Bluegrass, swing, and more from Too Blue Thurs., June 17

Too Blue plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Thurs., June 17, starting at 5 PM.

Traveling freely between bluegrass, swing, Celtic and jazz, a Too Blue show is a dynamic dose of serious fun. Smooth harmonies and adventurous musicianship bring stellar arrangements to life and leave the listener anything but “blue.” Original songs as well as fresh covers from Patsy Cline to Bill Monroe keep the show moving and toes tapping.

Seamlessly blending their vocals are guitarist Betsy Rome and banjoist Joan Harrison. Mandolin powerhouse Michael Sassano astounds and entertains, while jazz bassist Jamie Doris brings a creative perspective. Together, Too Blue makes exciting bluegrass that swings and entertains.

Of their second CD, “Trouble With the Grey,” Barry Mitterhoff (mandolinist with Jorma Kaukonen) said, “To quote Bill Monroe, ‘This is powerful music!’ … Swing-grass, original tunes, hot pickin’ & sweet singin.”

The Best Video cafe will be open from 4-7 PM, serving coffee drinks, beer, and wine.
The Best Video cafe will be open and serving coffee, wine, and beer.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others. Masks are required if you go inside Best Video.

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up. There will also be a donation vase set out for Best Video.

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

(UPDATE: Dreamfield concert postponed one week) Music: Jazz and vocals from Dreamfield Fri., Oct. 30, and Halloween children’s special event Sat. with Robert Messore

(UPDATE, FRI., OCT. 30: Due to the snow and cold weather, the Dreamfield concert scheduled for this evening is being postponed. It has been rescheduled to next Friday, Nov. 6, at 4:30 PM.)

Best Video Film & Cultural Center has gotten a great response from the community of local musicians to the use of our new deck as a venue. While weather permits, we will be hosting shows Thursday-Saturday during happy hour time with music usually occurring between 4:30 and 7 PM (but exact time varies according to the act).

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and masks are mandatory. (Yes, you can lower them to take a drink but please raise them up again.)

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up.


Dreamfield plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Friday, Oct. 30, starting at 5 PM. (See note above.)

Dreamfield is a band consisting of Berklee College of Music and New School students—Ryan Peter Murphy on keyboard and vocals, Will Brennan on guitar, Max Pannella on bass, and Logan Sidle on drums! They play all genres and eras of music including Pop, American Standards, Broadway, Jazz and Original songs. They perform favorites ranging from the 50’s Era all the way up to 2020 Top 40 Pop. Their original music ranges from top 40 pop to Beach Boys, and 50’s inspiration.

A planned concert of guitar music by Robert Messore scheduled for Thursday this week was cancelled due to predictions of rain. But Robert will be at Best Video Film & Cultural Center Saturday, Oct. 31, at 1 PM for a special Halloween event. Along with his regular Toddler Tunes songs, Robert will throw in some songs appropriate to the annual celebration of spookiness.

Robert Messore puts on a high-energy sing-and-dance-along program for young children and their parents. Voted “Best Entertainer for Toddlers” in the 2011 readers poll, Messore’s public “Toddler Tunes” program at St. John’s Episcopal Church in New Haven is the place to be every week! The songs are a mix of the classics and some newer songs that folks love. He recognizes that these programs are a place for parents to get together as much as anything, so he encourages folks with newborns through 6-yr-old children to attend.

We know that the covid-19 pandemic has put a damper on Halloween plans and hope this event can make up in a small way for the disappointment. We will be closing off the parking lot and spreading tables and chairs out; Robert will use the deck as a stage. We certainly encourage children—and family!—to come in costume if you wish. If you have portable, lawn chairs, it might be worthwhile to bring them along.

Music: The Black Lodge Quartet plays Thurs., Jan. 30

Black Lodge Quartet plays Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Jan. 30. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $10.

Black Lodge Quartet is a bluesy, jazzy, loungey rock band from Connecticut. Singer Lilly’s vocals range from sultry jazz club chanteuse to powerful blues/rock diva. Refined retro guitar, upright bass and jazzy drums provide the instrumental backdrop for this fun, surprising and sophisticated combo.

The seeds for Black Lodge Quartet were sown when Dan Surkis, founder and guitarist of surf instrumental band The Clams, was looking for a new challenge. One night he sat down with British blues legend Tim Elliot at a holiday party. Well into the deep musical dialog Tim said, of his daughter, “You know Lilly’s a great singer.” “Really!?” Dan replied nearly manifesting an illuminated light bulb over his head. Now Dan had met Lilly before, but knew the quiet and secretive Brit only as an artist. He had no idea she was also a singer. A patient but persistent string of offers to “try a couple of songs” with the band finally paid off. And she agreed to a one-off show as a guest vocalist with the Clams. By the time she finished belting out the first phrase of Blues favorite “Stormy Monday,” Dan knew he had found the challenge he was seeking.

That “one-off show” became Black Lodge Quartet. The Clams years of gigging and recording experience along with a healthy obsession for sound quality, allowed the group to quickly arrive at a sound complementary to Lilly’s powerful voice. The Line-up is completed by John Krawczyk who brings the depth with his five string fretless upright electric bass. And Paul Krampitz, a jazz/big band drummer who joined in late 2017, whose style adds an authentic jazz element that pulls together their unique sound. A sound that is part 30’s night club and part 60s house party.

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Music: Jazz from Ernie Mazza & Friends Fri., Jan. 24, at 8 PM

Ernie Mazza & Friends play Best Video Performance Space on Friday, Jan. 24. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $7.

Veteran pianist Ernie Mazza hosts an evening of cookin’ jazz at the performance space. He’ll be joined by wife, Mary, on vocals (They met on a gig, ya know!); son, Dave, on guitar; Mark Kaplan on sax, and the tasty rhythm section of Art Principe and John Rispoli on bass and drums, respectively. They’ll be playing some of their favorites from the jazz repertoire including standards, be-bop, Latin, and a couple of surprises along the way.

A New Haven native, and a regular on the local music scene for decades, Ernie has assembled a fine ensemble of versatile and seasoned pros to join him for what is sure to be a fun evening of jazz music with friends and family.

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Music: Jeff Fuller & Friends celebrate “Round & Round” CD release Sat., Dec. 21

Jeff Fuller & Friends play Best Video Performance Space on Saturday, Dec. 21. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $10. It is a CD release show celebrating the group’s new disc “Round & Round.”

Jeff Fuller & Friends is made up of Jeff Fuller on bass, Darren Litzie on piano, and Ben Bilello on drums. The classic jazz trio format gives rise to—and makes room for—many delightful moments of serendipitous exchange. In no small part this is due to listening—each member of the trio evidently hears the conversation as a whole while adding their own thoughts to the process. The result is an emotional, intelligent and lucid story that carries through from the first note to the last.

On their 4th CD, Jeff Fuller & Friends provide thoughtful and engaging original jazz compositions in an intimate piano trio setting. “Round & Round” features Fuller’s virtuosic bass playing, pianist Darren Litzie’s inventive improvisations, and drummer Ben Bilello’s great soloing and accompaniment. Beautifully recorded by Norman Johnson, the trio explores new territory on such compositions as “Round & Round,” “Rest, Dear,” “Sambeleza, and the classically oriented “Never So Long,” which features Fuller’s bowed upright bass. This is music made for listening, so settle back and enjoy the journey!

The trio will also work some of their jazzy versions of holiday favorites into the set.

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Music: The Tony Purrone Trio offers jazz Thurs., Dec. 19

The Tony Purrone Trio plays Best Video Performance Space Thursday, Dec. 19. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $10.

Legendary jazz guitar virtuoso Tony Purrone will present an evening of electrifying original jazz and some rearrangements of jazz standards. Purrone will be accompanied by Preston Murphy (upright bass) and Ray Marchica (drums).

Tony Purrone was born and raised in Connecticut. His love affair with the guitar started with his first lesson at age nine. This early ability, expressed across a diversity of styles, led to acceptance by the University of Bridgeport Jazz Ensemble at a very young age. Four years later, whilst still a student, he performed with the Don Elliott Quintet and the Gerry Mulligan Sextet. After transferring to New York University, Tony graduated with a BSc in music.

In 1978, he came to the attention of Jimmy Heath in Connecticut and was invited to join the Heath Brothers Band, going on to record five albums on CBS and Island-Antilles in between touring the world.

In 1982, Tony left to carve his own impressive niche in the eclectic jazz world. He has performed with a Who’s Who of Jazz, including: Frank Foster and the Count Basie Band, Jerome Richardson, Lee Konitz, Al Cohn, Pepper Adams, Paquito D’Rivera, Sal Nistico, Nick Brignola, Bill Barron, Dave Leibman, Freddie Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie, Randy Brecker, Lew Soloff, Jon Faddis, Donald Byrd, Lionel Hampton, Woody Herman band members, the Jimmy Heath Big Band, Stanley Cowell, Billy Eckstine, Johnny Hartman, the Trio (3) with Pete Levin and Lenny White, and his own groups.

Tony has taught music at Housatonic College and Wesleyan University in Connecticut and at Queens College in New York. Tony participated in two Grammy nominated albums, “Heath Brothers Live at the Public Theater”, (1980); and “Jimmy Heath-Little Man, Big Band” (1994). Tony has also recorded with Jimmy Heath on the Landmark, Verve, and Steeplechase labels, Ed Thigpen on the Reaction label and is the featured guitar soloist along with bassist, Stanley Clarke, on the song “Dark” co-written with Lenny White on Lenny’s CD, “Present Tense” (Hip Bop records).

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Music: Thimble Islands Saxophone Quartet plays Sat., Nov. 30

The Thimble Islands Saxophone Quartet plays Best Video Performance Space this Saturday, Nov. 30. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $10.

The Thimble Islands Saxophone Quartet features music from Baroque to Contemporary, including music from the Jazz, Broadway, Rock and Popular idioms. This eclectic repertoire includes works from the chamber music, symphonic, choral and vocal traditions.

Frank Vasi, tenor saxophonist, is an award winning composer and the founder of the Thimble Islands Saxophone Quartet. He graduated from the Mannes College of Music in NYC where he received a BM in Performance and Education, studying saxophone and clarinet with Joseph Allard and Frank Socolow and composition with Fred Werle and David Loeb. As a New York freelance musician and teacher in the late 70’s and 80’s, Frank also performed with his own jazz ensemble, The Frank Vasi Quartet and as a side man with such jazz greats as Benny Goodman, Doc Cheatum and Joe Jones.

Tim Moran, soprano saxophone,is widely acclaimed as an innovative jazz musician on saxophone, flute, and clarinet. He has performed in Europe, Japan and throughout the United States and Canada. In collaboration with percussionist Tony Vacca, he has released 5 CD’s, including “Dance Beneath the Diamond Sky” on Columbia Records. He has backed up such artists as Ella Fitzgerald and Gerry Mulligan. He keeps very busy in pit orchestras for the national touring companies of Broadway musicals.

Baritone saxophonist Skyler Hagner is a graduate of Temple University with a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Performance. While at Temple he studied under Ben Schachter, Tim Warfield, and Norman David. Under Dr. David’s influence, Skyler began composing and arranging. Passion for composing lead Skyler to score the 2015 production of the play “For Colored Girls” in Philadelphia, a series of works for jazz ensemble with a speaker, as well as the creation of the Skyler Hagner Quintet and Octet. Skyler is currently an adjunct professor of woodwinds at the University of New Haven and maintains a busy performance schedule.

Will Cleary , alto saxophone, hails from Houston, Texas, where he began his jazz studies at the Summer Jazz Workshop and Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. He then obtained his Bachelor of Music degree at the Oberlin Conservatory, studying with Gary Bartz, Robin Eubanks, and Dan Wall. He received his Master of Music degree in 2010 from the Eastman School of Music under the tutelage of Walt Weiskopf and Bill Dobbins, and was the recipient of the Raymond and Maxine Schirmer Prize in Jazz Performance. Mr. Cleary has performed with Slide Hampton, Chuck Mangione, Conrad Herwig, Marvin Stamm, Marcus Belgrave, Charles McPherson, Kim Waters, Bob Sneider, Dave Glasser, and Pat LaBarbera.

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Music: Mario Pavone 3Bass Quintet, GoBruCcio play Thurs., Nov. 14, at 7:30 PM

Mario Pavone.

Jazz bassist Mario Pavone celebrates his 79th birthday with a Thursday, Nov. 14, show at Best Video Performance Space featuring his Mario Pavone 3Bass Quintet. Also on the bill will be GoBruCcio (Bob Gorry, Peter Brunelli, and Pete Riccio) playing a short set. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is $10.

Joining Pavone in the quintet are bassists Carl Testa and Zwelakhe Duma Bell de Pere along with trombonist Peter McEachern and drummer Michael Sarin.

Bassist/Composer Mario Pavone has been part of some of the most pivotal milestones in jazz over the past six decades. After being inspired by hearing John Coltrane at the Village Vanguard in 1961, Pavone began playing the bass, settling in New Yok City and making connections with pianist Paul Bley and trumpeter Bill Dixon, participating in what would eventually be called “the first loft era.” Pavone went on to tour and record with Bley and Dixon.

In New Haven, CT in the mid-70’s Pavone became involved with Wadada Leo Smith and Anthony Braxton as part of The Creative Musicians Improvisors Form (CMIF), a musician run collective based on some of the precepts of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), organizing and playing in large orchestra concerts featuring Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis, Marty Ehrlich, Oliver Lake, Ray Anderson, Carla Bley, and many others.

In the mid ’80’s Pavone became involved in the groundbreaking downtown Knitting Factory scene, building a deep relationship with alto saxophonist Thomas Chapin and becoming part of his highly acclaimed power trio. From 1990 to 1996 the trio recorded extensively, toured in Europe and the U.S., and performed at major international jazz festivals.

After Chapin’s untimely passing in 1998, Pavone began a long recording career as a leader, beginning with the New World and Knitting Factory labels. Then touring widely in Europe with an enduring core group of A-list improvisors – Tony Malaby, Steven Bernstein, Gerald Cleaver, Peter Madsen, and Michael Sarin, the bassist was also collaborating on projects with guitarist Michael Musillami and recording over a dozen CD’s for Musillami’s Playscape Recordings label. At present Pavone has recorded 30 critically acclaimed CD’s as a leader, many placing on Top 10 year-end lists.

For 25 years Pavone has been associated with Litchfield Performing Arts, serving as a board member, an educator at its Jazz Camp, and bringing many of his innovative projects to the Litchfield Jazz Festival stage.

In 2010 Pavone was recipient of a significant Doris Duke Foundation composer’s grant resulting in multiple performances and a recording of Pavone’s compositions arranged by virtuoso trumpeter Dave Ballou. Pavone and Ballou enjoy an ongoing musical collaboration.

Recently, Pavone has focused his composing and performing energies on the classic piano trio format, reconnecting with Paul Bley for a recording, releasing a live disc with Craig Taborn and Gerald Cleaver, recording 3 CD’s with his Dialect Trio featuring Matt Mitchell and Tyshawn Sorey, the latest to be released in July 2019 on Clean Feed Records. Among other recent activity this year Pavone has been touring and recording with legendary vocalist Patty Waters in a group featuring Barry Altschul and Burton Greene, and recording with long-time associate, trombonist, Peter McEachern on the trombonist’s new CD.

The trio GoBruCcio—Bob Gorry (guitar), Pete Brunelli (bass), Peter Riccio (drums)—is creating textures and rhythms, working in space and shadow, treading a line between minimalism and free ambient soundscape.

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Music: The Paul Shanley Quintet plays jazz Fri., Nov. 1

The Paul Shanley Quintet plays Best Video Performance Space on Friday, Nov. 1. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $10.

The Paul Shanley Quintet seeks to bring fresh perspectives to a wide range of jazz styles from Cole Porter to Thelonious Monk. The goal of our music is to create something in the moment that is unique, exciting, and played with energy and passion. Everyone in the group has their own thoughts and feelings about the music and how they like to play, then we come together through our common interests. Playing live is an essential part of the music and the instant response that we get is the largest reward. Nothing comes close to the experience of listening to great live music. This group will do everything in our power to create a great performance for you the listener.

Shanley plays bass. He will be acompanied by Barry Ries (drums and trumpet), Anton Kot (piano), Gary Grippo (guitar), and Kenny G (sax).

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Music: Vance Provey/Bob Gorry/Paul Gunsberg play jazz Wed., Aug. 28

The trio of Vance Provey/Bob Gorry/Paul Gunsberg plays Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, Aug. 28. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

The collective trio of Vance Provey (Trumpet) , Bob Gorry (Guitar), and Paul Gunsberg (Drums & Saxophone) will bring their music to Best Video.

Provey is a trumpet soloist with a long history as a composer and leader. His approach is rooted in the jazz idiom using strong melodic and rhythmic approaches, but now mostly in a more free improvisatory space. His work with Bill Dixon at Bennington College in The Black Music Division is a guiding influence.

Bob Gorry leads the New Haven Improvisers Collective and has developed his own approach to the guitar blending rock, free improvisation, new art music with Jazz elements. Paul Gunsberg’s drum work brings the room together and takes it somewhere else and with his saxophone work the trio reaches another level entirely. Paul announced his arrival on the New Haven scene in a trio with Joe Morris and Jaimie Branch with a stunning set at Multiplex.

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