Lovers of great music performed by virtuosos in an intimate setting are in for an artistic treat in Gilroy.
That’s because one of those music lovers is turning a stage in a corner his store into what is hoped will be a long-lived venue for the best in acoustic music.
And if its first performer is any indication, Dave Dumont has set the bar high for his vision of a venue designed to bring back the wonder of performing and listening to music in a world where the senses are gagging on television, technology and texting.
“Kids today don’t know that when you go to a concert you’re supposed to listen. They don’t understand. Most think you get on the phone and text during a concert,” Dumont said.
After a decade studying and performing in New York City, San Jose native, Gavilan College music teacher and jazz pianist Dahveed Behroozi will be at the keyboard when the Dumont’s stage at Gilroy Piano Outlet at 8401 Church St hosts its first free performance on Sunday, Dec. 4 at 3 pm.
A master of jazz improvisation, Behroozi opens the new venue following the release of his first album, Games, a collection of his own compositions played by a trio—about half of it improvisation.
“I have been described as a colorful and lyrical player,” said Behroozi, who last performed in Gilroy at the Bach to Blues concert at Gavilan College.
It was at that concert Behroozi met classical pianist Dumont, who early this year opened his piano outlet store in a former boxing gym and filled it with close to 100 new and used pianos.
Behroozi was a natural go-to performer for Dumont, whose own classical and other piano performance credits could fill a phone book.
His idea for a space for pure and beautiful music in Gilroy has roots in a popular jazz joint he started in Bellevue, Washington. It went on to have a long tenure.
The seemingly lost practice of Sunday gatherings in the parlor for piano recitals is foundational to what Dumont hopes to bring to Gilroy.
“Family and friends would get together and play cards and listen to music and talk and read poetry and interact with art and music,” said Dumont, whose family also has a piano showroom on Santana Row in San Jose.
“That’s all been kind of lost with football on TV and the internet, they’ve distracted us from a very healthy [form] of interaction with each other,” he said.
As one who plays, teaches and sells pianos, Dumont envisions pianists, as well as other instrumentalists and singers performing in an intimate setting of perhaps 50 to 75 people—all free of charge, he said.
Performances would be every month or so to start, and could even include recitals by students of other teachers, he said.
“It will be a place where people come and express themselves, where you actually sit down and listen to the music,” he said, longing to return to the days when musicians explained to listeners what the composer was thinking about when a piece was written.
Dumont also is the founder of the Steinway Society, which for 20 years has been promoting home and small stage concerts in the Bay area.
Behroozi has performed at similar venues as well as big hotels in San Jose.
Honed at the Manhattan School of Music and Brooklyn College, where he earned an undergraduate degree in jazz piano performance and a Master’s in classical music performance, his improv skills are intricate and ear-catching.
How could it be otherwise for a guy who grew up in a musical family and whose heroes include Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, and pianist/composer Fred Hersch, with whom he studied in the Big Apple.
With a style heavily influenced by baroque and the roots of jazz, when he is not playing his own compositions, Behroozi enjoys improvising on the Great American Songbook, weaving wonders from the likes of the Gershwins, Rodgers and Hart and Cole Porter.
Behroozi’s father taught classical guitar at San Jose City College for 30 years and his sister also was a pianist. He grew up playing classical piano and violin, then in high school was bitten by the jazz piano bug.
After that, he said, “My parents were crazy enough to send me off to study.”
His stint at Brooklyn College from 2008 to 2010 for his Master’s degree introduced him to a city in the throes of a renaissance, a big city borough that is musically, he said, “the most interesting place on the planet.”
Dumont hopes Gilroy is on its way to something akin to that. He bills the Dec. 4 performance as “A free gift from the Piano Outlet to the local community.”