Yoko Miwa

From the blog

Looking into the restaurant window of Les Zygomates

Goodbye Les Zygomates

A note from Yoko: As a performer, when you play a gig somewhere you hope it leads to a return engagement but you can never be sure if it will. In the case of Les Zygomates we aren’t even sure how long we played there but we know it’s been somewhere between 10-15 years and I know I didn’t even drink wine when I started performing there.

Zyg’s has been the Saturday night home of the Yoko Miwa Trio for many years, we started off playing on a weeknight once a month. Then we started playing twice monthly and eventually several times monthly, at some point we started playing a Saturday night sometimes. The only thing I know for sure is we started our regular weekly Saturday night residency there replacing the great singer Marianne Solivan after she made the move to NYC. We kept our residency at Zygomates through countless managers, several different music directors, and even the change of ownership which is highly unusual in this business to say the least.

We met so many wonderful people who worked there: managers, servers, bussers, bartenders, sommeliers, valets, the owners and their families, many who ended up becoming dear friends. Most of all though we connected with countless audience members who became regulars, dedicated fans, and also dear friends. It is with great sadness we say goodbye to our Saturday night home, and deeply regret that Les Zygomates has become one of the casualties of the pandemic and will close permanently.

I will miss the quirky stage 6 feet high in the air that was only reachable by ladder, I had to play with my back to the audience and had to be careful to not push my piano bench back too far so I wouldn’t fall off the stage. The Yamaha grand had seen many hours of use and although it was in less than perfect condition I had a bond with it and we also ended up becoming good friends.

Thank you to the original owner Ian Just and for believing in me for so long and thank you to Mark Tosi for continuing to believe in me and my heart goes out to you for the tough decision you had to make. There were many great managers at Zyg’s over the years but it was serendipitous the last manager was Joe DeCarlo for his commitment to the music program and for treating Zyg’s like it was his own.

Unknowingly, our last performance there was on Saturday, March 14, 2020 right before non essential businesses were ordered to close. Our last song we played was coincidentally Cole Porter’s “I Love Paris” (in the springtime) chosen randomly but there could not have been a more fitting song to close our tenure there.

Goodbye Les Zygomates, we love you and will miss you dearly. Thank you for giving our music a home for so many years and providing us with so many wonderful memories, if you were a fan of seeing us at Les Zygomates please leave a fond memory in the comments section.

C’est avec regret et une profonde tristesse que nous vous disons au revoir mais nous garderons dans nos cœurs la gratitude et l’amour! (It is with deep regret and sadness that we say goodbye to you but we will keep in our hearts gratitude and love!)

24 comments

  1. So happy that I had the opportunity to listen to you while sitting with Jerry Slavet and, honor of honors, Keiko san.

  2. C’est dommage!! Thank you so much Yoko Miwa Trio for spreading the love & joy of jazz. We’ll miss you!!❤️

  3. Sad to see another Jazz venue shuttered but happy to have seen you there!

    I brought clients and you greeted them to make them feel special.

    Fred was there also; chatted with him.

    Coincidentally, sat next to a woman who was to become a friend.

    Just met an old trombone player from the Big Band era and The Fabulous Dorsey Band and made plans to go see you there upon reopening.

    Hopefully we’ll get to Monkfish?

  4. I actually saw you play there maybe in 2005. I remember it vividly. Les Zygomates was my second home as an eater and drinker for many years and am sorry to see it go.

  5. Catherine and I enjoyed you and the Trio numerous times at “Zygs.” It seems like, in every social and economic crisis, Artists are among the first wave of casualties.

    We wish the owners of Zygs much future success, and we are certain that you, Scott & Co. will discover a new home when this dark cloud passes on. 🎺❤️😎

  6. Yoko
    I had a management gig from 2000-2005, and would do my homework at the bar and listen to the music. The music would ultimately embrace me and transition me to relaxation. Alvin Terry the great drummer used to manage the music then. I am sure I heard you in that time frame! Les Zyg was transformative and I thank you for your incredible contribution over the years.

  7. A very classy restaurant and music venue. It is wonderful that I met you there, Yoko. I hope to be able to see you at other hot spots, and I will miss Les Zygomates like a close relative! Thanks you, Les Zyg!

  8. Judi and I very much enjoyed your music and the overall conviviality of Les Zygs (and the occasional dance). The trio and the venue will be missed! .. Bonne chance!

  9. In May of 2014, my boyfriend and I were in Boston for a conference and fell in love with your music (and with Zyg’s). I’m so grateful we bought your CD’s that night and have had countless wonderful dinners together these past 6 years while listening to them again and again. We had always dreamed of coming back to Zyg’s to hear your trio again.
    Sending love from Cleveland….

  10. We will miss Les Zyg from afar in Oregon. Long a supporter of not only our Raptor Ridge brand but also Willamette Valley Pinot and a host to Oregon Pinot Camp reunions. RIP and salute!

  11. My husband James and I were so sorry to hear about this. We only discovered Les Zyg a couple of years ago, but it quickly became a favorite, and we loved hearing your trio play! You even played happy birthday for me once. We’ll be sure to seek you out at other venues, and our best to everyone at Les Zyg. You created a wonderful place, and thanks for the memories.

  12. Thank you so much for the kind words! ❤️ Hope to see you at one of our shows when it returns to normal 😍

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