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Fig & Olive Bringing Night Music to Eastchester

EASTCHESTER, N.Y. — There will be music in the night in Eastchester — once a week for at least three weeks — when Fig & Olive begins its Jazz Residency series Wednesday.

The series fills a gap in the area’s entertainment options, with live midweek music.

“We always strive to offer our guests the best possible experience by listening to what they want,” said Fig & Olive Marketing Director Ludo Barras in a press release. “These events are exactly what people have been looking for during the week, and we are eager, as always, to make sure they not only have a spectacular meal, but also enjoy the atmosphere.”

Jazz-blues singer and guitarist Kirsten Thien has committed to anchoring the series with appearances from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesdays, April 11, 18 and 25, at the fine-dining restaurant in the Vernon Hills Shopping Plaza, 696 White Plains Road.

Thien will be joined over the course of the series by Tommy Mandel on keyboard, who has played with Chrissie Hynde, Bryan Adams and Dire Straits; New York City Blues Hall of Famer Arthur Neilson on guitar, who has shared the stage with B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Albert King, among others; and pop/folk chanteuse Galia Arad.

Despite the series title, Thien, who recently finished a European tour, leans more toward blues than jazz . An April 2011 review in Downbeat magazine states: "Kirsten Thien's stock in trade is modern blues infused with soul and rock. She's a lithe, composed vocalist, inclined to use her attractive voice to elevate rather than plumb lyrics in songs she's written about sensual love."

“I dabble in all styles, but my recordings are predominantly blues," Thien said. "But blues is really a part of jazz."

Thien said she is looking forward to the Fig & Olive series because she will be able to branch out.

"I get to do more of the jazz songs I’ve been listening to. I’m excited to delve into it a little deeper. We’ll do some rock, soul, pop, jazz and blues."

Thien has always loved music, but didn't consider it as a full-time profession until her senior year at Georgetown University, where she was pursuing a degree in finance.

"It was something that had never crossed my mind," she said, until someone told her she could make a living playing music. She made the move, and doesn't regret it.

"I saw Etta James a few years ago when she was 72," Thien said. "I decided that's what I wanted to be doing when I'm 72."

Spokesperson Diana Costello said this is the first time Fig & Olive, which serves nouvelle cuisine and fine wines in a contemporary atmosphere, has done live music in Eastchester.

"They want to bring a little bit more of a night crowd," Costello said. "Give them something to do after dinner — sit at the bar, have some fabulous cocktails."

Costello said the music is not intended to be a performance, but a complementary part of the ambiance.

"She's not going to be the center of attention. She's going to enhance the atmosphere," she said. "Wanted someone with a nice voice. They thought about bringing in a jazz trio, but decided they want a singer, and she's got a really soulful voice."

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