Each week I write about all kinds of different topics related to music in Centre County, mostly having to do with musicians, bands, albums, venues, festivals and whatever else.
This week is — as Cheech once said to Chong — the same, but different.
Renowned jazz pianist David Hazeltine is coming to State College to play a gig at Centre Hills Country Club on Saturday starting at 8 p.m. The event open to the public, so you don’t have to be a member of the club to attend.
“It is unusual in that it is a public event at the private club,” event organizer and local music promoter Michael Krentzman said. “Normally, they do not do such things but we were able to work this out. Hazeltine is one of the giants of jazz and his playing for this small a crowd here is very notable.”
The show is limited to 150 seats, and whomever is sitting in those 150 seats will get to hear Hazeltine perform with his group as he performs his set on a Steinway concert grand piano, through a sound system Kremtzman acquired.
“If it rains, the show goes indoors,” Krentzman said. “We hope that does not happen, as an outdoor jazz club experience would be so ideal.”
Krentzman was able to get Hazeltine to Centre Hills Country Club via a personal, hometown connection. They share a close friend who graduated from State College Area High School in 1992, four time Grammy winner and member of Jimmy Fallon’s late night band, Ian Hendrickson Smith.
“Ian introduced us and we talked about how wonderful the area is,” Krentzman said. “(Hazeltine) said he’d never been. I asked if I could bring him here. He said yes.”
Getting Hazeltine to come was one thing, but where to play was something else.
“I thought ‘how could we showcase the awesomeness and beauty of this to a maximum degree?’ ” Krentzman said “Put Mount Nittany behind as the backdrop and do a limited list for members of the club and some available to the public.”
The idea was in place and Hazeltine was on board, but there was just one more thing to do to make it all happen.
“To my shock, the club agreed and is now rolling out the red carpet,” Krentzman said, “making it beautiful to showcase the club in the best light for folks who don’t get to see it much. The club is so excited about this and it is such an unusual setting for such a show.”
Putting the show together has truly been a local endeavor, which is always great to see. For example, “Lowercase j.” from King Cobra Tattoo designed the posters.
“Justin is a world renowned tattoo artist, so having him do the poster further showcases what we do here in terms of art,” Krentzman said. “The posters are striking — a Japanese motif of a woman playing a stringed instrument as the wind blows.”
Organizing the gig is truly a matter of the heart for Krentzman, a State High graduate and a member Centre Hills Country Club.
“I don’t golf too much anymore, but I love it there,” he said. “The views are so beautiful, the people are very nice and the service is fantastic as is the food. But the view and opportunity to stage this in a singular, beautiful way was something I had to pursue. I have promoted music before, so I just started working on it.”
To purchase a ticket, visit Brownpapertickets.com and search “Hazeltine.”
If you go
What: David Hazeltine
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Centre Hills Country Club, 153 Country Club Road, State College
Kevin Briggs is a musician, writer and teacher who performs at venues throughout central Pennsylvania. Contact him at . KevinTBriggs@gmail.com