Play It Again, 323!

Last month, “06880” reported on a piano plea from 323.

Music lovers at the North Main Street restaurant hoped to raise $11,000 to buy a piano. The one used for 323’s popular Thursday night jazz series — lent by Beit  Chaverim Synagogue (through their leader, Greg “The Jazz Rabbi” Wall) — was not up to the job.

This was not just any piano, mind you. It was a fine 1937 Steinway “M” — from New York’s legendary Village Gate. For decades beginning in 1958, it was played by greats like Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, Ahmad McCoy Tyner, Erroll Garner, Nina Simone and Sun Ra.

Would jazz lovers an hour from the city pony up the cash to give it a second life in Westport?

Yes! The deal has been closed. The new piano is already safely in its new home, right near the bar.

Steinway's classic piano, in its new 323 home.

Steinway’s classic piano, in its new 323 home.

The official welcome show is this Thursday (May 19, 7:30 p.m.). It’s billed as “Chris Coogan Meets the Jazz Rabbi.” All are welcome.

The fine print: The newly formed Jazz Society of Fairfield County has not yet raised the full amount. An interest-free loan from an anonymous jazz lover will tide them over for a few days. They  hope to reach their goal this week, and start a fund for periodic maintenance, regulation and tuning. Contributions can be made via PayPal (click here). For other arrangements, email For 323’s Jazz Series Facebook page, click here.

2 responses to “Play It Again, 323!

  1. stood next to that piano weeks at a time playing bass with Cecil Taylor, Kenny Drew, McCoy Tyner , Wynton Kelley, and, most memorably, a week with Aretha Franklin when her father brought her to NYC to audition for Columbia Records as a jazz pianist. they signed her, but didn’t know what
    to do with her.artistry. They let her go, and Jerry Wexler figured out how to
    put it all together for her at Atlantic.

  2. Wow. Awesome story! It’s not just for JAZZ… John Lamb will be playing this piano this Saturday night, for their Kickstarter campaign kick off party at 323! The show debuts a live performance from the upcoming 5 O’clocks new CD, “Not on Facebook” Details and Kickstarter. Pledge today and support live local original music at