I recently played at Barbès—a very small music club in Brooklyn—improvising with two of my favorite musicians—guitarist Steve Cardenas and violinist Jenny Scheinman—in front of a full house of about 25 people.
During the performance, I announced that I'd be playing with my group at Carnegie Hall on February 3. After the show, someone from the audience came up to me and asked, "Are you really playing at Carnegie Hall?" I'm sure he meant no offense. But it got me thinking about how many jazz musicians enjoy the best of both worlds—performing in the most intimate setting for a handful of people one day and then on a world-famous stage the next.
Playing in a small club is like having a dinner party. Playing in a large venue is like hosting a banquet. Both are fun and rewarding in different ways and both play important roles in the lives of creative musicians.
Related:The Carnegie Hall DebutFebruary 3, Ben AllisonMay 11, Nadine Sierra and Carol Wong