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Monday Night Jazz: Jim Callen Plays ‘Beatle Jazz’

Pianist in Oak Park The Monday Night Concert Series features Jim Callen and selections from his recently released CD titled, “Beatle Jazz,” at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 8, at the Oak Park Arms, 408 S. Oak Park Ave.

A pianist since the age of seven, Callen has been playing jazz piano in Chicago for more than 30 years including with his own jazz trio. He has played at the Museum of Modern Art, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Fortnightly Club, and the River Forest Library as well as playing long-term engagements at the Pump Room, the Park Hyatt, the Four Seasons and the Ritz-Carlton.

For more than a year, he has been playing at Mariano’s stores around Chicago. At Mariano’s, his repertoire consists mainly of standards and pop tunes, but he considers the demographic of the store’s neighborhood when making his song choices. At the Lakeshore East location, for instance, the customer base is largely middle-aged, he says, so he plays selections from ‘60s musicals.

“The crowd really digs on that,” he said. “People go by you all day, telling you how good you are. It’s a nice ego boost.”

Callen feels his supermarket jams are a good investment—the music seems to make customers want to stay a while, he says, and maybe have a post shopping meal or glass of wine at the location. While some of his colleagues have been let go from Nordstrom in recent years, Callen is confident that his future at Mariano’s will be bright.

“Mr. Mariano likes music,” he says, “and God bless him.”

The Oak Park Arms is a rental retirement community which provides independent and assisted living apartments and a full schedule of activities and services. Furnished apartments are also available for a short-term stay – a weekend, a week, a month or longer.

The concert is free and open to the public. For more information call 708-386-4040.

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