MINO CENILU WORLD JAZZ ENSEMBLE! Joy to the world this holiday season!

Mino Cinelu World Jazz Ensemble – Fri Dec 5th – Doors 7:30pm Show 8:30 860-434-0886*

Joy to the world this holiday season! Come celebrate the global talent that is Mino Cenilu and his World Jazz Ensemble. A very special evening and event.

World-renowned musician, Mino Cinelu has assembled a new quartet – the exciting World Jazz Ensemble, which enhances Cinelu’s virtuosic percussion with a synthesis of bass and tuba.

The quartet comprising Mino Cinelu, keyboardist Jamshied Sharifi, bassist Mamadou Ba, and Ben Stapp on tuba, offers a unique repertoire of instrumental, percussion and vocal works, a mélange that bridges World and Jazz orchestrations.

Mino Cinelu: As a teenager, Cinelu toured and recorded with musical giants Miles Davis, Weather Report, Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, Lou Reed, to just name a few. Cinelu’s multi-instrument collaborations and facility with wide range of styles established him as a formidable talent. Today he is a renowned composer, The World Jazz Ensemble showcases his maturity as a musician and his boundless passion for new sounds. Please visit his website for so many more incredible accolades and accomplishments!

Jamshied Sharifi has recorded numerous solo and collaborative albums. He is also a well acclaimed composer for many Hollywood film soundtracks. Trained as a classical pianist, Sharifi was tapped to lead the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble. Sharifi plays keyboards, Accordion, percussion and sings for the Jazz World Ensemble.

Mamadou Ba Is one of the busiest bassist Has a unique style appreciated by many: in my genres of music: KJ Denhart, Harry Belafonte, Regina Carter.

Jose Davila, Tuba, Sousaphone, Trombone, Drums, Percussion. Ray Charles, Tito Puente, Eddie, Palmer, Marc Anthony, Henry Threadgill,

Some excerpts from Blue Note performance:

Mino Cinelu World Jazz Ensemble – Fri Dec 5th – doors 7:30pm show 8:30 860-434-0886*

*tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable.


Ulysses Owens Jr. and His Quintet

ULYSSES OWENS Jr. and His Quintet – Saturday Dec 6th  Doors 7:30 Show 8:30* 860-434-0886

Ulysses Owens Jr. Drums/Leader is joined by Benny Bennack trumpet, Braxton Cook saxophone, Christian Sands piano, Corcoran Holt bass, and a Special Guest vocalist tba.!

Ulysses Owens Jr. is steadily establishing himself as a leader in his generation of jazz artists, admired for his sensitive, fiery, and complex playing, vivid display of textural nuance, and gift for propelling a band with charisma and integrity. Both humble in person and imposing behind a kit, Owens is a two-time Grammy® Award winner who has earned his stripes as a member of bassist Christian McBride’s acclaimed trio and the driving force of McBride’s famed big band. His 2009 debut recording “It’s Time For U” featured several original compositions and arrangements. In 2012, he released a second album, “Unanimous” (Criss Cross Jazz), featuring Christian McBride, Nicholas Payton, Jaleel Shaw, Michael Dease, and Christian Sands.

In 2010, Ulysses received his first Grammy® for his performance on Kurt Elling’s “Dedicated To You,” and his second Grammy® for the Christian McBride Big Band album, “The Good Feeling.” This year, he garnered a third nomination for Christian McBride’s Trio album, “Out Here.” Owens flexes his versatility across projects, having toured and recorded with artists including McBride, Wynton Marsalis, Kurt Elling, Diane Schuur, Renee Fleming, Monty Alexander, Terence Blanchard, Russell Malone, and Mulgrew Miller. This year marks the release of two new albums as a leader: his third album, “Onward and Upward;” and “Time is Now,” the debut album of New Century Jazz Quintet, co-led with Takeshi Obayashi for the Japanese label, Spice Of Life.

A native of Jacksonville, FL, Owens credits his earliest mentors with instilling in him a devotion to personal growth at every phase of his career. At 14, Owens was accepted to Douglas Anderson School of the Arts as a classical percussionist, and in his freshman year, surpassed all expectation by winning a seat in the school’s top-tier jazz band. “That first opportunity led me directly to jazz,” he recalls. Wynton Marsalis played Jacksonville that same year, and their meeting became further assurance for Owens that his dreams were attainable.

Ulysses Owens Jr. is an artist “who takes a backseat to no one” (The New York Times), a label that seemingly describes his remarkable ascent as one of today’s premier drummers, or perhaps, his evolution as a producer, composer, educator, and entrepreneur.

Ulysses Owens Jr. Drums/Leader is joined by Benny Bennack trumpet, Braxton Cook saxophone, Christian Sands piano, Corcoran Holt bass, and a Special Guest vocalist tba.! For more artist details please visit:

ULYSSES OWENS Jr. and His Quintet – Saturday Dec 6th – Doors 7:30 Show 8:30* 860-434-0886

*tickets are non-refundable, non-transferrable


Andy Sherwoods Jazz Quartet

Andy Sherwood’s Jazz Quartet - Friday Dec 12 – Door 7:30 Show 8:30 860-434-0886*

We are thrilled to have Andy and Co. back to The Side Door to celebrate the holiday season!

Andy Sherwood’s Jazz Quartet performs a wide range of music from Dixieland and Swing, to jazz standards, and has performed for 28 years in many venues throughout Connecticut and New England. Clarinetist and Saxophonist Andy Sherwood performed as a jazz and classical musician with the United States Coast Guard Band for 24 years. As a Dixieland Clarinetist he has performed at Preservation Hall, with the Dukes of Dixieland, and with clarinetist Pete Fountain.

Andy’s quartet also includes Ian Frenkel on piano, Bryan Rizzuto on bass, and Tom Briggs on drums. for mor info:

860-434-0886 – like us at:

*tickets are non-refundable, non-transferable.


Manuel Valera Trio!

Manuel Valera Trio – Saturday Dec 13 Doors 7:30 Show 8:30 – 860-434-0886*

We are thrilled to welcome Manuel back to The Side Door once again, this time with his trio which is comprised of three prominent, like-minded New York jazz artists: Pianist Manuel Valera, bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer EJ Strickland.

This project is a refreshing take on the trio format. The music performed by the trio is deeply informed by trios of the past with a forward thinking view on where the trio setting is going. The repertoire of the trio is composed and arranged by Valera and the music is a mixture of straight ahead jazz with a hint of Cuban music, as well as occasional interpretations of jazz standards.

Based in New York City, Grammy nominated artist, pianist and composer Manuel Valera was born and raised in Havana, Cuba. Since arriving in NYC, he has become well known in the NYC modern jazz scene, garnering national reviews and lending his talents as a pianist and composer to such notable artist as Arturo Sandoval, Paquito D’Rivera, Brian Lynch, Dafnis Prieto, Jeff “Tain” Watts, John Benitez, Samuel Torres, Joel Frahm, Yosvany Terry among many others.

For more artist details please visit

Manuel Valera Trio – Saturday Dec 13 Doors 7:30 Show 8:30 860-434-0886

*tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable.


NAT REEVES Quartet featuring Harold Mabern, Eric Alexander, Joe Farnsworth

NAT REEVES Quartet featuring Harold Mabern, Eric Alexander, Joe Farnsworth  - Fri Dec 19th – Door 7:30 Show 8:30  860-434-0886*

We are so excited to have our friend and long-time supporter Nat Reeves return to The Side Door to help us all celebrate the holidays this year! His quartet features Harold Mabern, Eric Alexander and Joe Farnsworth!

Nat Reeves was born in Lynchburg, Virginia. His early years can be characterized as ordinary for a young boy complete with a supportive family, football and fishing. This normal life took a dramatic turn at 16 years, when he was introduced to the electric bass by his grandfather, Russell Jackson. When the self-taught musician teamed with other Virginia artists, the journey began. By 1979, he was in New York City, performing in small jazz clubs and at jam sessions.

In 1982 Nat traveled for the first time out of the US to Japan with Sonny Stitt. It was Sonny’s last tour and an experience Nat will never forget. At the same time, 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. For more srtist details please visit:

We are extremely honoured to have him play at The SideDoor once again.


JAMES WEIDMAN Aperturistic Trio

JAMES WEIDMAN Aperturistic Trio – Saturday Dec 20 Door 7:30 Show 8:30 – 860-434-0886

James’ trio includes Harvie S on bass and Steve Willimas on drums. Pianist James Weidman is an essential addition to whatever bandstand he graces. A partial list of Weidman’s affiliations is staggering in depth & breadth: Max Roach, Woody Herman, Archie Shepp, James Moody, Bobby Hutcherson, Slide Hampton, Jay Hoggard, Gloria Lynne, Ruth Naomi Floyd (Producer), Kevin Mahogany (Music Director), Joe Lovano, Marty Ehrlich and Ray Anderson. That list includes several NEA Jazz Masters, musical trailblazers, and great singers; relationships requiring both the skilled touch of an adept soloist as well as superior accompaniment expertise. The gifted Mr. Weidman has it all.

A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Weidman was born into a musical family, learning jazz from his saxophonist-bandleading father at age seven. Throughout his years at Youngstown State University (graduating cum laude with a degree in classical piano & music education), Weidman divided his time between studies and performance, becoming a first call player.

Weidman’s move from Ohio to the jazz cauldron of New York was inevitable. Not long after relocating he found himself on the bandstand with jazz greats Cecil Payne, Harold Ousley, Bobby Watson, and Pepper Adams, before aligning himself with conceptualist Steve Coleman and the MBase Collective. “Steve’s compositions force you to think differently; playing his very demanding rhythms and harmonies is really challenging. It gave me a freer outlook on music.” Challenging himself musically continues to be of paramount importance to Weidman.

James Weidman has been a welcomed presence on myriad bandstands, including the world’s major venues and festivals; just a partial listing includes the Montreux, Monterey, Newport, North Sea and JVC Jazz Festivals, Carnegie Hall, Birdland, Blue Note, Sweet Basil, Village Vanguard, Iridium and Jazz Standard.

JAMES WEIDMAN Aperturistic Trio – Saturday Dec 20 Door 7:30 Show 8:30 860-434-0886

*tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable.



Catherine Russell – Saturday Dec 27 – Door 7:30 Show 8:30 860-434-0886*

What a great holiday gift!! Vocalist Catherine Russell will bring her amazing talents to The SideDoor this holiday season and we couldn’t be more honored!

Catherine is a native New Yorker, born into musical royalty. Her father, the late Luis Russell, was a legendary pianist/composer/bandleader, and Louis Armstrong’s long-time musical director. Her mother, Carline Ray, was a pioneering vocalist/guitarist/bassist who performed with International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Mary Lou Williams, and Ruth Brown. Catherine’s professional life began early. After graduating with honors from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, she embarked upon musical adventures with Carrie Smith, Steely Dan, David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, Michael Feinstein, Levon Helm, and Rosanne Cash, among others.

Her 2006 debut album Cat, (World Village/Harmonia Mundi), garnered rave reviews, paving the way for her 2008 sophomore release, Sentimental Streak. Catherine was a guest on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien”, PBS-TV’s “Tavis Smiley Show”, and NPR’s “Fresh Air”, “Piano Jazz”, “Mountain Stage”, “World Café”, and “JazzSet”. She has won a prestigious German Record Critics’ Award and a Living Blues magazine’s critics’ poll. Catherine Russell’s third album, Inside This Heart of Mine, reached #1 on JazzWeek and Roots Music Report’s radio charts, while also charting on Billboard and reaching #1 on I-Tunes jazz charts. A fourth album, Strictly Romancin’ was released in February 2012, and was awarded Prix du Jazz Vocal (Vocal Album of The Year) by the French Jazz Academy, Grand Prix du Hot Club de France, and a Bistro Award for Outstanding Recording. Also in 2012, Catherine Russell won a Grammy Award as a featured artist on the soundtrack album for the HBO-TV series, Boardwalk Empire.

In 2013 her 5th solo album, Bring It Back, was released worldwide in February of 2014 on the Jazz Village label, receiving a *****5 Star Review in Downbeat Magazine.

With universal acclaim, Catherine Russell has performed on three continents. She’s been a hit at major Jazz Festivals including Monterey, Newport, North Sea, JazzAscona, Montreal, Bern, Rochester International, Tanglewood, and at sold out venues like The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Scullers in Boston, The Dakota in Minneapolis, Jazz at Lincoln Center in NYC, Yoshi’s in San Francisco, and Pasadena Pops in Los Angeles. All Music Guide says, “Russell emerged as a retro old school vocalist for the ages.”

Her repertoire features a selection of gems from the 1920s through the Present; vital interpretations, bursting with soul and humor. With an off-the-beaten-path song selection, sparkling acoustic swing, and a stunning vocal approach, Catherine Russell has joined the ranks of the greatest interpreters and performers of American Popular Song. For more artist details visit:

Catherine Russell – Saturday Dec 27 – Door 7:30 Show 8:30 860-434-0886

*tickets are non-refundable, non-transferable.



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.

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).

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

VOTED BEST LIVE JAZZ BY CT MAGAZINE 2014! Come check out why.....

Enjoy our "All That Jazz" Package

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



The CURTIS Brothers 4/26/14


Bill Charlap

Etienne Charles Quartet 5/31/14

Cyrille Aimee & Diego Figueiredo

PHAREZ WHITTED Quartet! 6/13/14


Fred Hersch

RENE MARIE 5/14/14






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

To name just a few.....

Grace Kelly

Benny Green Trio 4/18/14

Nicholas Payton Trio 1/17&18/14



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Yosvany. .. Obed.... Hans..... Luis.... Checking (awesome!) sound for you. Hit at 8.30pm. #treatforsure!

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Tomorrow Night! Fri 10/31. Incredible Latin jazz! YOSVANY TERRY QUARTET. Bring kids and costumes if you have to, but don't miss this! ;-) We are thrilled to welcome Yosvany back with his...

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Thanks Ken - Looking forward to Saturday... (and the Cuban jazz of YOSVANY TERRY this Fri if you can make it!).

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oh, and did we mention......a very special show.....! The amazing BUSTER WILLIAMS is coming through next TUES... Tues Nov 4th, 'elect' to enjoy some awesome jazz from this master's quartet, 'Something More'...

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CT Magazine - The Side Door Thrives!
May 7, 2014 | see full article
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
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!



  • “Thank you for treating us so well. I’m happy that The Side Door brings quality, art and celebration to the community, thank you for inviting me to be a part of the magic! Sending love and wishing you health and joy, thank you. Benny”

    ~ Benny Green 4/18/14
  • “…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, 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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