Saratoga Performing Art Center's Live at the Jazz Bar series began during the 2017 summer season. Sponsored by Freihofer's, the events featured live jazz music by renowned local, regional, and New York City–based ensembles performing in the historic Hall of Springs in Spa Park.
Saratoga Living arrived about 15 minutes before the start of the latest event on Nov. 16, which was set to usher in the winter season. The hall was beautifully staged and the lighting was lovely and despite the free entry, few attendees had arrived.
But that all changed about five minutes before the event was set to begin. Audience members began arriving in waves and by the time that Diane Lachtrupp and Johnny Martinez of Tango Fusion began their lively swing dance lessons, the hall was packed with enthusiastic dancers.
At the end of the dancing lesson, Annie and the Hedonists played a spirited set of swing dance music. Lead vocalist Annie Rosen's smooth vocals soared, while guitarist Johnny Rosen and bassist Don Young kept the rhythm pumping and good vibes flowing. The inspired solos by multitalented Peter Davis, particularly on clarinet, kept the dancers spinning and swinging right up to the last note.
Elizabeth Sobol, SPAC's president and chief executive officer, was in attendance with her husband, Grammy Award–winning musician Jorge Gomez. Excitedly, she told Saratoga Living, "We are creating a home for social dancing, as well as those who love great music in a hip and lively atmosphere."
Sobol added: "Stay tuned for SPAC announcements about more Live at the Jazz Bar events in the spring, and we will be announcing the summer lineup for the Jazz Bar in early 2018."