By Patte Purcell

The most iconic jazz jam in the desert is undoubtedly the Melvyn’s Jam on Sunday afternoons from 3:30-7:30. Singers, musicians and happy revelers pack this hopping place to enjoy the sounds of local and national acts who sit in with the band. Some of the ‘names’ who’ve graced the jam microphone range from Kim Anderson (Dancing With the Stars) to Mick Avory (drummer for The Kinks) and superstar Rita Coolidge, just to name a few.

The man behind the keyboards, Mikael Healey, is the pianist/musical director and brings a wealth of experience and talent to this weekly event. He’s performed at Melvyn’s for over 6 years. His history begins with him playing the piano at age 5. He was very involved with the theatre in his younger years where he played and sang and musically directed.  This gave him an ‘encyclopedic knowledge of theatre’ as the press called it and led him into other great things.

Healey spent 14 years playing in Las Vegas. He started with comedienne Rusty Warren who introduced him to others. He played with the Righteous Brothers, Don Rickles and Reba Mc Intyre. He’s traveled the world 3 times on tour.

The Melvyn’s Jam brings him full circle back to the desert. He loves heading up the weekly show as it allows him to interface with people and he feels it’s a great honor.

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During the season, Healey does a single at Melvyns on Sundays, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights along with The Sunday Jam at 3:30. Some of the repertoire includes music from the Rat Pack and Great American songbook although he does some special selections. He says the music is dictated by the crowd and loves to make people happy.

His goals in life include remaining a student because “as a student all things are possible”.

He currently has 7 CDs that he’s recorded since he came to the desert.

You can find out more about him by visiting his website at www.maestromikael.com.

Melvyns is owned by Mel Haber, who visited Palm Springs as a respite from his hectic life in New York.

He came upon the Inn while strolling around town and fell in love with it on the spot. He bought it in April of 1975, completely renovating the entire property and created Melvyn’s Restaurant and the Casablanca Lounge and continues to cater to leaders of industry, show business and politics. They are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year.

If you haven’t had a chance to visit the iconic Melvyn’s in Palm Springs, for the jazz jam, it’s located in the Ingleside Inn, 200 W Ramon Rd, Palm Springs, CA 92264 (760) 325-2323.

pattepurcell@yahoo.com