[members-announce] Jazz 'cooks' at Berkshires' Castle Street Cafe

JazzPittsfield at aol.com JazzPittsfield at aol.com
Fri Apr 11 00:05:25 EDT 2008

Jazz Cooks at Castle  Street Café, as  Chef Michael Ballon 
Issues CD of Favorite Jazz  Performers 

Berkshire County Eatery is  Hot Spot for Jazz, 
Sensible Cooking, and  Friendly Atmosphere 

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass., April 11, 2008 – Chef/owner Michael Ballon is 
celebrating 10 years of  ‘live’ Jazz at his Castle Street restaurant and bar by 
issuing two works of art. The  first is a CD representative of the talent that 
appears at his Berkshire County venue, and more recently he has also assembled 
some of  his favorite recipes into his first cookbook. 
When the opportunity arose  to expand his popular Castle Street Café, Ballon 
followed his dream of creating  a venue for live jazz in the Berkshires. “I 
hoped to continue a tradition  established at The Music Inn in Lenox, a 1950s 
haven for some of America’s greatest Jazz performers.” The Celestial Bar at  
Castle Street Café opened in December 1997 with Nat King Cole’s baby grand piano 
 gracing the stage (the piano has since been retired) and William Gottlieb’s  
classic photographs of Jazz greats from the 1930s and ’40s lining the walls. 
Ten  years later, the bar continues to present a wide variety of styles, from 
blues  to Be Bop.  
Working with Mike Schiffer,  artistic director of the Castle Street 
performance space, The Celestial Bar introduced  audiences to performers from Albany 
and the Berkshires to Brooklyn and beyond. More than a dozen performers provided 
music  (recorded elsewhere but not all commercially available anywhere else) 
for the  compilation, “Jazz from Castle Street.”  
Performers on the CD  include Ted Rosenthal, a veteran of Gerry Mulligan’s 
band,; vocalists Stephanie  Nakasian, Terry Roiger and Vikki True; pianists 
Adrian Cohen, Lee Shaw, and  Armen Donelian; guitarist Jay Messer, and the band 
Advanced Phunk. Other  performers appearing on the CD include Lee Russo, the 
Playscape Quintet,  Francesca Tanksley, Teresa Broadwell, and Ted  Perry. 
“Many of these musicians  have performed with jazz legends such as Lionel 
Hampton, Gerry Mulligan, Chet  Baker and Sonny Rollins, and it is a pleasure to 
showcase their extraordinary  musical talent in Great Barrington. Many others 
are not well-known outside Berkshire County, and the home-grown talent that we 
are pleased to  showcase every weekend will be a revelation to listeners.”   
In addition to the many  Berkshirites who consider Castle  Street their local 
stomping  grounds, Ballon was also pleased in recent years to have a visit from 
Gottleib,  before the renowned Jazz photographer passed away. 

Turning his attention  from aural to oral treats, Ballon followed the CD with 
a book that reflects his  personal cooking tastes and sensibilities. Using 
healthy, locally-grown  ingredients, Ballon creates innovative and tasty dishes, 
and now tells “a normal  person with an average amount of time” how to make 
them. In addition to the  delicious dishes that come directly from the Castle 
Street Café menu, Chef  Ballon has included traditional favorites from around 
the world. All the recipes  have been carefully adapted for the home chef and 
include instructional  photographs of the preparation and handling of 

In “Michael Ballon’s  Castle Street Café Cookbook,” he reveals his personal 
attitudes and tells  colorful, interesting anecdotes, which can make for 
enjoyable reading even away  from the kitchen. Ballon is a regular contributor to 
regional lifestyle  magazines, and his Castle Street Café has become 
world-renowned for its  sensible, delicious offerings. He is also a culinary commentator 
on various  broadcast media, including WAMC, the region’s NPR outlet.   
Both the cookbook ($22.50  plus $3 shipping) and CD ($15 plus $3 shipping) 
can be purchased directly from _www.CastlestreetCafe.com_ 
(http://www.castlestreetcafe.com/) .  
# #  # 
Press contact:  
Michael Ballon, 413-528-5244  [mballon at bcn.net] 
Ed Bride, 413-442-7718  [JazzPittsfield at aol.com] 

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