Winterfest 2014: Q&A with jazz pianist Alexander Clough

Photo by Deneka Peniston

Photo by Deneka Peniston

Alexander Clough, of the Nightingale Jazz Band, is a skilled jazz pianist from Brooklyn. Alexander and the Nightingale Jazz Band represent the golden age of Jazz music and the American Songbook. 

The band started when vocalist Nora met Alexander and they naturally struck up a musical friendship. Both interested in jazz music, the two decided to start a band that would bring vintage jazz into modern day music.

Since then, Alexander and his Nightingale Jazz Band have played at numerous venues all over Long Island, giving audiences music that not only feels good but also adds elegance and sophistication to any style of event.

Alexander will play Bistro 72 at Hotel Indigo East End in Riverhead Friday evening as part of Winterfest. He’ll also play Sparkling Pointe in Southold Feb. 23.

 What’s your favorite thing about playing on the North Fork? Either on stage or just playing as in having fun in general? 

Alexander: My favorite part of playing on the North Fork is allowing the charm of the natural surroundings and the fresh air help me relax and be myself.  I’ve played a lot out here and I feel I do some of my best playing on the North Fork.  The spirit flows quite easily.

Tell us about your first ever gig on (or visit to) the North Fork.

Alexander: My first visit to the North Fork was on a gig, playing at Sparkling Pointe, where I now play frequently.  Along with the obvious beauty of the venue and the surroundings, I was taken aback by the courtesy of the staff and patrons.  Honestly, the people out here are cut from a different cloth — everyone was so generous to me on my first visit and I just recall the staff and patrons really encouraging the band to do our thing!

Are there any North Fork locations or attributes that inspire your music?

Alexander: Driving along Sound Avenue and seeing all the wineries, farms, and farm stands on a nice summer afternoon is pretty inspiring for any musician or artist, I would imagine.  Again, the surroundings allow you as a musician to open up.

Do you drink wine? If so, do you have a favorite North Fork wine (or vineyard)?

Alexander: I do drink wine and I love Sparkling Pointe’s wines.  Sparkling Pointe has some of the best champagne I’ve ever tasted.

What can people expect to hear at your shows?

Alexander: People coming to see the Nightingale Jazz Band can expect to see shows that are incredibly expressive and also full of risk-taking.  We do our best to render some timeless melodies in our own way!  Our band plays jazz standards but every time there’s going to be variety, so our audiences never get the same thing twice!

How do North Fork audiences differ from other areas you play, whether up Island or the city or wherever?

Alexander: We have had the chance to meet some wonderful people in the North Fork who have great taste in music and are great “listeners.”  I must say that audiences are often laid back and don’t put on a whole lot of pretense, which is very nice.