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Tom Manuel

Melanie Marod

The Jazz Loft, in partnership with Stony Brook University and Stony Brook Medicine continues its 2023 Summer Stage With A Purpose (Summer SWAP), an outdoor concert series of Thursday evenings throughout the summer, with a performance by vocalist Melanie Marod on Thursday Aug. 10 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Marod has performed at Birdland, The Blue Note, The Oak Room at The Plaza Hotel, and the Carlton. The band includes Michael O’Brien on bass; Paul Francis on drums; John Simon on sax and flute’ and Pete Smith on guitar.

The free event will be held on the front lawn of the Jazz Loft, 275 Christian Ave., Stony Brook and is a wonderful way to experience all that Stony Brook village and our community businesses have to offer.

“This series was born from the desire to have the Jazz Loft collaborate with Stony Brook University, and Stony Brook Medicine as a way to invest in the community and especially to nurture cultural development,” said Jazz Loft founder Tom Manuel.

“We are so proud that Thomas Manuel, a member of our university community, has established the Jazz Loft, which celebrates the history and performance of jazz,” said Judith Greiman, Chief Deputy to the President/Senior Vice President for Government and Community Relations. “We welcomed the opportunity to sponsor these shows, enabling our broader community to come together to enjoy extraordinary musical talent.”

The Jazz Loft will be offering a variety of refreshments for sale in the Basie Garden which is adjacent to the Jazz Loft. Attendees are welcome to bring their own chairs and blankets to set up on the lawn.

The series continues with a performance by The Phoenix Big Band on Aug. 24.

For more information contact the Jazz Loft at: 631-751-1895 or visit https://www.thejazzloft.org

Caption: Thomas Manuel, Jazz Loft founder and cornet player, is passionate about celebrating the compositions of The Great American Songbook. A free quartet performance will be performed at The Simons Center On Tuesday, August 8 at 5 p.m. Photo courtesy of The Jazz Loft

The Jazz Loft’s All Star Quartet will be premiering a performance of an original composition by Jazz Loft founder Thomas Manuel. The performance will take place on Tuesday, August 8, at 5 p.m. as part of the Art and Outreach Program at the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics (SCGP) at Stony Brook University. The performance at the SCGP is free and open to the public.

The performance will be a concert that celebrates The Great American Songbook and features compositions by George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Harry Warren, and many others. Manuel’s all-star quartet will feature Larry Fuller on piano; Dean Johnson on Bass; and Dan Pugach on drums.

Fuller is an internationally-acclaimed jazz pianist based in New York. Fuller performs in a mainstream jazz style and is also the leader of the “Larry Fuller Trio.” Johnson is a bassist who has performed and recorded with groups such as the Pual Jost Quartet and worked on projects with Roseanna Vitro and Bill Mays. Pugach is a Grammy-nominated drummer and composer who lives in Brooklyn, New York. He is also the leader of The Dan Pugach Nonet, a nine-piece ensemble that plays original music and arrangements by Pugach.

“I am thrilled to be returning to the Simons Center with such an incredible lineup of musicians,” Manuel states. “I welcome this chance to be blessed with the chance to perform alongside some of the greats! This quartet features some of the biggest names in Jazz today and the concert promises to be a joyous, celebratory swingin’ romp!”

For more information visit https://www.thejazzloft.org.



Photo from The Jazz Loft

Located at 275 Christian Avenue in Stony Brook, The Jazz Loft offers a month of great music in July:

Wednesday, July 5

Young at Heart: Requests! at 1 p.m.

Tom Manuel and the Jazz Loft Trio will take requests from the audience for this month’s Young at Heart. Young at Heart is a monthly themed afternoon jazz concert series to help seniors enjoy and remember familiar tunes.

Tickets: $10

Wednesday, July 5

Jazz 101: Long Island Jazz Legends with Darrell Smith

6 p.m.

Tickets: $15

Wednesday, July 5

Jam Session at 7 p.m.

Jam Sessions are led by Keenan Zach Jazz and musicians of all ages are invited to play on stage along with fellow Jazz enthusiasts.

Tickets: $10, after 8 p.m. $5

Thursday, July 6 at 7 p.m.

Viva Cuba!

17 piece Latin Big Band directed by Tom Manuel celebrating the music of Prez Prado, Xavier Cugat, Machito, Tito Puente and others

Tickets: $40 Adult, $35 Senior, $30 Student, $25 Child

Friday, July 7 at 7 p.m.

Viva Cuba!

17 piece Latin Big Band directed by Tom Manuel celebrating the music of Prez Prado, Xavier Cugat, Machito, Tito Puente and others

Tickets: $40 Adult, $35 Senior, $30 Student, $25 Child

Wednesday, July 12 at 7 p.m.

Jam Session 

Jam Sessions are led by Keenan Zach Jazz and musicians of all ages are invited to play on stage along with fellow Jazz enthusiasts.

Tickets: $10, after 8 p.m. $5

Thursday, July 13 at 6 p.m.

Summer Swap

The Jazz Loft will be holding four outdoor Summer Swap concerts on the Jazz Loft front lawn throughout the summer. This show will feature the Equity Brass Band and is FREE! 

The Summer Swap series is sponsored by Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn, Stony Brook University and Stony Brook Medicine.

FREE on the Jazz Loft lawn

Tuesday, July 18 at 7 p.m.

Jazz Loft Bottle Launch Wine Tasting

The Jazz Loft will be offering concert goers the option of purchasing wine by the bottle at performances. To get a taste of the wine list, The Jazz Loft Bottle Launch will give attendees an opportunity to taste the new selection of wines, with wine specialist Paul Yolango of Opici Wines and Laura Landor of the Jazz Loft. The evening includes a tasting of each wine and discussion of the flavor profiles.

Tickets are $25 and $10 for Friends Circle members.

Wednesday, July 19 

Jam Session at 7 p.m.

Jam Sessions are led by Keenan Zach Jazz and musicians of all ages are invited to play on stage along with fellow Jazz enthusiasts.

Tickets: $10, after 8 p.m. $5

Thursday, July 20 at 7 p.m.

The Bad Little Big Band

The 12-member Bad Little Big Band led by pianist Rich Iacona and featuring vocalist Madeline Kole presents fresh and new arrangements.

Tickets: $30 Adult, $25 Senior, $20 Student, $15 Child

Wednesday, July 26 at 7 p.m.

Jam Session 

Jam Sessions are led by Keenan Zach Jazz and musicians of all ages are invited to play on stage along with fellow Jazz enthusiasts.

Tickets: $10, after 8 p.m. $5

Thursday, July 27 at 7 p.m. 

Interplay Jazz Orchestra

The 16-piece Interplay Jazz Orchestra performs original compositions and arrangements written by band members.

Tickets: $30 Adult, $25 Senior, $20 Student, $15 Child

Friday, July 28 at 7 p.m.

Yvonick Prene Quartet with Dayna Stephens, tenor saxophone

Yvonick Prene, harmonica, Dayna Sean Stephens, tenor saxophone.

Tickets: $30 Adult, $25 Senior, $20 Student, $15 Child

Saturday, July 29 at 7 p.m.

Bull Mays Trio

Bill Mays, piano, Dean Johnson, bass, Ron Vincent, drums

Tickets: $30 Adult, $25 Senior, $20 Student, $15 Child


For tickets, visit www.thejazzloft.org. For more information, call 631-751-1895.


From left, Joshua Landress of J. Landress Brass and Tom Manuel with the gold-plated cornet recently acquired by The Jazz Loft. Photo courtesy of The Jazz Loft

The Jazz Loft’s Museum contains more than 10,000 pieces of jazz relics, including sheet music, instruments, recordings, artwork and furniture once owned by some of the Jazz greats. The Jazz Loft’s memorabilia come from as close as New York City and as far away as Europe! How does it get to Stony Brook? Look no further than Jazz Loft founder and President Tom Manuel, who is always on the lookout for something fresh and unique that can fit inside a rented van.

Recently, Manuel has been scouring the streets of New York City in search of something with a great story behind it…and he found it at the J. Landress Brass store on 38 West 32nd Street Suite 908 which is owned by Joshua Landress. The latest Jazz Loft acquisition—a 1978 gold-plated King Super 20 cornet that was used by Wild Bill Davison—came all the way from Europe, and serendipitously made its way to New York City. A defining feature of the cornet is that it’s highly engraved and even has Wild Bill Davison’s name on it.

Davison was an American Jazz cornet player who had a career that lasted 70 years. Throughout his career he worked with over hundreds of bands and made more than 20 albums between the years of 1965 and 1975.

Davison was known for his astounding playing and musicianship and always knew how to amuse the audience with his uncanny ability to play while chewing gum, without missing a single note and is best remembered for his association with Eddie Condon, with whom he worked and recorded music with from mid 1940s until Condon’s last concert. One of his most well-known songs was “Blue and Broken Hearted” that he played alongside Condon and Edmond Hall. Davison got to play with bands such as the Ohio Lucky Seven, The All-Star Stompers, George Wettling’s All Stars, and Art Hodes’ Hot Five.

“I am thrilled to be adding this outstanding item to the Jazz Loft’s museum holdings,” Manuel said. “Wild Bill Davison’s gold-plated cornet is not only a beautiful work of art visually, but an instrument that represents one of the early practitioners of Jazz.”

The gold-plated cornet is not only on display at The Jazz Loft, but Manuel is very excited to get the chance to use the cornet in future performances.

Located at 275 Christian Avenue in Stony Brook, the museum is open Thursdays to Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. Admission fee is $10. For more information, visit www.thejazzloft.org.

The Jazz Loft

The Jazz Loft, 275 Christian Ave., Stony Brook will present three special performances of Duke Ellington’s Far East Suite by The Jazz Loft Big Band on Thursday, June 1; Friday, June 2; and Saturday, June 3.

The Far East Suite is a 1967 concept album by Ellington, inspired by his group’s 1963 tour of Asia. Ellington and longtime collaborator Billy Strayhorn wrote the compositions. The album won the Grammy Award in 1968. The concerts are sponsored in part by the Olivia and Harlan Fischer Concert series and a grant from New York State Council on the Arts.

“Here at the Jazz Loft, we are always striving to bring our audience unique and significant works of Jazz and to keep those works alive and well,” said Tom Manuel, founder of the Jazz Loft. “Duke Ellington’s Far East Suite is the result of an ambitious tour that the band undertook back in the 60’s. I am excited to be sharing this work nearly 60 years after it won a Grammy award.”

All three performances of the Far East Suite will be at 7 p.m. Tickets are $40 adults, $35 seniors, $30 students and $25 children. To order, visit www.thejazzloft.org.

Tom Manuel Photo by Adam Hurewitz

By Thomas Manuel

From the ancient Greeks to Ben Franklin, Andrew Carnegie, George Clooney, Bill Gates, and countless individuals in between, philanthropy, a love for humanity and a desire to see it thrive, has been a common thread. It has been said that effective philanthropy requires a lot of time and creativity; the same kind of focus and skills that building a business requires. Miriam Beard once pointed out, “The results of philanthropy are always beyond calculation.”

Philanthropic giving is not just a phenomenon found in certain parts of the world, rather it is a spirit of giving back which is global. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair of Great Britain in speaking about philanthropy expanded that the best philanthropy is not just about giving money but giving leadership. The best philanthropists bring the gifts that made them successful — the drive, the determination, the refusal to accept that something can’t be done. These are the characteristics they invest  into their philanthropy.

There are many reasons that drive and motivate philanthropy and not all are fueled by great passion for causes or humility. For every person that seeks anonymity there is another who desires their name be etched in stone. Regardless the motivation, our society at large has been beneficiary to philanthropic giving since the dawn of time.

Those of us in the arts tend to be especially in tune with the concept of patronage. Our forefathers such as Beethoven and Bach thrived upon such support and although terminology has evolved since their time, most artists would agree that it is a healthy combination of donors, grants, sponsors, and our regular concert going patrons who collectively produce our living.

Finding the correct way to properly thank a donor is about as easy as sneaking an elephant out of a circus tent! I recall inquiring once with a very special person, one who without his support so much of what both The Jazz Loft and my career has become would not have been possible, why he didn’t come to more events. He responded, “Do you really want to know why I don’t come to anything?” To which I replied, “Yes, I do!” To this he quickly quipped, “Because every time I show up you thank me!”

Over the years I’ve found joy in getting to know every individual that supports The Jazz Loft. I’ve truly enjoyed figuring out and discovering who finds appreciation in a letter, who welcomes a phone call, or who enjoys an annual summer lunch get together for a lobster sandwich and a beer. It’s actually one of my favorite parts of running a not-for-profit — getting to know amazing people, building real and genuine relationships, and forging what I know will be some lifetime friendships.

I was inspired to write this op-ed out of the desire to find a way to capture in words the gratitude I feel towards the philanthropists among us. Our community was literally designed and built by a philanthropist, Ward Melville. When I think of the names of those who have continued that bold tradition of giving and support, I resist sharing specific names, but suffice it to say you all know who they are even if you don’t know them personally. 

Chances are you bought your house from them, or perhaps they’ve managed your retirement through the years. You might get your morning coffee from them or chat with them when you’re picking up your kid from school. They might volunteer or help run one of our many outstanding museums, art galleries, community institutions or preservation organizations. Maybe they fixed your car recently or you’ve bumped into them about town, at an outdoor concert, or in your favorite park. They’re quite often invisible, or as we say in Jazz, “tippin’ on the QT.”

What I do know is that no matter how little or how much in the spotlight or foreground they choose to be, these individuals are an incredible part of the fabric of who we are as a community. They are an invaluable resource, beyond definition, and without question an incredible gift to us all. 

I consider it an honor and a privilege to serve our community in the positions and places I’ve been blessed to be and I’m inspired by those who are the philanthropists among us. To all of you out there, and you know who you are, THANK YOU!

Author Thomas Manuel, DMA is a Jazz historian, Artist in Residence at Stony Brook University, trumpet player and President and Founder of The Jazz Loft, 275 Christian Ave., Stony Brook. For more information, visit www.thejazzloft.org.

From left, Jazz Loft Jazz Loft board member Darrell Smith, Linda Trotman and Jazz Loft founder Tom Manuel. Photo courtesy of The Jazz Loft

The Jazz Loft, 275 Christian Ave., Stony Brook announced on May 16 that Linda Trotman, daughter of bassist Lloyd Trotman, will be sponsoring a new concert series in honor of her father. The series will be supported with an annual $5,000 donation from Trotman to present bassists of note at the Jazz Loft.

Lloyd Trotman was bassist with Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn; was the “house” bassist for Atlantic Records; played on many notable hits, including Stand By Me, Yakety Yak, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, and Dinah Washington’s What A Difference A Day Makes.

The Trotman funding will be matched with the Robert Lion David Gardiner Foundation donation of $5,000, along with additionally pledged funds thanks to long standing Jazz Loft donors Dan Oliveri and Michael Ardolino of Realty Connect USA.  

“I would like to thank Jazz Loft board member Darrell Smith for taking the lead on project, for working first-hand with bassist Christian McBride to arrange a forthcoming Loft performance, and for producing an impressive soon-to-be-announced concert series,” said Tom Manuel, founder of the Jazz Loft.  “This has been a project LONG in the making and I’m so happy its finally coming into reality.” 

On May 25, Linda Trotman and the other donors will be present at a the Jazz Loft at a ceremony that will also mark what would have been Lloyd Trotman’s 100th birthday.

For more information, call 631-751-1895 or visit www.thejazzloft.org.

Sara Casell. Photo by Shervin Lainez

Grammy Nominee and world class violinist Sara Caswell and her quartet will be performing music from her new album The Way to You at the Jazz Loft on Friday, May 19 at 7 p.m.

Caswell will be performing with Jesse Lewis, guitar; Adam Cruze, drums; and Ike Sturm, bass.

“Sara Caswell and her quartet will certainly be filling the Jazz Loft with exceptional music” said Jazz Loft founder Tom Manuel. “I hope everyone will come out to help celebrate the release of her new album.”

Caswell has been voted into the DownBeat Critics and Readers Polls every year since 2013. The album features the stellar band that Caswell has led for the past decade.

Tickets are available on website www.thejazzloft.org for $30 Adult, $25 Senior, $20 Student, $15 Children or available to purchase at the door.


The Jazz Loft of Stony Brook announced Friday, April 28, the establishment of its affiliate, the Institute for New Music, as a “musical and artistic incubator.”

Stephen Nachmanovitch, musician and educator, uses ribbon-cutting scissors as a prop to explain the cutting of funds for the arts. Photo by Daniel Febrizio

Tom Manuel, founder of the Loft and president of INM, spoke at a press conference expressing his excitement for this brand-new endeavor.

“The mission of the Institute for New Music is to strengthen, inspire and ennoble individuals by their contact with newly created art,” he said. “We aim to aid in the discovery and the defense of the new, and we strive to give artists the support of a nurturing platform and foundation to develop their creative ideas.”

Manuel introduced members of INM’s board of directors. Entrepreneur and philanthropist Dan Oliveri is vice president. Treasurer Dawn Oliveri organized the day’s event, utilizing her strengths in public relations, marketing and design. Laura Landor, director of fine and performing arts for the Hauppauge school district, is the secretary. Paolo Bartolani was described by Manuel as a “pianist, musicologist and music manager, working in both classical and contemporary music.” The other board member, Cathy Salit, was unable to attend but Manuel described her as “an actor, improvisor, singer, social entrepreneur, an author and an executive coach.”

“As you can see, we have an outstanding team in place to champion the mission of the Institute for New Music,” Manuel said. “And I’m honored to have them on the board and I’m excited to see what their collective talents will produce.”

The INM president welcomed Stephen Nachmanovitch  to speak, introducing him as a “musician, author, artist and educator” who “performs and teaches internationally as an improvising violinist.” Nachmanovitch lamented the loss of funding and attention paid to the arts. 

Town of Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich presents Tom Manuel a proclamation. Photo by Daniel Febrizio

“There’s been so much cutting of funds for the arts, cutting of funds for education,” the violinist said. “What we’re going to do here with the Institute for New Music is to ‘uncut, unclip, restore’ the creative process to be the property of every child and every human being.”

Manuel said INM will be “further developing” the team, and searching for a physical space.

“Just this past week, we had some promising meetings and conversations with grant foundations and some [Town of Brookhaven] officials about some possible sites,” Manuel said. “And we’re confident that the ideal space will show itself when the time is right.”

Among the event attendees were town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R); town Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook); Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket); Gloria Rocchio, president of The Ward Melville Heritage Organization; and Jane Taylor, president of the Three Village Chamber of Commerce. 

The weekend’s events included a performance by popular jazz trombonist Ray Anderson as well as what was called the Spontaneous Creation Workshop with Nachmanovitch and Anderson.


Pete Caldera will perform at The Jazz Loft on May 4, 5 and 6.

Frank Sinatra once said, “I think my real ambition is to pass on to others what I know. It took me a long, long time to learn what I now know, and I don’t want that to die with me.”

Enter vocalist Pete Caldera to grab the “Sinatra baton” with his perfectly nuanced interpretations of Frank’s catalog. Caldera will head to The Jazz Loft, 275 Christian Ave., Stony Brook for three shows filled with Sinatra classics, called “Strictly Sinatra,” on May 4, 5 and 6, with all shows starting at 7 p.m. Caldera will be joined by the Jazz Loft’s 17-piece big band directed by Jazz Loft founder Tom Manuel.

“Sinatra was one of the most important entertainers of the 20th Century,” said Manuel. “Just as Frank never did anything in a small way, we will be devoting three nights to Ol’ Blue Eyes, with Pete Caldera.”

This is Caldera’s second year performing at The Jazz Loft’s tributes to Frank Sinatra. Away from performing, Caldera is a reporter for the Bergen Record and the USA Today network, covering the Yankees. He is a past chairman of the New York Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America for the Bergen Record and the USA Today network, covering the Yankees.

Tickets are $40 adults, $35 seniors, $30 students, $25 children at www.thejazzloft.org or at the door. For more information, call 631-751-1895.