Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Week the Music Died.

Image by Sam Brennan

On October 6, 2018 I wrote a post entitled "What's Life Like as a Piano Player in a Bar," and I based it on my 35 years of friendship with the two men behind Mykonos' world renown Montparnasse Piano Bar.  What prompted me to write that piece was that I'd been inspired by their establishment, employees, and patrons to base much of my new Andreas Kaldis novel "The Mykonos Mob," in a gender bending Mykonos bar, and to feature Toni, an American ex-pat female piano player by night who's a sort of  private detective by day. I just love her.

I opened that October blog with this sentence.  "Mykonos’ legendary Montparnasse Piano Bar closed for the season Friday night, giving all of its fans the chance to say adieu to its proprietors, Jody Duncan and Nikos Hristodulakis."  

To me, the Piano Bar has always represented the Mykonos so many of us remember and treasure. Locals, tourists, old timers, newbie visitors, gay, straight, folks from all around the world carry fond memories of this as a place of welcome and camaraderie, filled with Broadway and West End quality performers and---yes I'll use that phrase--where everyone knows their name.

Many tales of the Piano Bar have served as posts here, but they are but a few of the multitude that circulate among it's fans.  I chose to base much of my new book in the Piano Bar, because I--and many--saw it as a comforting bulwark against rampant changes overrunning so much of the island.

Last Saturday, Jody and Niko posted this announcement on Facebook:

"To Our Most Cherished Friends and Family Around The World
Nikos and I are writing this post with heavy hearts, dear friends. After thirty-six seasons on Mykonos, our times of magic and music and making wonderful memories each night at The Piano Bar have come to an end. We have not come to this decision lightly, or easily, and we want everyone to know that while we knew that our time in Mykonos would end at some point, that day always seemed somewhere off in the distance, just over the horizon." 

They went on to explain some of what prompted their decision to close, all understandable, but still devastating to a community that had come to regard the Piano Bar a place of sanctuary from the island's ever intensifying summer madness.  That announcement precipitated thousands of comments expressing shock and disbelief, touching tributes, a flood of photos and film clips, and reminiscences of how the Piano Bar had served as a stalwart benchmark in the lives of many.

It's been a week of heartfelt love and regret over the loss of an irreplaceable island institution. Barbara and I send you much love, Jody and Niko, and we wish you Godspeed in whatever you choose do next,  We shall miss you. The entire Island shall miss you.

It is the end of an era.


My Upcoming Events

Monday, April 15, 2:00 PM
Fountain Hills, AZ
Fountain Hills Community Center
Fountain Hills Friends of the Library Author Event

Tuesday, April 16, 7:00 PM
Scottsdale, AZ
Author Speaking and Signing

Wednesday, April 24, 6:30 PM
Houston, TX
Author Speaking and Signing

Friday, April 26, 7:00 PM
Denver, CO
Author Speaking and Signing

Monday, April 29, 7:00 PM
Pittsburgh, PA
Author Speaking and Signing

Wednesday, May 1, 6:30 PM
New York, NY
Author Speaking and Signing

Thursday, May 2, 7:00 PM
Naperville, IL
Author Speaking and Signing

Friday, May 3, 7:00 PM
Chicago, IL (Forest Park)
Author Speaking and Signing

Saturday, May 4, 2 PM
Milwaukee, WI
Author Speaking and Signing

Thursday May 9, 5:00 PM
CRIMEFEST—Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel
Panelist on “Nobody Would Believe it if You Wrote it: Fake News, Post-Truth and Changing Words,” with Fiona Erskine, William Shaw, Gilly Macmillan, moderated by Paul E. Hardisty

Friday, May 10, 5:10 PM
CRIMEFEST—Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel
Panelist on “Sunshine Noir,” with Paul Hardisty,  Barbara Nadel, Robert Wilson, moderated by Michael Stanley

October 31-November 3
BOUCHERCON 2019---Hyatt Regency Dallas
Panel Schedule Yet to be Announced


  1. For too many seasons, we've said we must return to Mykonos for the very purpose of visiting The Piano Bar. We can never thank you enough for telling us we 'had to go there' on our last visit to the Island as we were charmed by the place and its owners. Luckily we've stayed in touch via social media and wish them well, but still we will miss walking into one of the island's icons. We shouldn't have put off until tomorrow. You are correct. An era has ended.

    1. If anyone doesn't put off until tomorrow, it's you guys! We all have our memories, and God willing, there are more great ones to come.

  2. Jeff, you know I've always loved reading your blog posts, and sometimes I've contributed to them with a cocktail recipe or sometimes a cocktale, as it were. Today I didn't enjoy reading your post, as it seems that Nikos and I wrote the saddest tale of all for you to tell. Of course the tears started flowing even before I read the first sentence, with just that title making me bawl like a baby. I was thinking, "what have we done", with the guilt setting in here, wondering if we killed the music. But then I remember a comment posted by a dear friend this week after we told the world what was happening. He was replying to someone else who had that oh so sad feeling that wouldn't go away. He said, "Don't be sad because it's over, but rather smile because it happened". I thought that was sage advice, and I share it here with you and your readers. I'm terribly sad that we won't be there this summer, and I'll have other moments where I'll cry, without a doubt. But I'll smile through the tears, because Nikos and I were there, where it indeed did happen. Night after night, season after season, with the most amazing people in the world, both those performing and those who came to experience the magic going on inside The Piano Bar. And all those wonderful, funny, wise and always interesting people who made it all happen. It is their time to take a bow, to let Nikos and me give them some applause, and the recognition that they are the reason we lasted so long. A family, for sure, and never forgotten.

    With all our love and gratitude to you all,

    Jody and Nikos

    1. I think your friend gave sage advice indeed. It is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all. But it still hurts, fella. :) The warm memories are what we'll always have, thanks to you and Niko.

  3. It is always a sad, sad day when a treasure like this goes out of business. Godspeed and fair winds, Jody and Nikos - and although I never had the chance to visit your bar in person, I'm glad so many people did, and felt so happy there with you for all these years.

    1. It was your kind of place, Susan. And, you, their kind of soul.

  4. Breaks my heart. Were you already in L.A.?

    1. Yes, we were in NYC during the post-Left Coast Crime flu plague that I understand struck you and so many others. By the way, did you see this blog interview in which you're prominently cited--and not for any violations.

  5. Last time I walked in they were actually playing ‘as time goes by.’. . . When a gin mill is still a gin mill and also so much more.
    Shrew of Amherst

  6. Isn't it eerie how many random experiences portended the future?