A private living room in a private house in a residential neighborhood is quickly becoming the hottest venue in Orlando for sophisticated jazz concerts.
We're going to take you on a complicated journey," saxophonist Jack Wilkins declares, introducing his Appalachian Mountains-influenced compositions before launching into a multi-layered song accompanied by trombonist Keith Oshiro and fellow sax player Tamara Danielsson. Wilkins' original jazz works are being played by 16 musicians — two guitarists, a full horn section, three marimbas and a jazz triangle player — all crammed into Benoit Glazer's living room.
This living room is known as the Timucua White House, a mostly undiscovered musical haven in Orlando, and Glazer's life passion. The plain, modern exterior gives little hint to the wood lined, multi-leveled performance space inside, dominated by a two-tier balcony and hung with art created during concerts by local painters. Combining advanced design with acoustically perfect construction, the family's private quarters share the building with the three-story "living room."
Glazer, the musical director for the Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba show for almost 14 years, plays trumpet in the Downtown Disney complex five days a week. That leaves him just enough time to plan two shows a month at the House — his house.
He's been producing this non-profit, private music series since 1998, dedicating his home to the sounds he loves. "After moving to Orlando, I realized there wasn't anywhere to hear new contemporary music on weeknights, so my only choice was to do it in our house," he explains. "I started by playing shows with my family, but by the second night, it had already become an outlet for other musicians. We've become a part of the circuit for players from all over the world, and that's fantastic."
Glazer's French-Canadian accent sings as he talks about growing up with the music his father played on the fiddle, and how the family tradition continues through him and his wife, Élaine Corriveau, a piano teacher and accomplished vocalist. Their three talented children open most White House concerts: Charles-Édouard, 18, on bass or violin; Camille, 16, on the piano; and 14-year-old Jean-Marie on drums.
Admission to these concerts is a simple potluck — your entrance fee is a bottle of wine. The audience of up to 150 musicphiles is an eclectic mix of students, seasoned jazz aficionados and those curious about this underground jazz club/house party hybrid.
The schedule focuses on jazz and modern classical music, but those with diverse taste will also find shows by artists such as the contemporary Japanese koto player Tomoko Kawahara, avant-garde jazz pianist Matthew Shipp, and klezmer and classical music from clarinetist Christine Barron to be just the (BYOB) ticket.
Glazer's credo is a simple one. "We believe the arts and music belong to everyone," he says, "and they belong in the living room." www.timucua.com
GLAZER'S TOP 5
Glazer has been showcasing musicians in his home for 13 years and his favorites include:
▪ Jazz-fusion trumpeter Tiger Okoshi in 2003. "He was the first internationally-known musician to play at the House," Glazer says. "He put us on the map."
▪ Jazz legend Sam Rivers and his orchestra, and classical trumpeter Jens Lindemann headlined the Glazer-organized Orlando Brass Festival in 2006.
▪ Trio BraamDeJoodeVatcher, a contemporary Dutch jazz group, were joined by guitar great Larry Coryell in 2009. "It was a very thrilling surprise to have Larry here."
▪ "He played two weeks before he won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 2008," Glazer recalls about composer David Lang, known for his work with Bang on a Can.
▪ Japanese percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani played a spectacular solo show in 2011. "He included us in his 2012 world tour in March," Glazer said.