Jazz On Monday Nights At The Basement

Tanya Wilder


EUSTIS – Can you imagine a live jazz set with a very talented vocalist and pianist performing for at least sixty minutes for only a $10.00 admission charge?

Well, I and about forty other patrons heard jazz hits from jazz greats like Sarah Vaughn, Jill Scott, Whitney Houston, and Nina Simone at Jazz on Mondays at the Basement at the Plaza Theatre on Kurt Street in Eustis, Florida.

We paid $10.00.

Tanya Wilder, a local vocalist from Eustis and Stacey Cross, her pianist, had the audience, snapping their fingers, stomping their feet, singing along, and just having fun, especially when they had to identify some tunes like “Take Me out to Ballgame”.

With an attractive style and a sultry voice reminiscent of jazz greats like Sarah Vaughn and Dakota Staton, Tanya started singing in the church at 4 years old, and opened for stars like Mary Blige, Clarence Carter and others. Tanya skillfully owned the audience, answering questions about the songs she was singing and filling in the lyrics. They were enjoying themselves and the show. Many committed to return to the Basement next Monday night.

“It’s all about joy. Be free, but keep your shoes on,” Stacy Cross jokingly said as he played the piano, prepping the audience for the evening of jazz.

Jumping off with, Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good”, Tanya Wilder, sporting a green sequined one piece jump suit, immediately wooed her audience with her body gestures and her first melodic rendition of “Feeling Good”. And that is exactly how the entire night continued with great jazz on a Monday night for a ten dollar admission in the Basement at the Plaza Theatre in Eustis, Florida.

Eustis City Commissioner Willie Hawkins said, “The Plaza Theater’s inaugural jazz night in “The Basement” with Tanya Wilder was an unexpected treat.   I knew Tanya had the talent and the chops to pull it off, but being transported to a small New York style Jazz club in the middle of Eustis, where the songstress Tanya perfected song after song accompanied by an equally talented pianist was quite the surprise.  I can’t wait to see and hear what they have in store in “The Basement” for next week.”

“Tonya Wilder is Eustis’ finest”, said Lavarious Slaughter, owner of the Plaza Theatre, and developer of the Monday Night Jazz in the Basement concept. “We knew if anyone could pull it off it would be Ms. Wilder, who gave us a big opening night.”

I’ll be back next Monday night. You can’t beat great entertainment for only $10.

For more information, please call 352-810-4036.