Scullers Jazz Club: 20 Years of Jazz 1989-2009, it seems unbelievable. Itâ€™s trite I know, but itâ€™s true, time flies when you are having fun with your friends. We know we are blessed to say that 2008 was our best year in our 20 year history and we are already two strong months into another exciting year.
I feel like I say this all the time, but we are so lucky and I am just so lucky too. Twenty years, and so many incredible shows, so many great friends weâ€™ve made along the way and the memories just keep on coming. Iâ€™ve been here for the last ten and what a ten theyâ€™ve been, aside from a unique and incredibly inspiring learning experience, I will always cherish the memories that have paved the way to where we are today.
You never realize what you stockpile in your brain. In fact, it wasnâ€™t until I was asked in a radio interview to go down memory lane that I realized what Iâ€™ve accumulated from this journey thus far. I remember the afternoon the legendary Toots Thielemans and I spent two hours in the back of a minivan on our way to New Hampshire to meet Matt Lauer for an interview on the Today Show. Toots presented me with a tiny Honer harmonica and gave me my one and only lesson. I can still do a mean opening line of Sesame Street on that thing. I remember Rebecca Parris, Shirley Horn and I had quite a post show experience, a night that just wouldnâ€™t end. Shirley had a Drambuie in one hand and a Heinken in the other, and she held court in a session that lasted into the wee hours of the morning until I literally crawled into the one of our hotel rooms. I received quite an education that night.
I remember the night Gato Barbieri just seconds before going on stage dropped his sax. We crammed the whole band into my tiny office and called every saxophonist in town we knew. Gato insisted all he needed was a flashlight and a coat hanger (I am serious here.) Finally Billy Pierce showed up with his tenor just about the time Gato proclaimed his own sax was now fully operational. One and a half hours later, the crowd was treated to one heck of a show, riding on Gatoâ€™s horn.
Oh and dare I forget, the night the music wouldnâ€™t die!! This is really one of my favorites. Dee Dee Bridgewater wouldnâ€™t end the set. After an incredible two hour late show, she kept taking requests from every audience member who had one. At one point, she just sang solo because the band gave up trying to remember how to play all these random songs. When hotel guests came down in their pajamas to complain, she asked them what their favorite songs were, serenaded them and by 2am, everyone in the place, including the guests in pajamas, were standing on the chairs holding up candles to a percussion of songs one right after the next. What a night!
Iâ€™ve spoken many times of the incredible firsts the club has had, when Diana Krall, Norah Jones, Jamie Cullam, Michael Buble and Chris Botti made their Boston debuts right on our stage. However, I think what resonates with me more were all the lasts. I had no idea when Ray Brown provided me his wisdom on how to improve my golf swing and we promised to play when he came back the following year, he would be gone by the end of that Summer. I wish I knew when Lou Rawls, Fred and I dined with Lydia Shire at Locke Ober, that he was already dying of brain and lung cancer and this would be his last trip to Scullers. The list goes on, Grover Washington Jr., Bobby Short, Joe Williams, Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, Esbjorn Svensson, David â€śFatheadâ€ť Newmanâ€¦. I am so happy they played a role in our legacy and perhaps, and I say this humbly, we all played a role in theirs.
We have also made friends here that have never taken the stage, never sang a song, played a chord. They are you. Alexandra, Fred, Natalie, Matt, Jim, Carole and the whole staff--we see you all the time, we know you by name, weâ€™ve celebrated birthdays and anniversaries together and we feel as if we are all friends sharing these experiences together, and what a ride itâ€™s been. Twenty years and still rollingâ€¦.
As we look toward our collective future together, our Scullers family, is about to get a little smaller. Scullers is about to lose two of its biggest supporters. For many of you, Chris Coffin and John Ralston are names you might not recall and perhaps even a picture might not trigger your memory. However, Chris and John as the General Manager and Food & Beverage Director, respectively, for the hotel for the last nine years have played pivotal roles in the success of the club and their achievements have been the cornerstones supporting the club in reaching this milestone.
John is moving on to a great opportunity for him and his family and we all wish him the best. Many times I relied on him for his counsel, his level head and his thoughful prospective on just about any topic. As for Chris, he leaves Scullers and the hotel in such a vastly better place then where he found it. Everyone here, especially me, hope he knows that Scullers success and longevity is directly attributable to his hard work and dedication. I know there were days when Chris might have thought hostage release negotiation would have been a walk in the park then dealing with some of our craziness. So as we celebrate our 20th, we remember two team members whose energy, determination and long hours made this day possible.
To Chris and John, we couldn't have done it without you; you will be missed.
Until next time, weâ€™ll catch you at the show,
Dayla Arabella Santurri
Scullers Jazz Club
Scullers Jazz Club at the Doubletree Suites by Hilton Hotel Boston 400 Soldiers Field Road Boston, MA 02134
For tickets and information: 617.562.4111 Email: Info@ScullersJazz.com Ticket purchases are non-refundable.