The Living Room Restaurant and Lounge transformed into a Jazz Club on October 3 to host a fully-attended concert with virtuoso jazz pianist Emmet Cohen, sponsored by Neil and Meghan Denenberg, to benefit the North End Music & Performing Arts Center (NEMPAC).
For this special evening, walls were removed, additional seating was repositioned, lighting and sound were adjusted, and a Yamaha grand piano was added in preparation for Emmet Cohen’s performance. An eager audience of jazz and piano lovers of all ages packed the location and introductions began as scheduled.
“I would like to thank the audience and everyone who made this event possible, especially sponsors Neil and Meghan Denenberg, who have been strong supporters of NEMPAC and its mission to provide accessible, quality music education and performing arts programming to the North End and neighboring communities serving 1,400 students per week with 27 faculty.”
“this growth makes it even more vital that the organization get more space, a new building to accommodate the growing needs for the arts in our community. We are also so thankful for businesses like The Living Room, hosting tonight, who provide the opportunity to use their space for performing events such as this one.” —Sherri Snow, NEMPAC Executive Director
Neil and Meghan continued Sherri’s introduction and impressed upon the audience the importance of supporting NEMPAC and its work in the community. They introduced Emmet with strong admiration and personal recollections of how they met and the healing power of his music during a difficult time while recovering from health issues.
The program opened with Emmet’s sophisticated performance of the jazz standard “A Sleepin’ Bee” composed by Harold Arlen. Emmet’s classical repertoire covered pieces by key jazz composers such as Willie “The Lion” Smith, Due Ellington, “Overjoyed” by Stevland Hardaway Morris (better known by Stevie Wonder), and an original composition, to name a few, that showcased his fluidity, technique and virtuosity and kept everyone’s feet tapping.
Throughout the night, Emmet spoke about the influence of music in his life growing up, during his formative years, and how it touched his life. He introduced the songs referencing the soulful and spiritual nature of jazz, speaking to the audience intimately, with a touch of humor, sharing personal anecdotes and hints of historical lessons acknowledging the masters along his journey, to set the tone.
“Share music with someone…and know it will change your life in ways that you’d have never imagined.” —Emmet Cohen
Although Emmet Cohen has played around the country and across the world in Europe, Russia, Asia, and Latin America, this was his first concert in Boston. He is a multifaceted jazz pianist and composer, and one of his generation’s pivotal artistic figures. He has collaborated with many jazz figures including Ron Carter, Benny Golson, George Coleman, and Bill T. Jones, and has appeared in world-renowned events such as the Newport Jazz Festival, Monterey, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and North Sea Jazz Festivals.
The North End Music & Performing Arts Center (NEMPAC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community arts organization operating out of the heart of the North End and surrounding communities in Boston. Founded in 2001, NEMPAC has enriched Boston’s North End Waterfront and local neighborhoods through quality, affordable music education and performing arts programs. As a growing Performing Arts Center, they engage their audiences with creative, quality, and innovative programming.
To learn more, you can visit www.nempacboston.org.