trumpets
Eric Mintel Trio at Trumpets, Feb. 22, 2019. NEIL GRABOWSKY/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL

By GWEN OREL
orel@montclairlocal.news

Trumpets Jazz Club and Restaurant is for sale.

Its owners, Kristine Massari and husband Enrico Granafei put it on the market 12 days ago.

The jazz club across from the Walnut Street train station is co-owned by singer Kristine Massari and her husband, guitar and harmonica player Enrico Granafei. They have run the club since 1999, when they bought it from its original owner, Emily Wingert.

It was Wingert in 1988, who renovated a local bar into a jazz club, receiving an award for the restoration of the building.

The reason for the sale, Massari said, is that she will be retiring in June after 45 years of public school teaching. She’d like to travel the world and play with her husband. He plays harmonica and classical guitar; she plays the mandolin and piano.

Since they bought the club,  it has been a fixture in Montclair, featuring many local and international musicians, an open stage night, travel nights, a psychic, Irish step dancers, flamenco dancers and other entertainments.

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Its asking price is $3.6 million, which comes with a liquor license. That could be a major draw in a town that only has 13 and a 2017 sale was for $1.25 million. Trumpets also a restaurant and bar, could make its liquor license even more appealing for prospective buyers.

Recently, Montclair had a liquor license up for sale for $1 million, which had no takers.

The club at 6 Depot Square includes two three-bedroom properties upstairs; Massari and Granafei live in one of them.

The couple have ran the club together, without the support of financial partners.

“It will be 20 years in August,” Massari said. “Having a whole building, and the responsibility of the club, is a full time job. We want to free ourselves up.” It’s time to move on to the next thing, she said.

But while she and Granafei are committed to selling, they have no immediate plans to close their doors: programming will continue at least through the summer.

Trumpets
Enrico Granafei (Trumpets owner) plays the harmonica with the Eric Mintel Trio at Trumpets, Feb. 22, 2019. NEIL GRABOWSKY/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL

That’s a relief for Diane Moser, of Diane Moser’s Composers Big Band. She has been playing at Trumpets since 2003.

“Trumpets Jazz Club has been our base, our home for 15 going on 16 years, and we are very thankful that we had the opportunity to carry out our mission of developing and performing new music for big band along with presenting the music of our guest composers and performers, and for the support from Kristine, Enrico, and all of the staff,” Moser said.

Massari and Granafei hope to find a buyer who will keep the venue as a music club.

Meg Beattie Patrick has been running the open stage night on Wednesdays since September, and has been working with Massari and Granafei since they bought it from Wingert. Richard Thompson, Zara Phillips and saxophone legend Baron Raymonde have all appeared at the open stage, she said. “It’s an institution,” she said, pointing out that Granafei and Massari kept on all the employees that had worked for Wingert.

Massari is proud of all the work the club has done with students, as well as with such figures as sax player Benny Golson and guitar player Stanley Jordan.

The couple’s love of international performance  — he speaks 10 languages, she speaks 3.5 — shows in their programming.

“Georgia on My Mind,” a celebration of the culture of the Republic of Georgia, including a concert with violinist Vitali Imereli, as well as Georgian food and drink, will take place on April 12. Massari is consulting with the Adult School of Montclair to present a Peruvian day, featuring Lula Valdivia, on June 19.

“In an age when everybody is so ethnocentric, we admire world culture, and try to promote our own culture,” Massari said. “Our signature in the U.S. is really jazz.” She described Trumpets as a partnership with the community, reflecting, “historically, what the community is about.”