By Randy Johnson
Charlie Ellis, the High Country’s longtime piano man, will appear for the last time with the other two current members of his Charlie Ellis Trio at the Green Park Inn’s Chestnut Grille on January 27th, 2017. The Friday evening concert takes place from 7 to 10 pm and requires advance reservations in the dining room much like one would make a dinner reservation. Each reservation is for a two-hour window with the expectation that the guest might eat dinner, have appetizers, drinks or otherwise patronize the restaurant while the Charlie Ellis Trio entertains.
That’s much the same way that guests enjoyed the trio between 1972 and 1982 when they played at Ellis’s Jazz Parlor in Blowing Rock, a classic High Country nightspot that Ellis says he is still asked about weekly, according to an article by Jeff Eason in The Blowing Rocket.
If you’re interested in attending, you might want to get reservations at the Chestnut Grille soon, suggests Green Park Inn front desk manager Kerry Hines. “We’ve been getting a lot of inquiries and we’re expecting to get pretty full pretty fast,” she says.
If you won’t be able to attend the concert or can’t wait to wander down memory lane to Jazz Parlor days, keep in mind that Ellis plays his piano tunes each Friday and Saturday night in the lobby of the Green Park Inn just outside the hotel’s historic Divide Lounge. Guests routinely enjoy a drink from the bar and Ellis’s music, and it isn’t unusual for longtime fans to occasionally add their voices to favorite songs.
Ellis’s weekend solo gig at the Green Park is expected to delight his fans for years to come. His final appearance with the trio on the 27th includes Rick Stapleton on bass, Mike Barlowe on drums, and of course Ellis on the piano. “I can’t speak for anyone else,” Ellis says, “but for me, that final night with the trio will be huge!”
Eason’s article in The Blowing Rocket includes a lengthy interview with the jazz legend who has performed opening sets for musicians such as Ramsey Lewis and Herbie Mann.