Todd Barkan’s Keystone Korner Nights at Iridium featured in New York Times

Summoning a West Coast Spirit

by Nate Chinen. Published: 28th February, 2013 | link

Todd Barkan, who once ran Keystone Korner, the fabled San Francisco jazz club, at Iridium’s first Keystone Korner Nights show in January.  (Photo: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times)

Todd Barkan, who once ran Keystone Korner, the fabled San Francisco jazz club, at Iridium’s first Keystone Korner Nights show in January. (Photo: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times)

There was no outward sign of transition at the Iridium in January, as Jimmy Cobb smoothly powered an all-star band from his perch behind the drums. But the mood among the capacity crowd was both festive and knowing. Mr. Cobb and crew weren’t just remembering the great jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery. They were also inaugurating Keystone Korner Nights, the Iridium’s new jazz series, booked by Todd Barkan.

Named after Keystone Korner, the fabled San Francisco club that Mr. Barkan ran from 1972 until it closed just over a decade later, the series held the promise of a reboot for the Iridium, which has been unfocused with its jazz offerings in recent years. It also signaled a new chapter for Mr. Barkan, 66, who last fall resigned as programming director for Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, the in-house nightclub of Jazz at Lincoln Center.

It has all amounted to a subtle shift in the Manhattan jazz club firmament, one probably felt most acutely by the many patrons who had grown accustomed to Mr. Barkan’s garrulous bonhomie at Dizzy’s Club, since it opened in 2004 on the fifth floor of the Time Warner Center. The Iridium, hunkered beneath Ellen’s Stardust Diner, a tourist trap on Broadway at 51st Street, seemed to present another challenge for him: it’s a first-tier club that has too often embraced a spirit of brazen commercialism, which isn’t really Mr. Barkan’s style.

Read full article on NYTimes.com

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2 Responses to Todd Barkan’s Keystone Korner Nights at Iridium featured in New York Times

  1. Ishmael Reed says:

    Hey todd, ishmael reed here. how abt holding the 34th annual American Book Awards at the Iridium? Oct,7, 2-5. You held one abt 20 yrs ago at the Keystone.We’re now competitive with the other major awards. Wash Post says we’re the Am league to the Nat book awards,
    Let’s talk. Ishmael

    • toddbarkan says:

      Dear Ishmael, Wonderful and honored to hear from you. Apologize that it has taken so long to respond, but this note went into the spam filter of my website by some cybernetic wizardry. I would be honored to try and hold the American Book Awards at either the IRIDIUM or, even better, at 54 Below (www.54below.com) where I host a Tuesday night WBGO JAZZ SERIES as well. Unlike the situation at Keystone Korner in San Francisco, I do not own or control either of these venues, but I do book, produce, and curate a jazz series at each of them. Please be so kind as to personally e-mail me at toddbarkan@gmail.com or call me at my home phone of 718.432.1737 or mobile 917.684.0624 so I can understand in detail what it would take to host one of these wonderful award ceremonies so I can sincerely propose this to the owners. Here is a bit of information about 54Below http://soa.li/qTN2B5a and Iridium http://nyti.ms/146DnJv and an update about me http://jazztimes.com/articles/27214 All my love, gratitude, and respect, Todd Barkan

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