Local musician Tena DuBerry has no problem admitting that Tacoma is full of talented local artists. In her eyes, the Tacoma scene is making a loud bang throughout the Pacific Northwest – the problem lies in keeping the music playing.
“It’s easy to start something. People have started things all over the place all the time,” DuBerry said. “We have all these great artists and more, how do we keep it playing?
DuBerry hopes to begin solving this problem by opening the Tena DuBerry Jazz Bistro at Highland Golf Course on Sunday, Feb 16.
According to DuBerry, the bistro will be a place for an older, mature crowd to get together, network and enjoy a live jazz venue.
“It’s a place and a venue to connect,” DuBerry said, “where we can grow as a community.”
The venue will have an emphasis on a live performance over DJs or television entertainment. DuBerry hopes the club will be reminiscent of the 70’s music of Aretha Franklin or Ella Fitzgerald, tickling those feelings of nostalgia and warmth from a time when live performers ruled the entertainment scene.
“[We’re] bringing back the live music, the feel-good music, because music heals,” DuBerry said.
Sunday will mark the grand opening of the bistro, and the occasion will be celebrated with giveaways and a live performance from DuBerry herself.
“When you come see me, it’s always going to be a top performance, period,” DuBerry said.
DuBerry is a veteran singer who has performed everywhere from Tacoma Little Theater to Carnegie Hall. She has a background in jazz, doing everything from plays to singing telegrams. DuBerry has written two plays that were performed in Tacoma: “Valentines Day and Black History Month Tribute to African-American Artist, No Longer Here” at Clover Park Technical College and “I am EVERYWOMAN” at the Tacoma Little Theatre, which honored women in every stage of their lives. She has covered everyone from Michael Jackson to Ray Charles, and will have an opportunity this week to cover Frank Sinatra songs in Seattle.
Born in Tacoma, DuBerry moved to the Washington, D.C. area when she was 13, but has returned to try and unite live performers in the Tacoma area, with the bistro being just the first step in keeping the music playing in the city.
“We have to learn to support one another; we have to learn to put our money where our mouth is,” DuBerry said.
DuBerry wants the bistro to evolve into a venture that supports the community, whether through professional connections or scholarships for younger residents. Specifically, DuBerry wants to use the bistro to provide role models for young women.
“We really want people to be a part of making this grow,” DuBerry said. “Let’s do this together, we have the singing, we have the opportunity, let’s make it happen together.”
Once the club is open, the plan is to begin doing live performances twice monthly, every other Sunday, slowly increasing the number of shows until they are a daily occurrence. DuBerry hopes these performances will help the Tacoma community by creating lasting relationships between the venue and performers.
“It really should be a partnership,” DuBerry said.
With that support from the community, the staff of the bistro truly believes Tacoma can become a go-to hotspot for entertainment not just from around the state but from around the whole country.
“Let’s make Seattle come to Tacoma, let’s make Olympia come to Tacoma, let’s make California come to Tacoma, let’s make Las Vegas come to Tacoma,” DuBerry said.
The Tena DuBerry Jazz Bistro will have its grand opening Sunday, Feb.16 from 6-8 p.m. and will feature live music performances, certificate giveaways, refreshments and light hors d'oeuvres. Tickets are $35 at http://tenaduberryjazzbistro.brownpapertickets.com.