The Poughkeepsie Jazz Project (PKJP) was created in 2012 with the goal of maintaining live jazz culture and community in Poughkeepsie, NY. Since its inception, The PKJP has presented a weekly jazz jam session accessible to all musicians and fans of live music. Over the past nine years, the jam has been honored to host hundreds of musicians from the Tri-state area. The Poughkeepsie Jazz Project’s Tuesday jam session is hosted at Mahoney’s Irish Pub and Steakhouse in Poughkeepsie every Tuesday from 7 to 10 pm.  The PKJP house band features local professional jazz artists who set a welcoming stage for musicians--PA, drums, amps, and keyboard provided. This event is free to both participants and listeners. All with a passion for jazz are welcome. 

The Poughkeepsie Jazz Project was founded and now led by Ben Basile, a noted bassist, composer, and educator hailing from Wappingers Falls, New York. Basile’s career has taken him all over the world but he feels strongly that hosting the jam is an important way for him to contribute to the local music community. In addition to the regular jam sessions, the PKJP has held numerous special events including performances of students and faculty from local colleges, a fundraiser for The Jazz Foundation of America, and guest appearances from established local jazz talent. 

“[The PKJP] set out to create their weekly jams to not only give people a performance opportunity, but also to focus on what really matters to them: the music.” –Jordan Wilkinson, Poughkeepsie Journal, 2014. The jam session proved so successful that the founders decided to record and release their own CD in 2015. The album featured original compositions, many local jazz artists and has garnered its fair share of acclaim. “. . . as it stands, The Poughkeepsie Jazz Project is a fine testament to the world of jazz across the Mid-Hudson Bridge.”—Ron Hart, Chronogram Magazine, 2015. The album is available at:

When: Every Tuesday from 7-10pm
Where: Mahoney’s Irish Pub and Steakhouse, 35 Main St, Poughkeepsie, NY 
Cost: Free 

Album Review:

If you want to catch some of the best jazz in the Hudson Valley, head over to the Derby bar and restaurant on Main Street in Poughkeepsie. Since 2013, the duo of pianist John Scanlon and bassist Ben Basile has held court there every Tuesday, jamming with an array of local talent each week and establishing Po-Town as a rising force in local bop. Here, Scanlon and Basile, along with drummer Kesai Riddick (since departed), have brought their massive talents from the stage to the studio with their impressive eponymous debut. In keeping with the flavor of their Derby jam sessions, the PJP maintained an open-door policy over the din of this six-song set, allowing an array of fellow travelers to sit in with them for the majority of the album, including sax players Christopher Brellochs ("Caylee") and Joe North ("Elena"), guitarist Joe Heider, and Crazy Feet Pete singing on an illuminating version of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Dindi."  

However, the album's finest moments are when it's just Scanlon, Basile, and Riddick left to their own devices and displaying sonic conversation skills rich in the languages of the Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans trios on the opening track "Dream Stalking" and closing number "Baker's Blues." It would be great to hear more material in the pure-trio setting the next time they hit the studio, if and when they find a permanent drummer. But as it stands, Poughkeepsie Jazz Project is a fine testament to the world of jazz across the Mid-Hudson Bridge. 

-Ron Hart, Chronogram August 2015