‘De-jazzy’: Perkins Center kicks off ‘coffeehouse’ concerts

CHRISTINE HARKINSON/The Sun: “You really feel the connection between the artist and the audience,” says Bryan Williams of the Perkins Center, about the DeCafe House Concert Series.

The DeCafe House Concert Series is back at Moorestown’s Perkins Center for the Arts.

“A lot of times, the people that come out and see these artists, they are looking to connect with new music,” said Bryan Williams, conservatory of music manager for the center.

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According to perkinsarts.org, Moorestown DeCafe is a warm coffeehouse environment where people gather once a month for live folk music, jazz, the blues or world music. Performers range from nationally known singer-songwriters to talented local musicians on the verge of breaking out.

“Decafe to me is a wonderful opportunity to highlight all of the very talented musicians in our community,” Williams noted. “Whether that be someone who’s down the street, someone in Philadelphia (or) someone from New York, our goal is to bring in high-level music for people in our area to enjoy in an intimate setting.”

“When you go to a concert at a concert house, you’re not really getting to know the artists,” he added. “Whereas with DeCafe, they play a set and then the artists will walk around and they’ll talk to the people in attendance, and they will get to know them.”

“These artists are actually creating a relationship with the community here.”

Jocelyn and Ellen kicked off the new season of DeCafe House at the arts center on Sept. 9.

“They’re kind of a gypsy jazz, sort of bluegrass duo, where they combine cello and violin music,” Williams explained. “They put in this very unique setting that we find really exciting.”

The jazz act Abe Speller Trio will perform on Oct. 14. Brian Betz and Behn Gallice, The Rob Curto Trio and April Mae and the June Bugs are also on the DeCafe House schedule, and two more acts will be announced for March and April.

“ … I do love to bring in some really high-level jazz acts,” Williams said. “Personally, because I think it’s a genre of music that’s not always highlighted as much. I think when people are exposed to it, they realize just how great some of these musicians are.”

“ … You’re sitting down in a living-room-type setting, a room that maybe max can fit 50 people,” he added. “ … You really feel the connection between the artist and the audience. There’s a very interesting exchange going on here, where maybe the musician is telling stories that they wouldn’t tell in a normal concert.”

For information on DeCafe performances, visit https://perkinsarts.org.

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