Ambience. Imagery. Timelessness. Close your eyes when you listen to the music of The Night Cafe and you can envision Paul Cézanne and Pierre-Auguste Renoir sitting with Claude Debussy in an Impressionist era Parisian cafe; feel what it was like to walk down the streets of old Vienna in the time of Mozart; experience a sharp spike in your heart rate with a trip to a steamy tango bar in 1940s Buenos Aires; or have your breath taken away as you witness the recording of an Oscar-winning film score on a soundstage during the golden age of Hollywood. These are more than just influences for the music of The Night Cafe; they are a small sampling of some of the destinations and times to which their music takes its audiences. “Music is generally an affair of the heart and soul,” says Dave Hartl, The Night Cafe’s accordionist. “But after assembling our repertoire, we discovered that there was also a strong sense of visual imagery that went hand-in-hand with the music we were playing.”
“A lot of that has to do with the unique instrumentation of The Night Cafe, adds mandolinist Allan Slutsky. “Having a trio comprised of accordion, mandolin and acoustic bass makes us a throwback—a nod to the many small ensembles that played in European clubs during the early years of the twentieth century. The sound we produce is so old that it’s new again. We’ve evolved into a musical time machine.”
When a noted keyboardist and jazz educator joins forces with a Grammy Award winning rhythm and blues producer and guitarist, the last thing you’d expect to hear them play would be an eclectic blend of virtuoso classical violin music, vintage film scores and authentic Argentinean tangos. But then, you also never expected to take your seat for a concert only to find you’d been transported to an exotic locale thousands of miles away in a bygone, romantic time previously accessible to you only through history books.