Cafe Improv in Princeton
Arts Council of Princeton Presents: Jim Gaven
Performing at places who are keen to the idea of original music is hard to find these days. Considered few and far between, when we do stumble across one, it's like finding a diamond in the rough. I've been lucky enough to find many places like this in NJ over the years. Cafe Improv is one of those places. Sponsored by the Arts Council of Princeton, the venue is designed to hold events and showcase local artists work. From artists paintings landscapes to musical artists creating soundscapes, the building resonates beauty. It doesn't hurt to have the Princeton Public Library right across the street for foot traffic, advertising, marketing, and appreciation.
The second floor is where the magic happens for music, and usually once a month on the first Saturday of the month. The stairs lead to a dimly lit room for ambiance--an avid coffeehouse or open mic night goer's dream. Seating is limited to less than 50 people, so the element of a private show in an intimate setting is in place. The literal and metaphorical stage is set for a night of musical performance and appreciation. Multiple camera's are set up to capture different angles of every performer's set of 3-5 songs. The host introduces every person to the stage as if every last performer is important and worthy of such a thing. Some have short bio's, some have long ones. All have their story to share. It's encouraged for every person attending the show as a listener to be quiet, attentive, and respectful of the person singing or performing. To put it simply, it's amazing for a performer. It's exactly what I want for performing my original material: an attentive audience who is there to truly listen to what you have to say or do with your instrument and creativity. There is enough time before the night starts
I've had the pleasure of performing at Cafe Improv on multiple occasions, and it's always a great time. Although it is an unpaid performance, it's more about the atmosphere created by the people in charge as well as being given the platform to have a listening audience for original material. It is a free event for the public to attend, but donations are most certainly accepted to keep the event free for years to come.
The video above is an original song of mine performed at Cafe Improv in 2009, 'Stay'. I joke that some day I'll sell the song to John Mayer because I feel like it would work well for his voice. The lyrics are below for your viewing pleasure. Feel free to use them to follow along. I can't say, 'Thank You' enough to Cafe Improv for allowing musicians like myself to share their craft with people who really care about live music and supporting local artists.
'Stay' (Music and Lyrics by Jim Gaven) Copyright 2009
1st Verse: Holding on to what you can, but don’t too tight you might end up, cutting off your loose ends, Now don’t pretend you’re someone else, I know you’re thinking of yourself, it’s not if you can play it safe, you’re still gonna throw it all away
Chorus: If I walk and you run, you’re nothing but a runaway, I want you to stay, Why is it that, if I walk and you run, this just turns into a race, I want you stay here with me?
2nd Verse: Every dog can have its day, every man can have his ball and chain, to me it’s all the same, everything’s not a win or lose, why can’t we make our own rules, it’s not how well you play the game, it’s what you do along the way
Chorus: If I walk and you run, you’re nothing but a runaway, I want you to stay, Why is it that, if I walk and you run, this just turns into a race, I want you stay?
Bridge: Can you make a change, not play it safe, Can you struggle through this for my sake, or is the pain too much to take? Can you make a change, not play it safe, Can you say this to me face to face? I can’t wait for the day
Chorus: If I walk and you run, you’re nothing but a runaway, I want you to stay, Why is it that, if I walk and you run, this just turns into a race, I want you stay (Stay, stay, stay here with me)