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Old Lyme Inn / New Destination For Jazz --The Side Door Jazz Club

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By Reed Hadley

Take the A train to Harlem, then take Metro North to Connecticut

Here's a question...What is the perfect jazz weekend plan in NY/CT? Let's start by checking out the happenings in the normal haunts in midtown and then head uptown and jam at the hot jazz spots. Then, let's pop over to the Park Avenue and 125th Street station and take the Metro North train to Connecticut. Or, if you are local to the area of Old Lyme, Connecticut, you can drive to that town and groove to the smooth sounds of jazz. Just put on your brakes and stop by the Old Lyme Inn where The Side Door Jazz Club features main headliners and upcoming artists from the jazz world.

The term “thermos" is where all is inclusive in one spot. Owner Ken Kitchings has a simple formula— Bed and Breakfast style lodging that offers old-style charm, coupled with modern amenities; a friendly staff; great food with excellent drinks...all at affordable prices. This is all wrapped up into one spot with the added plus of great jazz entertainment.

On May 10, 2013, The Side Door Jazz Club opened its doors with the thunderous sounds of George Wein and the Newport All-Star Jazz Orchestra, during a special benefit concert, which included a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Recently, I heard Steinway artist/jazz pianist Sergio Salvatore and vibraphonist Christos Rafalides perform a truly unique blend of outstanding musical compositions. These two musicians have that certain chemistry and a new view of traditional (fused with new wave), that strictly provides swing and soothing touches simultaneously.

After nearly four hours on the road in a rainstorm, these young professionals arrived at the venue, hit the stage (to literally complete a blazingly fast sound check), changed clothes, and proceeded to play their first set, as if they had been struck with a lightning bolt.

The set opened with the classic Charles Mingus arrangement of “Nostalgia in Times Square" followed by “Second Nature" and closed with “Days of Silence." A short set you say? Well, each of their works is like a vintage van rouge or vino tinto; give it time to breathe. They are rather lengthy, like some tunes on the CTI label, giving the listener time to settle into the piece to feel the groove and later developing into a glorious ending.

After a brief intermission, Ken Kitchings brought them back to the stage for a second set which featured “Which Way Did She Go?" (From Sergio's Dark Sand.)

Well, it is safe to say it was a hit, due to the fact it lifted owner Ken Kitchings out of his seat with cheerful approval (nearly into Christos' vibes). The duo’s presentation of original works such as “Unrequited" and their rendition of the classic “With A Little Help from My Friends" (a Beatles' treat, with a Jazz twist) thrilled those in the house on a stormy Friday night. Christos selected tracks from his latest work “Manhattan Vibes," which added more excitement to the set.

On the whole, what started out as a rainy day full of flood warnings, turned out to be quite a pleasant evening in the newest house of Jazz in Connecticut?

For more information or call 860-434-0886.

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