Wayne Horvitz brings his band

Wayne Horvitz brings his band

IN THE PENINSULA SPOTLIGHT: Come to Port Townsend’s Key City cabaret

PORT TOWNSEND — Tonight at the Key City Playhouse, a new old thing begins.

Cabaret-style concerts, including one this evening by jazzman Wayne Horvitz and his band Sweeter Than the Day, will give music lovers an intimate house-concert feeling, organizer George Rezendes believes.

Rezendes has assembled a four-part series of shows for the playhouse at 419 Washington St., with pianist Horvitz tonight; blues guitarist Del Rey next Friday, June 8; singer-songwriter Simon Lynge on July 5; and the finale, bluegrass fiddler Laurie Lewis and mandolinist Tom Rozum on Aug. 5.

Rezendes, a Port Townsend musician and owner of the Toolshed SoundLab recording studio, has quite a few connections across the blues-bluegrass-Americana map. He’s wanted to bring some of his favorite artists here for house concerts, except in a slightly bigger house than his own.

Then, serendipitously, he caught Key City Public Theatre’s musical revue “Here’s to the Ladies!” in late 2010 at the Key City Playhouse, and saw the light.

“I thought: Wow. The acoustics were good; the vibe was right,” he recalled.

It just so happened that Denise Winter, Key City’s artistic director, had exactly the same idea.

“I said, ‘I want to do concerts.’ She said, ‘I want you to,’” Rezendes added.

And so Key City Cabaret was born.

At the premiere tonight, Rezendes predicts that Horvitz, a widely acclaimed player known for his keyboard work with the band Naked City, will fill the house with gorgeous modern jazz.

Horvitz and Sweeter Than the Day are experimentalists, but their music isn’t far out, Rezendes said. “It’s very accessible. It has a classical feel; very evocative and moody.”

Horvitz’s music “is really compelling,” he added. “You just don’t hear this stuff every day.”

The June 8 concert, featuring Rezendes’ friend Del Rey, will include plenty of ukulele along with the blues guitar. He said that Rey, like many of their fellow musicians, enjoys an intimate concert environment as much as the listener does.

“When I told her I wanted to do house concerts, her eyes lit up,” Rezendes said.

And while the playhouse is bigger than your average living room — it seats 80 — it doesn’t have the distractions of your average nightclub. The bar, with wine, cocktails and snacks, is out in the lobby.

“So you can get your drink and bring it in,” said Rezendes. “It’s a cabaret.”

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. for tonight’s show; the music will start at 8 p.m. Tickets to all Key City Playhouse concerts are $15 at www.KeyCityPublicTheatre.org; Port Townsend outlets also include Quimper Sound, 230 Taylor St., and Crossroads Music, 2100 Lawrence St.

More information about the series and other Key City Public Theatre productions awaits too at 360-379-0195.

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