Spike Wilner wears many hats. He’s a piano player, composer, bandleader, screenactor, club owner, archivist, recording company exec, webcaster, writer, lecturer and visionary about the transformative role of jazz in society. We’ve invited the piano player, but the rest of him will tag along.
A devotee of ragtime as a child, Spike progressed to stride and published an annotated book of Willie the Lion Smith transcriptions. His embrace of bebop is fundamental, but don’t be surprised to hear classical influences in his playing.
He explains his move to club ownership as defensive. He had a weekly gig at Smalls, a faltering basement venue in the Village. Spike’s story is that he bought in to save his own playing opportunity. That was eleven years ago. Today, he owns and operates two of the world’s most important jazz clubs, Smalls and Mezzrow, presenting about 40 shows per week with a who’s who of jazz—from the up-and-comers to the giants of this music and everyone in between. ...