Tom Anthony and Al Martinez perform at 98 Cannon Riverside Grille on the Chestertown waterfront. Photo by Steve Meehan.

Now that we have shaken off our mild winter and more and more of us are getting our COVID-19 vaccines, it’s time to venture out. And 98 Cannon Riverside Grille’s “Jazz, Bourbon and BBQ Night” held every Tuesday is a good opportunity.

Located at the Foot of Cannon Street on the Chester River waterfront, the water views are a nice change if you have been indoors too long.

Executive Chef Chris Golder has put together a New Orleans’ inspired menu and invited local jazz duo Tom Anthony and Al Martinez. The jazz duo, which often adds a drummer for a trio, has performed at 98 Cannon for two years, starting every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. during dinner hours.

Martinez and wife, Stacy, retired from Long Island and developed a horse farm near Adkins Arboretum and Tuckahoe State Park. Martinez spent most of his life playing classical and popular music.

“I always wanted to play jazz music – in a combo or small band. It’s the purist form of free form jazz,” he says

Martinez found a good music partner in Tom Anthony, a former Washington College music professor and well known in local performance venues. Most often you see him with his shock of white hair on the bass but he has a wider repertoire.

“I like to say I play strings and things,” Anthony said, noting his love of classical guitar, lute, banjo, mandolin, voila da Gamba, and cello.

“We perform a different set of songs every Tuesday,” Anthony said. “Mostly jazz, from the Jazz Era to Miles Davis and John Coltrane.”

“Al picks the program; I have a good ear,” he said.

Martinez explained that he focuses on the Jazz Era of the 1920s when the musical form developed. Tuesday Jazz Night offers the duo the opportunity to perform.

“We consider it a practice even though we are performing a different set of songs, often for the first time.”

In addition to classical jazz, Martinez has added the Latin “montuno feel” to the music selection.

Arsenio Rodriguez developed the montuno feel in the 1940s and 1950s. It was the basis for modern day salsa. Rodriguez incorporated other Latin sub-genres of music such as guaracha, bolero and mambo. He was born in Havana, Cuba in 1911 and died in Los Angeles, CA in 1970.

“If you listen to enough jazz, you will come across Latin jazz; you will hear the Latin influence,” Martinez said. “It leads to great jazz improvisation.”

I can’t close without commenting on the menu. Chef Golder is offering a special Jazz Night starter line up that includes pulled barbecued and smoked meat sliders – both spicy and not.

The service team at 98 Cannon Riverside Grille is very attentive to the COVID-19 safe dining experience, starting with a reservation management system that keeps diners on time. The restaurant has created safe dining distances and enforces mask rules.

You need reservations – call 443-282-0055. You can learn more by visiting 98 Cannon Riverside Grille online or on Facebook.