BY TEQUILA MINSKY
Bandleader Eyal Vilner recently called band members together and brought the charts for an “impromptu” and delightful concert at Washington Square Park, offering parkgoers a brief sense of normality.
Washington Square Park is usually not lacking in musical entertainment when regulars set up drums and other instruments on the south end of the fountain, or ad hoc groups performing near the arch, or along the east or west pathways. The presence of musicians in the park subsided during the pandemic, but the band helped bring some sweet sounds back to the greenspace.
Heading east from the Plaza, the saxophonists sat on park benches and played, backed by standing musicians playing trumpets and trombones. There were also a bass, guitar and drums.
Eyal Vilner’s Big Band typically performs outdoors at Lincoln Center, Summer Stage and jazz clubs around town. The pandemic has frustrated musicians across the city, as festival gigs have been canceled with strict social distancing and capacity guidelines in place.
But the listeners at Washington Square Park showed plenty of appreciation, contributing to the “tip the band” case while these musicians do what they want to do—perform.