Jazz News & Notices
Matthews Trattoria Closes
Weekly Jazz Spot A Community Loss
Matthews Trattoria has closed, with its last jazz performance by Frank Singer and friends on Friday, March 30.
(The photo to the right shows Dave Calabrese, keyboard; Nick Ronzitti, drums, and Joe Dorris, vocals, during the B Band's Christmas 2012 concert.)
The restaurant occupied one of the most attractive local locations within Lovell Place. It originally opened as part of the renovation of the full-block Lovell Manufacturing complex by the late Steve McGarvey, as part of a privately-financed downtown renovation.
Following Steve's passing and amidst development financial challenges, Matthews' lost their lease, but returned within months. The full-service restaurant had modified its menu to a tappas approach, and was a favorite stop for downtown prefessionals.
"We're going to miss the venue", said Phil Papotnik. "It was a pleasant room to play, whether with the B-Band, the Raven Band, or national performers like Hammond B-3 wizard Tony Monaco.
Joe Dorris and Frank Singer worked with owners Matthew and Cindy Sarbak during 2011 and 2012 to promote live jazz on Friday nights. Previously, Joe has booked acts for JazzErie, the PaperMoon and Romolo Chocolates, among others.
Joe is unsure what locations can replace Matthews. "We're looking for the right venue to help in order to continue to promote live jazz in Erie. We know that Tony and Jen Steffanelli are hoping to bring more jazz into Romolo Chocolates, and we're looking forward to their next ventures. And we look forward to other club owners stepping up and hiring local musicians.
Frank expressed his deepest gratitude to Matthew and Cindy for at least 13 years of support for live jazz. "Most recently, I've had the privilege of playing at Matthews regularly for two years. The Sarbaks have gone out of their way to promote local musicians as well as bring in world famous performers. The entire community should apprecaite and thank them for all that they have done for us. We wish them well in their future ventures."
Here's a recent video of the B-Band performing My Funny Valentine. Members of this iteration include Dave Calabrese, Sr., keyboard; Dave Calabrese, Jr., bass; Sam Seggi, tenor sax; and Vinny Steffanelli, guitar.
April 2, 2012