‘Sounds Of IL Sole’ Features World Class Jazz Every Week

By Deardra Shuler

Photo: Luis Paniagua

A woman of Dominican descent, Sandra Jaquez, (above, far right) is the owner of two restaurants, IL Sole, featuring Italian food, located at 233 Dyckman St. in upper Manhattan, and Sa Taco next door at 231 Dyckman St, serving Mexican cuisine. Every Thursday, IL Sole sponsors a Live Jazz Happy Hour from 4-7pm., where Live world class jazz, and a special food and drink menu is offered without a music charge, to the delight of the neighborhood.

The mother of three children, Sandra grew up in Inwood (upper Manhattan) but is raising her family in Closter, New Jersey. Almost 20 years ago, with her then husband, she left the stress of hedge funds and Wall Street to design and open IL Sole on Dyckman St. This street, closed to traffic between Broadway and Seaman Ave., is now known as Quisqueya Plaza. It borders a variety of popular eateries and has become a hub of Inwood’s cultural community.

Active in community affairs, Jaquez sees her restaurants as her way of “giving back.” She wants people to be able to listen to live music, eat a delicious Italian meal and/or enjoy authentic Mexican food “without having to go downtown.” Though she appreciated jazz, Sandra didn’t have any jazz music connections, but luckily one day Janet Solesky walked into Jaquez’s restaurant with the idea of producing a Live Jazz Happy Hour one day a week.

A jazz promoter and project coordinator for many years, Janet Solesky felt Sandra’s positive energy immediately. The two women put their heads together and came up with the idea of a Live Jazz happy Hour they named the Sounds of IL Sole to be featured every Thursday.

“I believe listening to ALL great LIVE music can be transformative,” mentioned Solesky. “My passion for jazz and improvisation increased, particularly after listening to legendary groups like Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Bill Evans and Miles Davis. Later I was hired to book a jazz series at Cafe Jupiter, a club in Greenwich Village, where I was exposed to great music and great artists. When I did PR for Fat Tuesdays, I had the opportunity to listen to wonderful singers like Abbey Lincoln, Betty Carter and horn players like Stan Getz, Art Pepper and Phil Woods. Attending music sets at Bradleys and St Nicks Pub continued to fuel my desire to get affordable music out there for others to hear, benefit from and be educated by. Also my goal is to find funding sources for artists so they could earn a decent living,” remarked Solesky.

General manager, Bryan Melo, a DJ and a graphic artist, is also a part of the music operations and promotion of the Sounds of IL Sole, as is, of course, Peter Brainin, who plays two major roles by performing and booking trios for Thursdays. Now, into its third month, the series also regularly features Latin and Brazilian jazz styles.

A master saxophonist and flautist, Peter Brainin, has performed at major concert venues and jazz festivals throughout Europe, India, Japan, North, South and Central America and in the Caribbean. He’s worked with the legendary Chico O’Farrill, the Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, pianist Hilton Ruiz as well as performing and recording with the likes of Ruben Blades, Eddie Palmieri, Ray Barretto, Randy Weston, Wynton Marsalis, Paquito Di Rivera and many other master musicians.

A composer, arranger and music educator, Brainin has taught at the university level as well as in the out-reach programs for Jazz at Lincoln Center. When Janet brought 72 music students for dinner at IL Sole during Thursday’s Sounds of IL Sole Live Jazz Happy Hour, Peter taught the students a few things about the Clave Rhythm. Afterwards, the young players were inspired. One student said, “You have to be inspired, to get inspiration.”

Peter Brainin started playing music as a teen. “I started as a drummer, then switched to saxophone because I loved jazz so much. I started going to jazz clubs as a kid with my dad. I admired Charlie Mingus and Ray Barretto who grew up in the Afro jazz world as well as in the Latin music world. I was in Willie Colon’s band for nearly ten years. I am from the Bronx where I heard all types of Latin music. Salsa came from New York. Hip Hop originated in the Bronx. Bebop developed in Harlem.

Brainin listed his credentials: “I teach sax, flute, and clarinet. It’s in my genes to teach, especially teaching kids. I teach a lot of inner-city kids. I’ve taught at the Brooklyn Conservatory, PS 89, the 92nd St. Y, and the Bronx Council of the Arts, et al. I’ve also taught music in California. I am of Russian Ukrainian descent but learned Spanish from playing with many Spanish musicians. I wrote songs like “No Saints, No Sinners” and “Ceremony.” I recorded four albums with a group called Native Soul. I’ve played many of my own compositions at IL Sole and have incorporated them into the concerts and venues when I perform. I hope your readers will come and listen to us and enjoy the great music that The Sounds of IL Sole has to offer!”

The music program at IL Sole has now expanded and will include Saturday afternoons from 1:00-4pm featuring lively guitar and percussion trios that will also include Flamenco musicians and singers.

Explore New York and hear LIVE music. You will be glad you did!

By Deardra Shuler

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