About The House Party

As our kind of music and musicians evolved from Dixie and traditional music and began to fade in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, retreating from clubs and roadhouses, jazz aficionados also retreated into their houses.  By bringing together 10-15 of the best musicians these music buffs held a jazz house party:   good food, lots of hydration and wonderful music in a small intimate setting.  Musicians and audience were face to face for hours as the sweet hot sounds rolled on and on.

When older musicians began to disappear, festivals rose up to take their place.  Sadly festivals and traditional music are also faltering.  The banner has been taken up by younger musicians and a revival of the house party.  Jeff Barnhart and Joel Schiavone, two of the leaders of Connecticut Jazz and the Connecticut Jazz Festival, decided to collaborate and Jeff and Joel’s House Party was born.

First, a house was needed. The Schiavones’ donated their 1804 Guilford farmhouse.  The weekend of February 11 and 12, 2012 was the date.  Jeff with his incredible abilities and contacts invited some of the best traditional jazz musicians on the east coast and every one of them said yes. Biographies of all current the musicians are available by clicking here.  Volunteers, formerly key staff volunteers of the Connecticut Jazz Festival, stepped up to run the weekend, including food preparation and service, parking, and on and on…

Four spectacular events later (February and October 2012, April and October 2013) we continued with spectacularly successful 5th and 6th House Parties, on Columbus Day weekend October 2014 and 2015 at our new venue, the Guilford VFW Hall resoundingly enjoyed by patrons from more than a dozen states from the northeast to the west coast to the southern United States.

Columbus Day weekend 2016, October 7, 8 and 9 we hosted our 7th weekend.  As the VFW is being totally reconstructed, we’re excited to be performing at the Branford Elks Club, 158 South Montowese Street (Route 146), Branford, CT.  Check us out on YouTube for some amazing musical sets.

Our 8th House Party, October 13, 14 and 15 2017 was another success.  We seemed to have settled in nicely at the Branford Elks Club. There’s plenty of seating, floor space to dance, and tables to migrate to when you just need to move around a bit. The music is non-stop! Jeff does an outstanding job of bringing together the most talented musicians playing the best Traditional Jazz anywhere.

We’ve just completed our 9th House Party. Everyone had a great time, and with Paris Washboard Super Swing as our special guests the weekend was indeed special. We’re looking forward to our 10th Anniversary House Party November 1st 2nd & 3rd 2019!  In the meantime don’t forget to check out Eric Devine’s exceptional videos on youtube.