Keystone Korner founder saw 'opportunity and need' for new jazz club in Mussel Bar space – Baltimore Business Journal
By Amanda Yeager – Reporter, Baltimore Business Journal a day ago
Barkan will move to Baltimore to manage programming and production for the club. He's joining forces with renowned chef Robert Wiedmaier, Mussel Bar's owner, for the project.
Barkan and Wiedmaier met last year at a celebration supper for the winners of the National Endowment for the Arts' Jazz Masters award, the highest honor in the jazz community. Barkan had been named a Jazz Master, and Wiedmaier was hosting the dinner at Marcel's, one of the Washington, D.C.-area restaurants owned by his RW Restaurant Group.
After striking up a "wonderful friendship and camaraderie," the two began talking about opening a jazz club in the area, Barkan said. Wiedmaier suggested using his Mussel Bar & Grille property, which shut down last spring amid heavy construction in Harbor East.
"A lightbulb went off: this could be a wonderful place to have a jazz club where the community would embrace it and we would embrace the community," Barkan said. "This is kind of a Cinderella-type story, a friendship and a vision together. Because you have to have a lot of heart to start a jazz club."
The roughly 200-seat club will host live music every night, Barkan said. He's assembling a lineup of national recording artists, as well as local and regional acts, to play at the new Keystone.
Prominent jazz bassist Ron Carter will kick things off with a run of performances April 30-May 2, accompanied by Donald Vega, a pianist, and guitarist Russell Malone. Other performers scheduled to play at the club in the coming months include saxophonist Kenny Garrett, Brazilian drummer Duduka da Fonseca, trumpet player and organist Joey DeFrancesco and the Cookers, a veteran bebop septet.
Barkan said tickets will be moderately priced, with seats for the Ron Carter shows ranging from $25 for general admission to $45 for premium spots.