The sounds of French gypsy jazz performed by Tatiana Eva-Marie & The Avalon Jazz Band will fill the venue, a functioning modern lighthouse located on Kingsborough’s campus.
In addition to floor-to-ceiling ocean views, the audience will savor a selection of wine and cheese to set the mood.
Inspired by the musical backdrop for the streets of Paris in the 1930s, Friday’s selection will songs such as “La Vie en Rose,” “I Wish You Love,” and “Autumn Leaves,” made famous by such jazz greats as Édith Piaf, Yves Montand, and Charles Trenet.
Paris has long been christened the world’s capital of romance, and a fusion of French and gypsy music creates a poetic expression of all the ups, downs and rich complexities related to matters of the heart.
“I think that there is nothing more iconically Valentine’s than French music,” says Eva-Marie. “The music itself is very sentimental, poetic, childlike and hopeful. Then the element of gypsy music is very dramatic, sensuous and full of tragedy.”
As the daughter of a film composer/jazz singer and a classical violinist, you could say that music runs in the bandleader’s blood. A young Eva-Marie was introduced to jazz and swing by her father, and to gypsy folk music by her Romanian mother.
She began a multi-faceted career in entertainment at age four, working with established artists throughout her formative years and making guest appearances in her father’s jazz orchestra.
As an 11-year-old, she attended Theatre Populaire Romand in Switzerland before moving to New York City to train at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts three years later.
At 15, the now Brooklyn-based singer studied English medieval poetry at the Parisian university La Sorbonne while showcasing her talents as a thespian in some of the most renowned theaters in France.
Eva-Marie has performed in some of the most renowned cabarets and theaters in France, including the Comédie-Française. On top of international tours, she and her trusted quartet have also taken the stage at venues like Lincoln Center and The Iridium, as well as at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and SummerStage.
This month, the artist will star in her first feature film, “Swing Rendez-Vous,” directed by French filmmaker Gerome Barry.
Through her Valentine’s Day performance, Eva-Marie hopes to provide catharsis for the OSK audience, taking them through a set that evokes the array of emotions the holiday awakens in individuals.
Though she does not believe in the commercial aspect of Valentine’s Day, the jazz crooner hopes the occasion can double as an opportunity for all of us to be more vulnerable and emotionally brave.
“That’s something that you can hear in the lyrics of the songs,” she explains. “They’re never meek or scared of emotion, and I think that we need to learn from that, especially in an age of swiping left and right.”
Creating a connection between the artists and listeners is a mission at the forefront of the OSK program.
In 2015, executive director Anna Becker created the Jazz at the Lighthouse series to enhance that goal, turning the venue into a nightclub-esque setting that seats up to 240 people, facilitating a physically intimate space.
“It’s an extension of our interest,” Becker says, “and for jazz that seems obvious because bringing a conversation between the performer and the audience is such a part of the genre.”
Another important aspect of OSK’s work is making concerts affordable for the community. Ticket prices typically don’t rise above $50, and every Saturday during the summer OSK organizes free outdoor jazz shows attracting crowds of nearly 1,800.
Since its inception, the lighthouse series has presented international and local jazz artists that are leaders in their field, including Veronica Swift, Nicole Zuraitis, Thana Alexa, Catherine Russell, John Pizzarelli and Igor Butman.
Hailing from all corners of the map, as well as representing various styles within the genre, the collection of artists featured by OSK paint a complete picture of jazz’s thread, while also paying tribute to the diverse flavors of Brooklyn as a borough.
“We are aiming to present a broad range of what discipline can be,” says Becker.
In the coming months, OSK will depart slightly from its traditional lighthouse repertoire with two unique jazz-fusion performances. On April 4, guitarist Chicuelo and pianist Marco Mezquida (along with tapas and sangria) bring a piece of Flamenco Festival NY to Kingsborough.
Then, on May 1, Ty Stephens & (the) SoulJaazz bring the house down with tunes rooted in classical soul.
Friday’s show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at onstageatkingsborough.org.