A Traveling Jazz Band That’s Been Keeping UWS Restaurants Lively — and Sometimes Inspiring Spontaneous Dancing

You may have seen Victor Neufeld and his jazz band around the streets over the past couple of months. They’ve been at restaurants all over the neighborhood — including Serafina (Broadway and 77th), Bettola (Amsterdam 79th/80th), Sapphire (Broadway 68th/69th), Telio (Broadway 92nd/93rd), and many more.

Victor sent us the video below and an explanation of why he’s doing it (for free).

“Before Covid, I performed at a number of restaurants and clubs around the city, but since restaurants opened outside, I have been performing outside at some wonderful West Side restaurants. I do classic American swing jazz and people love it. I fill tables and create a live musical atmosphere. It’s a fun live jazz party…And, this is all free, at no cost to the restaurants. I made some money in my career, and do this for the fun of it and to help West Side restaurants draw diners, and stay in business. I pay my musicians out of my pocket, they are the best jazz musicians in the city and I am a very good performer of classic jazz standards. I have brought people in on a slow night, have added diners to tables and entertained full packed tables on sidewalks. My musicians are wonderful and very talented, they tell me that since most live jazz musicians are not working now, and they are, I might be the largest employer of live musicians in New York right now 🙂 West Siders are amazed to find live music on the streets as they stroll by the restaurants.”

ART, OUTDOORS | 12 comments | permalink
    1. LL says:

      There are some really amazing people in this world.

      And yeah, I’ve passed him playing at Telios and they are really amazing.

    2. LivableCity says:

      His description leaves out the joy they bring to hundreds of passers-by at each place, for a few minutes if people can pause on their way, or just for the time it takes to bring a smile, lighten the step, and feel the lifting spirits of music shared so generously. So many thanks!

      As well as more outdoor dining, I have thought that a gift of this terrible time might be more outdoor music on city streets. We can dream…

    3. Sally says:

      I saw them last week while I was walking my dog past Serafina. They brightened my day.

    4. Kathleen says:

      How nice that people can locally and safely hear live music and dance right now!

    5. GT says:

      The best. Music and dancing…way to get through this…and always. Thank you.

    6. Mary UWS says:

      Thank you, Mr. Neufeld! New York is the best, with people like you helping us through the pandemic.

    7. Wow! I am a bartender at Malachy’s at 72nd and Columbus, known for well or ill (per the NY Times) for my affection for all things jazz). It would be such an honor to enjoy and share that love with my peeps. There could be a few drinks and some fish and chips in it, along with my groupie adoration. How can I make this happen? Wow.

    8. Kate Gallagher says:

      What a wonderful gift Victor. I have heard you on a walk home. Wound up leaning against a pole for about an hour. You warmed my heart and chased the COVID blues away.
      Thank you and keep it up. You and your musicians are a gift needed

    9. Cacophonous Columbus says:

      Everyone commenting who thinks this is cute only thinks that because they walk by, hear it for a couple of seconds or maybe stop for a couple of minutes, and then they go on with their day. I live in an apartment just above one of the spots where this jazz band sets up with some regularity and while I totally get that they’re trying to do something nice for their community, every time I hear them start to play I feel like Kramer living with the giant fried chicken sign outside his window.

      • Doug Corrigan says:

        This comes up all the time. People feel it’s so charming to casually hear jazz on their nightly stroll but when you are subjected to the same set every night its torture. I don’t give a fuck if its my favorite song in the world, if I didn’t ask for it I don’t want to hear it.

        I don’t mind transient city noises. Sirens, passing trucks, fighting, gunshots. Whatever, it comes and goes. But bands on the street are nonstop and shouldnt have to be reduced to wearing earplugs in my own home.

        I am so happy its getting colder and getting these people off our public sidewalks.

    10. Erin Smitherson says:

      Love our community and the music. I live above a restaurant and enjoy the free concerts. Sometimes I go down to enjoy an appetizer and a glass of wine. They are sharing the joy during such trying times.

    11. Sandra D Martin says:

      When is the Next Gig @ a restaurant