Jazz pianist and impresario Marjorie Eliot never misses a beat. More importantly, she never misses a Sunday.
She’s been holding weekly jazz concerts at her Harlem Apartment every Sunday afternoon since in 1995.
Her son Rudel Drears also performs.
“It’s free of charge and people just really come here to hear live jazz in intimate setting,” said Drears. “That’s the only reason to come here, to hear live jazz.”
Drears’ mother, a longtime pianist, started playing in her home after the death of her son, Phil. More recently, she lost another son, Michael, but says she continues to find comfort in the music – and the people.
“Well, at the heart of this, are the incredible people who come here,” said Eliot. “They are the very idea of the celebration and I celebrate my sons, Michael and Phil, and the people who come here are my family. It is my hope that Rudel supports this effort to carry this on.”
Sedric Choukroun came nearly nine years ago with his saxophone to listen to Eliot, but has been playing with her ever since.
“It’s about being together. It’s about being among friends, family,” he said.
On any given Sunday, you can find world travelers along side regulars who have been coming for years.
“Well I’ve been coming for 14 years,” said patron Bess Mullings. “Right after church, she can depend on me.”
“I take piano lessons and I come to listen to the concerts,” said fellow patron Christina Adaway.
“There was a year when I was just here every Sunday,” said Ewa Bronowicz, a third patron. “This is very inspiring for me. It’s almost like my home in a way.”
From the hallway you can hear the music, but Rudel says neighbors don’t seem to mind. In fact, many of the neighbors are inside Eliot’s apartment, enjoying the sounds.
“In the beginning, in the early days, they weren’t sure what we were doing here,” said Rudel. “But now they pretty much enjoy themselves.”
Parlor Jazz at Marjorie Eliot’s
4 p.m – 6:30 p.m.
555 Edgecombe Avenue at 160th Street
APT 3F New York, NY