I had heard an audio interview by Jason Crane on The Jazz Session about Donny McCaslin. I liked the way he plays sax, and noted that he lives in New York City. Thus, with a business trip down to the area, I tracked down Donny playing in a trio at Louis 649.
The drummer and bass player seemed to be friends of Donny, and this was a rather loose gig. I spoke with Danny — he had been in Toronto just a few weeks earlier for the IAJE convention. I bought his CDs so that I can listen at home.
Louis 649 is a small bar in the Lower East Side. The trio took almost the entire width of the building. It’s a narrow storefront, and with just enough width for a bar, and then a line of stools along the other wall.
There may have been 6 or 8 stools with a good view of the trio. In the back were some tables where small parties could take over a table and talk over music in the background.
Donny is well known as a sideman in New York. A small club like Louis 649 gives him the opportunity play and work out his own material to see how audiences enjoy his compositions and interpretations.