate venue dedicated to showcasing the finest touring jazz musicians as they negotiate the I-95 corridor.

    ~ RICK KOSTER, The Day


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