After a five-year hiatus, a Gloucester couple who've presented jazz concerts on Rocky Neck in the past are returning to do so again this year.
Barbara and Al Boudreau are returning with their quintet to The Studio in the Rocky Neck art colony with the Sunday jazz concerts — starting this week. And they've put together a lineup for 19 Sundays this summer season.
Each week, they feature a different horn player, and one week in July, they will host Gray Sargent, Tony Bennett's guitar player, for the weekly gig.
"We're incredibly excited to return to The Studio. It is a magical place with a festive atmosphere," said Barbara Boudreau, the vocalist. "People would just come in off the street."
Herb and Helen Joseph of Gloucester, who were regulars for the Sunday jazz shows, will also return for their regular musical outing.
"We hardly ever missed a gig. They are an excellent jazz band, all easy listening. They filled that room every Sunday evening and that room is so perfect for their acoustics," Herb Joseph said.
The room, located off Rocky Neck Avenue, adjacent to the Inner Harbor, has tables in the shape of an artist's easel, and the walls boast colorful paintings by noted Gloucester artists. The room receives sea breezes off the water. Al Boudreau said that decades ago, The Studio was an actual art studio; Emile Gruppe used to paint there.
"Now we're fortunate to have some of the best jazz players in the country come here, many who come from Berklee College of Music," Al Boudreau said.
During those seasons, the Boudreaus played with some of jazz's top musicians, including the late Herb Pomeroy of Gloucester, and Dick Johnson, Artie Shaw's band leader.
The Josephs said they are attracted to the Sunday jazz shows not only because of the quality of the musicians, but also the congeniality of the event.
"They have great guests and they also take requests," Herb Johnson said. "It was a popular scene and the place was jumping. They have a strong following of people who travel to hear them. They are just one of the greatest combos on the North Shore, and they don't brag about it — but their fans do."
The Boudreaus played at The Studio from 1996 to 2003 when the late Frank Ahearn was the owner.
The jazz revival is due in part to his daughter, Kim Ahearn, who has assumed a larger role in the waterside restaurant and had an interest in bringing the Boudreaus back.
The season opens this Memorial Day weekend — Sunday at 5 p.m., with Greg Hopkins, a trumpet legend from the Buddy Rich Band, and also a Berklee professor. This year, Hopkins produced some jazz concerts in tribute to Pomeroy, who taught at Berklee for more than 40 years.
The quintet is comprised of Barbara Boudreau on vocals, Al Boudreau on drums, Jack Senier on piano, Mark Carlsen on bass, and Hopkins on horn this week.
There is a $5 cover charge for most of the shows.
For more information, visit www.boudreaujazz.com
Gail McCarthy can be reached at email@example.com