Dizzy’s Club first opened in 2004, which for a jazz club is an impressively long time ago to still be around. Soon after it opened, Sherrie Maricle brought her big band, The DIVA Jazz Orchestra, into Dizzy’s. This year, from March 30 to April 2, the band will make its annual appearance there to celebrate its 30th anniversary, also an impressively long time to still be around.
The leader has three reasons why she is especially fond of this gig: “It’s a small setting, very intimate where the band is close and tight to each other and the audience. When I was young and heard big bands like Buddy Rich, Woody Herman or Count Basie in a small and intimate setting, I got so much more out of the experience as a listener, a learner, fan and a musician, because I could “see the whites of their eyes” so to speak; it was more emotional. It gives you a different experience from a massive concert stage.
“Dizzy’s is an incredible and beautiful venue, with stellar sound that nurtures greatness in the performer. They take great care of us and aim to make everything run smoothly. That comfort and mutual respect translates to the audience. Performing 8 shows in a row is fantastic for the band on many levels. We don’t always get to do that, especially in these recent post-pandemic years, but things are looking up. Consistent and consecutive performance opportunities are important to the continued development and growth of the band, our soloists, sound, library and morale. The third point is that we’ve played there since the club opened, except the pandemic years, of course, and we feel like it’s our New York City home.”
DIVA has a reputation among musicians as an especially good gig, and many of the members have exceptionally long tenure. It has also helped the growth of some highly successful careers, such as those of clarinetist/tenor saxophonist Anat Cohen, trumpeters Ingrid Jensen and Nadje Noordhuis, alto saxophonist Alexa Tarantino, and bassist/vocalist Nicki Parrott.
Now, Maricle is anxious to display two new talents: “Tenor saxophonist Jade Elliot who just finished her master’s degree at NYU. She’s a great player with cool vibes, a great sense of swing and the ability to blend with her section of the band; and Kellin Hanas who just turned 21 with us on a road trip with the Manhattan Transfer. She is an astoundingly brilliant (trumpet) player with amazing energy, and a natural acumen of a very old soul.”
Maricle has some special plans for this 30th anniversary, “Over the years we’ve worked with great vocalists like Nancy Wilson, Ann Hampton Callaway, Joe Williams, Maurice Hines, and Marlena Shaw. My friend Sue Giles has agreed to help us pay tribute to them. We’re going to do a lot of the music we’ve played with each of those great artists. That’s going to be extra special, because we haven’t featured a vocalist at Dizzy’s in a long time.
DIVA will also play some long-neglected gems from its archive and possibly record them live to include in a new anniversary CD. For more information or to order tickets, log onto 2023.jazz.org/dizzys-club.—SCHAEN FOX