By Crystal Harrell
The scene is set as the lounge lights dim into a soft glow above the stage where the band weaves into the groove of a swinging melody lost to the years and a songstress in glittering garb croons catchy verses urging spectators to dance. One would think they have traveled back in time to a 1920s jazz club, but in actuality, they are in the heart of present day Palm Springs in the Cascade Lounge at Agua Caliente Casino.
For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started, Jazzville Palm Springs has returned to entice audiences with the sounds of authentic band music and classic jazz performances of the 1920s and 1930s. July 1 marked the opening season show, featuring Lizzy & The Triggermen to perform a medley of vintage-tinged songs, accompanied by swing dancers and sultry choreography by the Cherry Bombs.
Jazzville offers straight-ahead, be-bop, swing, vintage, and Latin jazz, while occasionally hosting specialty variety shows including comedy and burlesque. The new Jazzville performance season has shows playing through September, and it is recommended to pick seats as soon as possible as the shows sell out quickly.
The Jazzville series is a live jazz scene presented by Barry Martin (DJ Baz) and Take Five Entertainment, featuring sound and lighting with pristine acoustics and plush seating, as well as a light menu with great cocktails and wine available throughout the show.
The origin of Jazzville can be traced back to one night when founder Barry Martin visited Oscar’s in Downtown Palm Springs in 2018 to hear a band play in the courtyard, where he happened upon a lounge inside and a stage accented with big velvet curtains and great acoustics. Martin thought it was the perfect place to perform jazz music, so he set about organizing an event with his partner Mark Alan.
“It all started organically. I would visit the jazz clubs in Los Angeles and get to know the names of the heavy-hitters. That made us start a Jazzville event at Oscar’s and we sold enough tickets to pay the band, so I was as happy as a clam! That was our first show and we’ve been growing ever since,” stated Martin.
Jazzville eventually outgrew Oscar’s and then took place across the street at Hotel Zoso. The event was held there for a year and a half until the new venue could no longer accommodate it. Wang’s in the Desert was the last home Jazzville had before the pandemic hit in 2020, with the new 2021 season acting as a rebirth at Agua Caliente Casino.
“Barry is a jazz aficionado. His repertoire of music and understanding is unlike any other person I’ve ever come across. I feel this has been a long time coming with him finding the muse at Oscar’s and making Jazzville what it is today. When people think of jazz music in the scene or need suggestions, they usually go to Barry,” said co-founder Mark Alan.
Another important player in the formation of Jazzville is Adam Levy, who was working as the Marketing Director for the Hotel Zoso three and a half years ago when he met Barry. They talked about bringing Jazzville to the Zoso—an event that Levy was already familiar with.
“When Barry shared his vision with me, I could see where he was going with it. Originally he wanted to bring Jazzville to our restaurant and I immediately had bigger plans for it in our nightclub. Ever since, I’ve always been trying to push the envelope for how big we can make Jazzville,” stated Executive Producer Adam Levy.
The team of three has successfully established Jazzville as an immersive experience full of high-class production value that transports audiences to a bygone decade. While there are no local acts that play at the event, there is fresh, outsourced talent that will be new to desert guests who attend a show.
“We don’t have a gigantic budget; nobody in the jazz world has a lot of money to spend on a band. So a lot of this is about the love for music and sustaining jazz because if we stop hiring the musicians, the music would just dry up. Jazz used to be the only kind of music people would listen to 100 years ago, but things have changed and there’s a lot of competition now. We’re trying to keep jazz alive,” said Martin.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit jazzvillepalmsprings.com. All attendees must be 21 years of age or over. Doors open at 6 p.m. with a 7 p.m. showtime. No refunds are offered, but guests can exchange their tickets for a different show. Jazzville Palm Springs cannot take cash at the door per casino policy, but credit cards can be accepted at the door if seats are available.
Lia Booth Quintet
Luscious Vocals | Classic Jazz
The Jazz Cartel
9-piece Band | Crooner Jazz
Sandra Booker Quintet
Sultry Vocals | Jazz | R&B
Luke Carlsen Big Band
12-piece Big Band | Crooner Jazz
Angel Town Combo
Jazz | Neo-Soul | Ska
Pino Noir Quartet
Gypsy Swing | Django Reinhardt
Afro-Cuban Jazz | Salsa
Jetsetter Jazz | Martini Rock
Josh Nelson &
Kevin van den Elzen Quintet
West Coast Jazz | Special Guest Vocalist
Tony Guerrero Quintet
Straight-Ahead | Be Bop
Members of Royal Crown Revue | Burlesque
West Coast Prost
Oktoberfest Party Band!
Jazz from Brazil