The Starlight Lounge was a weekly jazz series held on Lansdowne Street in the Fenway area of Boston. At the time of its creation, most of the live jazz was being played across the Charles River in Cambridge. With the Berkeley College of Music and the New England Conservatory in the Back Bay area, we saw the need for a local venue that the jazz students could call home. The series had five-year run and hosted over 200 shows.
Within two years, the Starlight became so successful that we found the opportunity to add a second night. SMOKE opened its doors at the newly renovated Karma Club focusing on a more upscale, theater audience. The two nights ran weekly in the Monday and Wednesday slots. They turned a new audience on to the young aggressive jazz coming out of the Boston area.
The Starlight Lounge Jazz Club
Venus De Milo/Axis, Boston
The Starlight Lounge was a down and dirty, working man’s jazz night that alternated sets between Boston’s hottest jazz musicians and soul DJs. The night hosted local jazz acts as well as national bands including such luminaries as Larry Goldings, saxophonist George Garzon and Danilo Perez
SMOKE – Jazz • Soul • Conversation
Karma Club, Boston
Based on the success of the Starlight promotion, a second night was created to target an older audience. A more upscale, sophisticated night was developed to attract Boston’s theater community. SMOKE Debuted with stellar performances by Ravi Coltrane, Art Blakey saxophonist Bill Pierce and Roland Kirk drummer Bob Moses.
Marketing activations for this pre-internet promotion included physical mailings, promotional concerts in the park, and an aggressive hand flyer initiative in targeted areas of the city. The house band and guest artists acted as a promotional team that focused on the music schools.
Promotional Concerts: Starlight in the Park – Live at Copley Square