Tag Archives: Jack Kleinsinger

New York City Blog Feb. 28 – March 5

Watching the political circus unfolding before our eyes and before the presidential election, I thought these words of Daniel Berrigan were appropriate: Every nation-state tends towards the imperial—that is the point. Through banks, armies, secret police, propaganda, courts and jails, treaties, taxes, laws and orders, myths of civil obedience, assumptions of civic virtue at the top. Still it should be said of the political left, we expect something better. And correctly. We put more trust in those who show a measure of compassion, who denou­nce the hideous social arrangements that make war inevitable and human desire omnipresent; which fosters corporate selfishness, panders to appetites and disorder, waste the earth.

I went to a memorial at the God’s Love We Deliver building on Spring Street. The friend who died had volunteered for that organization. First, we had a buffet lunch and then numerous tributes. Many photos of the deceased were gathered in a box and pasted on walls. She was a curious, mysterious person who kept people in separate compartments. When I visited her as she laying dying in Mount Sinai, I met people gathered around her bed I’d never seen or heard of. At the memorial my old friends and I reminisced about the deceased: her wit, her kindness, her privacy. She’s gone into the great beyond. Her secrets are safe.

Jack Kleinsinger’s Highlights in Jazz is now in its 44th year. It’s presented in the Borough of Manhattan Community College’s Theatre One. Thursday’s performance featured the Cuban born Paquito D’Rivera who plays a mean clarinet and a mean saxophone. His genres include Latin jazz and Afro-Cuban jazz. In the second set he played clarinet alongside Peter and Will Anderson. In other words, a clarinet summit. Lots of fun.

New York City Blog January 31 – February 5

I spent a few days at Weill Cornell Hospital, feeling like the hero of Mark Twain’s  A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. It’s like being at a court. There are so many rules, regulations and conventions that the natives understand and that are a mystery to the visitor. The hospital is vast. I assume it employs thousands of doctors, interns, residents, nurses, aides, dietitians, social workers. There are also the clergy who drop in. I looked up from Ripley Underground, a story about a gentile mass murderer, to look into soft brown eyes gazing at me from the bottom of my bed. I guess he was a monk because he was dressed in a Frier Tuck outfit. After a few pious words, he left. After a procedure, a doctor marched in with an entourage. There were at least ten young men and women, reminding me of knights surrounding King Arthur. Were they interns? Anyway, they watched the doctor examine me as the doctor made pleasant chatter. A dietician spoke to me about a healthful diet and gave me written menu suggestions that included diet coke and margarine.


The East River viewed from my eleventh floor hospital room
The East River viewed from my eleventh floor hospital room

A few nights later a friend and I attended Jack Kleinsinger’s Highlights in Jazz. As Kleinsinger never tires of reminding the audience, it’s the longest running jazz concert series in NYC. It’s in its 44th year. In the first set a quintet played and sang jazz standards. With the mystery guest, Nicki Parrott on bass, Warren Ache on trumpet and Ted Rosenthal on piano the evening was a treat.

New York City Blog May 2 — May 9

Alwan for the Arts on Beaver Street presented an evening of Flamenco and Arab Music, We arrived just in time to get the last two seats in the room on the fourth floor. The chairs were arranged in a semicircle. The six musicians and their various instruments: ouds, guitars, violins, tablas (like bongos), riqs (like tambourines) and drums faced us and there was a tiny space for dancing. It was a perfect NYC evening: intimate, exciting, multicultural, exotic, erotic. Barbara Martinez sang and danced alone and with the percussionist and dancer, Ramzi Eledlebi. Carmen, Steve Kulchek’s long time girlfriend, danced flamenco. Steve made a brave attempt.

Flamenco dancers: Ramzi Eledlebi and Barbara Martinez
Flamenco dancers: Ramzi Eledlebi and Barbara Martinez

Late Sunday afternoon was spent at Alice Tully Hall. CMS, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, presented a Beethoven and Ligeti concert. Alice Tully Hall is a wonderful space. There is room between the seats so that people can pass others. I had heard that Alice Tully was tall and made leg room a requirement of a hall that was financed by her.

I had two book parties in one evening: Bart Boehlert’s and Father Brown’s. The first was in real life. Bart and his companion, Ted Dawson, hosted a relaxed, early evening book party at Judson Memorial Church. Surrounded by John La Farge painted glass windows and Augustus St. Gaudens’s sculpture, we sat in a cozy circle in the Meeting Room. Bart told us about his memoir, HOW I LOOK.The cover, designed by Ted, shows Bart’s very buffed back as he looks at Whistler’s Theodore Durer. Bart spoke about his own life and his mother’s early influence on his respect for American fashion, exemplified by Perry Ellis. Bart mentioned Ellis’s attention to detail. The same could be said about his wonderfully written and designed book which is available on Amazon.

Bart Boehlert's How I Look
Bart Boehlert’s How I Look


From a UCC church setting I went to a Roman Catholic setting. As soon as I arrived home, I switched on the TV to Channel 21’s Father Brown. Needless to say, the R.C. book signing party was bloodier than the UCC one. Being a mystery set in the 1950s English landed gentry countryside, there is always murder, but there’s always lovely fashion too.

We heard Wycliffe Gordon at Jack Kleinsinger’s Highlights in Jazz held at Manhattan Community College. The first set was great. The second set was long winded. Jay Leonhart, the respected bass player, has taken to verbal riffs that do not match the quality of his playing.

New York City Blog March 16 – March 22

In between snow storms and the arrival of spring, a friend and I went to Rosa Mexicano (atmosphere A+, Service A+, Food B, Booze A) and then to Alex Gibney’s documentary, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.It was being shown at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. We went to the 7 p.m. seating and it ended at 9:15. What’s with documentaries? Does the director love his own voice so much that he can’t shut up? My friend had a discrete nap. So did I. Isn’t sleeping in a movie house restful? About the documentary: there are no surprises. Scientology reminds me of the EST training. Lots of mind bending, lots of chatter about your potential which in the USA means ability to make lots of money and be famous. As the creators of The Book of Mormon once said, everyone’s else’s religion is weird. E. Ron Hubbard in his goofy navel outfit is not my idea of a messiah. Give me Charlton Heston any day. David Miscavige, Hubbard’s heir and Tom Cruise’s best man, looks and acts like Ken, Barbie’s squeeze, on steroids.

The next night I headed south to Gigino’s, a sweetheart of an Italian-American restaurant (atmosphere A+, Service A+ Food B+, Booze A).We then went to Highlights in Jazz at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC Tribeca). Highlights in Jazz is Jack Kleinsinger’s creation. Kleinsinger, dressed in a suit that would make Damon Runyon proud, introduces his pals from the world of jazz. Saxophones Supreme was on the agenda. It was so comforting to hear nostalgic sounds. The evening was a proper anecdote to the onslaught of Scientology.


I felt this way after the Scientology documentary
I felt this way after the Scientology documentary.