April 23, 2014

The Canyon Bistro for Fine Dining and Jazz

 

PHOTO BY SAMANTHA JOHNSON

The Canyon Bistro for Fine Dining and Jazz

The Canyon Bistro pairs an evening of Jazz with fine wine and dining. Left to right: Reggie Hamilton on bass, Ron King on trumpet and Bistro owner Larry Cohn on keyboard. Not pictured are Joey Heredia on drums and vocalist Leslie Smith.

Larry Cohn’s Canyon Bistro celebrates five years in the Canyon on Oct. 12 and has become Topangans’ choice to dine and occasionally enjoy jazz-filled evenings.

Every other Friday, from July through October, the Canyon Bistro transforms into a hopping jazz club where fine dining is paired with fine music and a casual vibe.

On August 31 at 8 p.m., the night of a rare blue moon, the Bistro was in full swing. Patrons feasted on roasted Jidori chicken and shrimp Veracruz on the intimate patio.

Strings of lights glittered overhead and lanterns lined the wood picket fence illuminating the surrounding foliage.

The music was infectious. Everyone in the crowd bobbed, swayed, or otherwise moved to the tunes.

One pre-teen boy snapped his fingers in unison with his father. They both swung their feet to the rhythm, the boy’s clad in Converse All Stars and his father’s in brown loafers.

A young woman wearing a pink-and-black-striped dress danced by the open doorway.

Another bespectacled diner with a baseball cap, pony-tail and goatee nodded his head and drummed on the table.

Larry Cohn, the owner of Canyon Bistro, played keyboard for the quartet alongside Ron King on trumpet, Reggie Hamilton on bass, and Joey Heredia on drums. The band played several sets throughout the night sometimes providing a serene background for diners’ conversations, then building towards a climatic flurry of virtuosic solos.

Onlookers hooted and hollered each time King, a Grammy-nominated soloist, stepped forward to wail on his trumpet, often building from a catchy piano riff.

Leslie Smith added vocals to some songs, mainly performing mellow jazz standards.

“You guys are so sweet, kind ... and full! What’s up?” said Smith after a lively rendition of “Route 66.” Smith crooned with a pure tone and a jovial demeanor.

The players fed off the vigor of the crowd and each other. Cohn and Heredia grinned and nodded at each other as they played back and forth, gleefully challenging one another. Hamilton leaned against his amp and continuously tapped his foot to each tune.

Entranced patrons clapped along at times and eagerly whistled and applauded after each piece. The music consisted of a mixture of old standards and jazz fusion. During one of the later pieces, the other musicians improvised as Cohn played a distinctively Latin riff.

The jazz is best experienced from the patio, but it’s still audible from the first room inside the restaurant as the doors are always open. The displayed art by local artists, rotates periodically.

Whether seated inside or out, you’ll appreciate the French-style food and friendly service at the Bistro. This is the place to take your time and savor the many sensory delights.

There’s still time to enjoy the jazz this season. The next performance will be on Sept. 28 or catch the five-year anniversary celebration on Oct. 12. The patio fills up fast so be sure to book your table early. Call (310) 455-7800 for reservations. For more information visit www.canyonbistro.com. n