The show will go on ... only somewhere else

The show will go on ... only somewhere else

Pasadena Jazz Institute ends lease at Paseo with a three-day farewell party

By Bliss Bowen 08/27/2009

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“I need a job!” exclaims Pasadena Jazz Institute Executive Director Paul Lines.

He’s not joking. After three years and more than 800 shows, the institute is tossing a three-day farewell bash before closing the doors on its lounge at Paseo Colorado. Lines harbors no ill will toward the mall, which has opted to reclaim the space.

“Paseo was great to me, and great to the community. We brought activity to that part of the mall, and they helped us with subsidized rent,” he said. (Please see related story on page 11.)

Lines, who estimates he’s worked at the JI Lounge “pretty much every day for three years,” alternates between shock, relief, black humor and bubbly enthusiasm when discussing closure of the lounge, where he hosted live music nightly. Despite its prime location, profitability was all but unattainable due to its expansive layout and, Lines firmly believes, the recession: “Fridays and Saturdays are pretty cool, but the other days of the week, no one’s going out to see a show. People are definitely picking and choosing their entertainment. But being in a mall, I have to be open every day.”

He hasn’t decided yet whether he’ll keep the lounge’s coveted liquor license. At the moment he has no plans to relocate, despite regular clientele urging him to “keep this going.” He might open another club in the future, but first he needs to regroup and rethink his priorities. Mostly he’s thinking about kids.

“We just finished our jazz camp for kids, and it was so gratifying,” he enthuses. “What I’m really thinking of doing is mothballing the nightclub idea. I tried it. It’s tough. It’s really hard. … “Our annual ‘Nutcracker Swing’ Christmas show WILL go on, we just don’t know where yet. We can’t break the tradition. [But] I’m going to get the Jazz Institute back to our original concept. Next summer I’m going to have 1,000 kids in jazz camp. I’m going to put a jazz camp in Pasadena, Topanga Canyon and Orange County. That’s the plan. The Jazz Institute is going back to education.”

But first there’s this weekend’s three-day blowout, which kicks off tonight with UK pop-rocker Daniel Bedingfield & friends. Friday’s mini jazz festival will start at 6 p.m. and feature San Gabriel Seven, the Nick Mancini Collective, Mat Falker Trio, Bill Watrous Quartet and Elizabeth Lamers. The final PJI show on Saturday will boast a “drum battle” between Lines and Joey K of reunited headliners the Big Pill. After that, Lines says, “it’s over.”

All shows occur at Pasadena Jazz Institute Lounge, Paseo Colorado, 280 E. Colorado Blvd., Ste. 206, Pasadena; $10. Details: (626) 398-3344. To learn about future Pasadena Jazz Institute projects, visit


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