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Rick Koster got it right when he said the Oasis Room at the Garde Arts Center is "becoming a must-visit performance space featuring upcoming and renowned niche artists." ("The Oasis Room at The Garde: Small but mighty " Feb. 21.)
The lineup of jazz artists coming to the Oasis Room, or who have been there in the recent past, is top flight. (No, I do not work for The Garde or Kitchings Productions.)
It can be fun going to hear jazz at Scullers in Boston or Birdland in New York, but there's a lot to be said for being able to drive 10 (or even 45) minutes to hear a Cyrus Chestnut, a Nnenna Freelon or a Benny Reid in a small, comfortable venue. At many shows, the performers hang around afterward to chat and sign CDs.
If this sounds like a plug for the Garde, so be it. The Garde and Kitchings Productions deserve recognition and praise for bringing talent to our corner of the world.
If you want to get a taste of great jazz without going to New York or Boston, check out the Oasis Room lineup. And, the nonjazz performers are pretty good, too.