Blue Note Napa Celebrates Reopening With Local Jazz Weekend

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Mike Greensill and Kellie Fuller perform at Blue Note Napa during a live broadcast event in December. They will perform on the club’s reopening party on Thursday, November 11. Photo: Lowell K. Downey / Fine Art and Clarity Photography

There’s a sweet sense of symmetry with Blue Note Napa’s reopening weekend this month.

Jazz-pop singer Kellie Fuller and pianist Mike Greensill trio performed their last concert before the lockdown at the downtown Napa club in February 2020, and smooth jazz saxophonist Eric Darius was scheduled to perform the first weekend after. that Blue Note Napa had to shut down due to the March pandemic. Now, after nearly 20 months, the three are set to officially reopen the Wine Country venue, with Fuller and Greensill set to take the stage on Thursday, November 11, followed by a two-night stint by Darius.

“I think it’s more than appropriate that Eric is the one to do the reopening show,” said Ken Tesler over the phone from the performance and dining space he co-owns with his wife, Bianca Bar.

Eric Darius will be performing on Blue Note Napa’s reopening weekend, Friday and Saturday November 12 and 13. Photo: Francis Cole Cameron

Tesler spoke to The Chronicle on October 25, on the fifth anniversary of the original Blue Note Napa opening night. “I was actually aiming to reopen this weekend, but then the delta variant happened, and everyone was just a little more hesitant to come back inside,” he explained. “So I said, ‘Let’s not rush’. “

But Tesler and his team were active in 2021, even though the venue’s doors remained closed to the public. There has been a “tremendous amount of cleaning up” of the club, he said, as well as the installation of new HEPA filters in his HVAC system. Blue Note Napa is also expanding by 50 seats for a capacity of 190.

Meanwhile, by teaming up with Charles Krug Winery in St Helena for an impressive series of 72 outdoor concerts that ran from May 21 to September 19, Blue Note Napa became one of the few music presenters. to organize shows with an audience in person lately. spring. Blue Note Presents also hosted its first full season – originally scheduled for 2020 – at the Oxbow RiverStage, hosting 12 shows from August 14 through October 23 in an outdoor venue near Blue Note Napa.

“It has allowed me to keep a lot of people (Blue Note Napa) employed for an extended period,” Tesler said. “A lot of those who worked with us at Charles Krug are going to go back inside the club.”

Rodrigo y Gabriela perform during a “Blue Note Presents” show at the Oxbow RiverStage in Napa on September 11, 2021. Photo: Mitchell Glotzer

In a year when many nightlife establishments were forced to lay off employees, the owner was proud to report that he had retained most of his original staff.

It probably also helped companies that bookings at both Charles Krug and RiverStage, like Poolside and Death Cab for Cutie, reflected Blue Note Napa’s own eclectic offerings, which extend beyond jazz artists. typical events that occur in the flagship club Blue Note in New York. Greenwich village. For example, fans can see R&B singer and producer Jon B on November 27-28 or indie-pop singer-songwriter KT Tunstall on January 14-15 in Napa.

Tesler is also committed to representing the Bay Area music community with bandstand talent. As the licensee of the Blue Note club in Manhattan, Blue Note Napa secures its touring artists through Blue Note Entertainment Group. But it reserves local musicians internally.

“I have always felt so supported and appreciated as a performer every time I performed there,” said Fuller, a full-time Napa resident whose schedule is expected to include selections from the Great American Songbook as well. than 1960s classics and other pop songs. She also appreciates the relaxed community spirit of the place: “They did non-repeat jam sessions where people come in and turn through this beautiful stage. “

“We want to continue giving back to the local community. They have supported us tremendously, ”Tesler said. “We couldn’t have survived the pandemic without them – people who keep their tickets, don’t ask for refunds, and bear all the rescheduling and rescheduling.

“At the worst times, people came to me on the street and said, ‘Don’t give up. We can’t wait for you to reopen, and we’ll be there when you do. It’s huge.”

Kellie Fuller and the Mike Greensill Trio: 7 p.m. Thursday, November 11. $ 10 to $ 20. Blue Note Napa, 1030 Main St., Napa. 707-880-2300. www.bluenotenapa.com

Eric Darius: 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Friday to Saturday, November 12 to 13. $ 29 to $ 69. Blue Note Napa, 1030 Main St., Napa. 707-880-2300. www.bluenotenapa.com




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