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The Jazzmaniacs celebrate a new CD and welcome Bogart's back to Richmond's live-jazz scene. 

The Back Room Is Back

The release party for Glenn Wilson's "One Man's Blues" Friday, Dec. 1, is significant in two ways. The CD is a live recording of the Jazzmaniacs, a world-class Richmond-based band. The event also re-opens Bogart's Back Room, the Fan jazz club where the recording took place. Bogart's, one of Richmond's oldest and best local jazz venues, closed in early summer with uncertain future prospects. "They have been having live music there since the '70's," Wilson says. "There are a lot of other places that have closed down as well — like the Cellar Door, which was one of the last jazz clubs in Washington. We played there on their last night. Hopefully, they'll come back as well." Under new manager Frank Sotos, Bogart's gently remodeled restaurant section has been open for the past few weeks. The Back Room has been cleaned up but is otherwise unchanged. The large and somewhat enigmatic black-and-white painting of Groucho Marx still hangs above the stage where "One Man's Blues" was recorded over three nights in late February 1999. And, at their best, the Jazzmaniacs — Wilson on baritone sax, co-leader Steve Kessler on piano, Jim Masters on bass and Tony Martucci on drums — are as good a band as you can hear anywhere. The release party marks the wide availability of the recording in the Richmond area. It has been in a more limited release, available through mail order, since late summer. It has already gained critical praise from The Washington Post and a four-star review in the All Music Guide. And there may be more to come. "We have enough music to do Volume 2," Wilson says. "We may just make it available on our Website www.jazzmaniac,com, along with the selections from the album." Bogart's manager Sotos said he hopes to keep the release party going through the Jazzmaniac's second appearance Dec. 8. "A lot of people have been asking about the Back Room," he says. "We're really looking forward to rebuilding relationships with a lot of old friends."
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