Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Jazziz Nightlife in Boca Raton

Photo of Molly Ringwald by Michael Gora

World-Class Jazz and More at Jazziz Nightlife

By Skip Sheffield

When Michael Fagien first decided to open a nightclub and restaurant to complement his Jazziz magazine, he considered a space in the former Cartoon Museum at Mizner Park in Boca Raton.
As luck would have it, Fagien got a better offer from the owners of Hard Rock Cafe, so Michael and his twin brother Steven opened a Jazziz nightclub as one of the first special attractions at the Seminole Hard Rock Live in Hollywood.
Seminole Hard Rock was not an ideal fit and after three and a half years, Jazziz left the building. The Fagien brothers returned their full energy to the music magazine they founded in 1983.
Jazziz is now the largest-circulation jazz magazine in the world, and it finally has a companion Jazziz Nightlife restaurant and concert facility in the very same spot the Fagien brothers first considered in Mizner Park.
“We always wanted to have a Jazziz club in Boca Raton,” Michael Fagien said recently during a tour of the facility. “Both my brother Steven and I live in Boca Raton. Steven moved here in 1988 and I followed from Gainesville in 2000. Opening Jazziz Nightlife is the culmination of our dream.”
Media were invited to a pre-concert tour conducted by Michael Fagien before actress-singer Molly Ringwald took to the stage with her virtuoso jazz quartet. Ringwald is a perfect example of the fact that jazz music has many facets, not just one narrow definition.
“The problem with jazz is that many believe it is just for a certain kind of people,” Fagien explained. “There is an image of jazz snobs. We are not that way at all. Jazz is what you believe it is. To prove that we often book people who are not primarily thought of as jazz musicians.”
Molly Ringwald is better known as an award-winning film and stage actress, but her interest in the “Great American Songbook” and jazz classics is real. Ringwald’s father was a professional jazz musician and she grew up with music. She proved her vocal prowess powerfully with a killer set that underscored the allure of her sultry, husky singing style.
Both the Fagien brothers have medical degrees earned at the University of Florida. Steven Fagien still practices surgery in Boca Raton. It was at the U of F that Michael developed a passion for jazz, and began writing about it. When he decided to start a magazine, Michael got a big boost from Dr. Robert Cade, inventor of Gatorade.
“The University of Florida got the rights to Gatorade, but Dr. Cade did just fine,” says Fagien. “We started a partnership 25 years ago. He always believed in Jazziz magazine.”
One thing that brought Jazziz to international prominence was its innovation of a free 5-inch CD with each issue.
“We became the de facto promoters of the 5-inch CD format,” Fagien notes. “We still include CDs with our print issues.”
As good as CD quality is, there is no substitute for live performance. The Fagiens poured untold amounts of money to transform what had been Zed 451 restaurant into a state-of-the-art restaurant and live concert facility. Jazziz pledges to bring in top artists of all descriptions. Private memberships are offered as well as are New Orleans-style brunches on weekends.
National acts tend to be booked Wednesday and Thursday with 7 and 9 p.m. dinner sets. Tickets are required only in the “Live Room” where the stage is. Live entertainment is offered other nights at no charge.
Coming attractions include Larry Carlton May 15-16; Yellowjackets May 22-23; Nestor Torres May 29-30 and Bobby Caldwell June 5-6.
Call 561-300-0732 or go to www.jazziznightlife.com.

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