Just when you thought there wasn’t anything new or unique in New York City, some new-fangled thing always pops us. Right now, it’s The 125!
The only pop-up speakeasy in Manhattan, maybe even on the planet! It’s behind a nondescript storefront at 125 East 47th Street, it’s operated by the Roger Smith Hotel and John Knowles of Pan Man Productions and features entertainment in association with legendary press agent, Jules Feiler, who’s more like a friend than a rep to the many clients who have remained with him for over 20 years.
So what’s the but? You have to be invited to get through the doors. Only four or five score desirables are told the where’s, when’s and who’s of each event. First you get to stop and shop at whatever pop-up retail emporium is ensconced in the foyer for the evening. Then you whisper that evening’s password to the right guys, which opens a second door. You stroll through the bar, walk down a short flight of stairs to an intimate inner sanctum and find a spot where you’d like to sip and enjoy the evening’s entertainment. The 125 is presently only greeting select guests on select nights, but since it dispensed its first password two weeks ago, shows by iconic jazz drummer Billy Kaye’s quartet, Dave Matthews Band violinist Boyd Tinsley’s latest find, Crystal Garden, and singer/songwriter, star-in-the-making Chloe Temtchine, already have performers and audiences buzzing and asking who they have to know to get invited.
Billy Kaye has been a professional drummer for more than 60 years, starting with Percy Mayfield in 1950, He’s played with the Illinois Jacquet and the George Benson Quartets, performed and recorded with the greatest artists in jazz and blues including Benny Green, Houston Person, Stanley Turrentine, Thelonius Monk and almost anyone else you can name. He’s even led guitar and trumpet workshops at the original Newport Jazz Festival for George Wein, and at age 84 he continues to perform, compose, teach and produce with no plans for retirement.
Tinsley’s been spending his spare time – the hours when he isn’t playing with the Dave Matthews Band ― listening and meeting with new talent and feels sure he’s struck platinum with Crystal Garden – a really tight modern day rock band, made up of very talented young musicians from Seattle, San Francisco and Toronto who recently co-headlined with Jefferson Starship in San Francisco. “I think these guys ― Mycle Wastman on vocals, Charlie Csontos on bass, Matt Frewen on drums, and James Frost-Winnon on trumpet ― are as good, if not better than anyone else playing today,” Tinsley says. Crystal Garden opened The 125 and they’ll be coming back again soon. Tinsley’s producing their upcoming CD, which will also feature Stanley Jordan on guitar and Tinsley on violin.
As for singer/songwriter Chloe Temtchine, her supermodel looks, intoxicating sex appeal, sultry, soulful voice and talent make her a natural for the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine. She’s a natural talent, at home on a stage or in a recording studio, who plays guitar and piano/keyboards and is fluent in English, French and Spanish. Her accomplishments, despite the obstacles she faces, have been simply incredible. In 2013, Chloe Temtchine was completing her album, No Pressure, with Grammy nominated producer Greg Camp, when she suddenly found herself unable to breathe. She was rushed to the ICU and diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension, which now requires her to perform with an almost invisible thin breathing tube supplying oxygen to her from a cylinder (which she’s affectionately nicknamed Steve “Martin”} by her side.
Pulmonary Hypertension has altered her life but has not stopped her. Her husband, Marvin Acuna, created a visual map of her future for her that allowed her to see and believe that it would exist. Temtchine participated in strenuous physical therapy during her recuperation and she’s focusing on living again and writing marvelous songs like The Meaning of Time and Breathe which you’ll hear when she plays The 125 again. Click the arrow in the above video clip or check Chloe out at The 125 on YouTube.