The beat goes on for Highland Park’s favorite jazz musician John Bianculli at different in-town location(s) from his previous performance space. The Italian Bistro had hosted John and other internationally acclaimed jazz artists before the restaurant suddenly closed at the beginning of July.
Skilled pianist, composer, and long-time Highland Park resident John Bianculli will be performing at Pino’s (13 North Fourth Avenue) on Saturday, August 20, and at Lotus Studios (431 Raritan Avenue)on Friday, August 26.
“It is indeed shocking and sad,” said John, that Highland Park’s Italian Bistro, which had become the region’s renowned venue for jazz music, “has closed its doors.” Reportedly a landlord dispute was the impetus for the closing, but the Italian Bistro, said John, just may reopen in Highland Park at some point this year.
“The saddest part for myself and many others, much more than the loss of another restaurant or a steady gig (which we musicians have experienced often) is the big loss for our community and beyond as a place to enjoy ourselves with family, friends, colleagues, good food and drink, a variety of good music, good conversation, laughter and getting to know each other better in a comfortable setting. It was becoming a real scene for many musicians to play and meet,” he said.
Rebecca Hersh, the executive director of Main Street Highland Park, spoke about the community’s overall loss. “Main Street Highland Park is always sorry to see any business leave town, especially one like the Italian Bistro, which offered delicious high-end Italian cuisine and was a great venue for live music in town,” she said. “We hope that a new place opens in that space soon, because any vacant space hurts the other businesses in town. In the meantime, we are working to help the local musicians find other great spaces downtown to perform, so people won’t have to miss any of the live performances!”
Hundreds of jazz aficionados have expressed their support for John on his Facebook page, through Main Street Highland Park, as well as in comments to The Highland Park Planet. For the most up to date information about upcoming performance times and locations, please check John Bianculli on Facebook or website: http://www.johnbiancullimusic.com/gigs.html