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Benefit for Marjorie Eliot’s Jazz Parlor
March 8, 2015 @ 3:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Join City Lore on Sunday, March 8, as we celebrate Marjorie Eliot’s Jazz Parlor with a special benefit concert hosted by City Lore’s Steve Zeitlin and District 7 Councilmember Mark Levine. Some grassroots institutions arise from necessity and others from passion, but few combine the two with the longevity of Marjorie Eliot’s jazz parlor concerts.
“I’m not trying to be the patron, but you can’t have people say, ‘I’m going to wait to get into Carnegie Hall.’ Neighborhoods should have institutions to support their own,” says Ms. Eliot, explaining why, every Sunday for 23 years, musicians and music lovers alike have flocked to her Washington Heights apartment.
These days, the place fills up fast. Listeners from around the world line the living room, parlor, kitchen, and even hallway. Soft, sympathetic strains of piano mingle with loudmouthed brasses, stately basses, and chipper clarinet vibratos. The chords flirt in the vestibule and linger at the threshold of apartment 3F.
Since the 1920s, informal gatherings have been common in New York’s jazz scene, and remain popular in folk circles. Marjorie notes, “some of the oldsters who lived here all those years ago would talk about house parties, and going out to rent parties. They talked about folks getting together during the Depression. It was about sharing; ‘you bring a dish, you bring a dish,’ and they’d have music all night long and put money in the pot. They were not going to let people get evicted. This wasn’t just in Harlem either; it was everywhere.”
This benefit concert was conceived in the spirit of the historic rent parties. City Lore hopes to raise $3,000 in support of this neighborhood institution. If you would like to donate, please bring your contribution to Marjorie’s on Sunday, March 8th, or mail a check to City Lore with Marjorie Eliot in the memo field (56 E 1st St, New York, NY, 10003). All donations are tax-deductible.
In honor of Black History Month, we are pleased to feature Marjorie Eliot’s parlor jazz as February’s Place of the Month. Place Matters, a project of City Lore and the Municipal Art Society, seeks to promote and protect places that connect New Yorkers to the past, host ongoing cultural and community traditions, and keep our city distinctive.
Concert begins at 3:30pm
Theatrical performance begins at 6:30pm
Suggested donation of $25