Cape's jazz scene is vibrant and powerful

Bart Weisman at center of rich local tradition


   The Island Merchant on Main Street Hyannis  hosts an incredible jazz workshop featuring Bart Weisman and his friends on the third Sunday of every month from 4-7pm. Photos by Ray Drueke, Austin Lane Studios.

From Provincetown to Hyannis in twelve hours of music

By Walter Brooks

As a one-time Beat Poet and owner of a coffeehouse in Greenwich Village, I have been surrounded by great jazz all my life, but never expected to be able to continue that same level of jazz enjoyment in our bucolic backwater.

The best and most spectacular location on Cape Cod.

Bart Weisman in the Island Merchant window.
Dane Vannatter at the Provincetown Jazz Festival last year. Click here for a video of this remarkable singer.

I was wrong.

Last weekend my wife made two reservations for my drummer grandson and myself to hear two very different jazz concerts, both with the Cape's great jazz promoter Bart Weisman.

As his website is wont to explain, Bart Weisman has performed for presidents, heads of state, celebrities, backed the Jersey Boys, and opened for the Boston Pops.

With over 70,000 Views on YouTube, Bart's Jazz CD has been used for commercials and downloaded in the US, Canada, UK, Europe, Japan, and Australia.

Provincetown and the Crown & Anchor

We registered at the famous Provincetown Inn at the very tip of Cape Cod early on a Saturday, and spent the afternoon bicycling this wild and wonderful town where my wife and I met many moons ago.

Saturday evening, April 14, at 8pm, we biked to the Crown & Anchor's Cabaret to hear Dane Vannatter at Cabaret Fest.

Steve Greenlee of The Boston Globe has said, "Dane Vannatter has been compared to Mel Torme, and we can see why. His voice has a floating quality that gets in your head and won't leave."

Vannatter is that and more, and he'll be back on the Cape July 11 at 6pm at PAAM in Provincetown, and then Oct 6 at 7pm, at the Cape Cod Cultural Center in Yarmouth.

Hyannis and the Island Merchant

Early Sunday, after biking around Provincetown and foot-long hot dogs in Lopes Square, we headed to Main Street, Hyannis and the Island Merchant's monthly jazz workshop from 4 to 7pm every third Sunday of the month.

I misspent my youth in  NYC jazz clubs like Birdland, the Blue Note and Village Gate, and haven't really enjoyed jazz here since The Columns in Dennis closed decades ago.

Bart Weisman's Jazz Workshop at the Island Merchant is everything these venues were and more. You will sate both your musical and food appetites, because the place has the best Pulled Pork sandwich I ever had for a modest $13, and Bart's jazz is free.

During the three-plus hours Bart and his two cohorts payed, at two dozen other professional jazz men and women sat in, one comely young blonde woman came all the way from New Hampshire and a cool male trumpet player hied in from Providence.

The only problem  will telling you this is that now you'll go, and I probably won't be able to get in. Even in early April the Island Merchant was standing room.

The 2012 Provincetown Jazz Festival

The next stop on anyone's jazz quest this year has got to be the Provincetown Jazz Festival August 11 and 13.

“It always comes back to the ingenious ways Bart continues to promote jazz and create performance opportunities all up and down the Cape."

Check out the schedule, venues and performers here. See Dane Vannatter again below:

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