Tatiana Eva-Marie and the Avalon Jazz Band on stage in Kingsborough

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Tatiana Eva-Marie and the Avalon Jazz Band © Kevin R. Mason

Writer’s note: This was one of the last live events in the New York area before the pandemic became full-blown. Hope you enjoy it as a reminder of more normal times. We look forward to the return of live music to theaters, clubs, festivals and parks, where we have enjoyed jazz for years. In the meantime, many musicians and organizations are giving online concerts, listening parties with commentary on classic recordings, interactive discussions, lessons, and more.

General Manager Anna Becker © Kevin R. Mason

For some time now, Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn has hosted performances by artists from around the world, under the title “On Stage at Kingsborough”. Kingsborough Community College has become an entertainment hub in the New York tri-state area.

On the On Stage at Kingsborough website it says the following:

On Stage at Kingsborough’s mission is to bring artistically and culturally diverse multidisciplinary performances by masters of form to the varied communities within and around the college. We strive to create an environment where the arts are an accessible and integral part of life, and a community gathering place for inspiration, conversation and breathtaking performance.

We present world-class dance, cabaret, theatre, music and family performances at the Leon M. Goldstein Performing Arts Center and the Kingsborough Lighthouse from September to May, as well as our Hot Summer Nights! free outdoor concert series at Kingsborough’s Lighthouse Bandshell each July.

On Stage at Kingsborough’s mission is to bring artistically and culturally diverse multidisciplinary performances by masters of form to the varied communities within and around the college. We strive to create an environment where the arts are an accessible and integral part of life, and a community gathering place for inspiration, conversation and breathtaking performance.

Tatiana Eva-Marie captivates Kingsborough audiences © Kevin R. Mason

We present world-class dance, cabaret, theatre, music and family performances at the Leon M. Goldstein Performing Arts Center and the Kingsborough Lighthouse from September to May, as well as our Hot Summer Nights! free outdoor concert series at Kingsborough’s Lighthouse Bandshell each July.”

On Friday February 14, 2020, On Stage at Kingsborough featured Tatiana Eva-Marie and The Avalon Jazz Band. This event was part of the “Jazz at the Lighthouse” series. As well as the usual wine and the delicious plate of olives, cheeses and fruits they offer, the atmosphere was particularly romantic, with the tables festooned with rose petals and Hershey’s Kisses for Valentine’s Day.

The band members enjoy Michael Valeanu’s guitar solo © Kevin R. Mason

General Manager Anna Becker welcomed the crowd and talked about upcoming events. Then she introduced the band, which began with a delightfully upbeat gypsy jazz song, which vocalist/bandleader Tatiana Eva-Marie sang in French, with a wonderfully melodic, lilting voice that seemed to dance through the notes. . In addition to Tatiana, the band included violinists Gabe Terracciano and Daniel Garlitsky, guitarist Michael Valeanu and bassist Wallace Stelzer.

Tatiana Eva-Marie and The Avalon Jazz Band © Kevin R. Mason

Tatiana thanked the audience for being there, and she wished it was sunset again, because earlier during their sound check, the panoramic view from the lighthouse was absolutely stunning. She went on to inform the crowd that they were going to be playing music inspired by the Parisian music scene of the 1930s. The songs were about love, which was perfect for Valentine’s Day. The show continued with the romantic ballad by Sidney Bechet, “Si Tu Vois Ma Mère”, followed by the accelerated rhythm “J’attendrai” by Stéphane Grappelli. Then come “Souvenirs, Souvenirs” by Johnny Hallyday and a beautiful interpretation of “Tea for Two”, sung in English. Whether she sings in French or English or not, the band’s music was utterly charming, and after all, music is the universal language. The song “Where Are You My Love?” (“Where are you my love?” in English) was a look at the sadder side of love.

Daniel Garlitsky on an impressive solo © Kevin R. Mason

Tatiana came down from the stage, and the band played a superb gypsy jazz version of “The Anniversary Song” (“Oh How We Danced on the Night We Were Wed”) and they continued with “Que Reste-il De Nos loves?” (“I wish you love” in English).

Brilliant solo by Gabe Terracciano © Kevin R. Mason

Tatiana came back on stage and introduced Irving Berlin’s “Russian Lullaby” saying, “I think there are Russians here tonight. This drew a round of enthusiastic applause, and Tatiana added, “Well, this one’s for you!” It was quite a catchy number that got the crowd dancing and the chairs dancing. Then comes a very dancing “Lady Be Good”. On Sidney Bechet’s “At the Jazz Band Ball,” violinist Gabe Terracciano played a piercingly beautiful solo.

According to Tatiana, Cole Porter’s “I Get a Kick Out of You” was originally a “biguine”, a Creole dance song, but it’s not usually performed that way. So they decided to play it as biguine and give the audience a different version of the classic. It was quite magical. Then the group tackles the dark side of love on “Maladie D’Amour” (“Love Sickness” in English). Tatiana noted that the lyrics explore how love can be like a disease, and if you’re not careful, it’s like the bite of a snake, then you die. It was beautifully played by the musicians.

Walllace Stelzer shines on bass © Kevin R. Mason

Tatiana said, “This next song needs no introduction. If there’s a day it’s gotta play, it’s Valentine’s Day!” The song in question was “La Vie En Rose,” and it was so soulful and sweet, with a beautiful voice from Ms. Eva- For their last song, the band played “Dark Eyes” (“Ochi Chernye” in Russian), a very dramatic ballad that started slow, then turned into a fast number, and the crowd really cheered. This band can play like nobody’s business, and they brought their “A” game to every song. Whether you were there as a couple, in a band, or alone, it was a great way to spend Valentine’s Day, with a fabulous atmosphere, fine food and wine and fantastic music.

Tatiana Eva-Marie has just released a new CD, Hello Sadness. For more information, visit www.tatianaevamarie.com.

Currently, On Stage at Kingsborough features many of its past events on its website at www.onstageatkingsborough.org.

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Henry R. Wright