Counting the music venues in metro Orlando that offer great performances six nights a week isn’t difficult—and it’s certainly fortunate for local lovers of jazz and more. Now add award-winning musicians, and that list of venues narrows. One of the venues on that short list is the Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts in Winter Park, which offers exactly that week after week: great music, great musicians, and much more in an unassuming building located in a light-industrial area off Fairbanks Avenue between Clay and Formosa.

Opened in early 2016, the Blue Bamboo is the creation of Chris and Melody Cortez. Chris serves as its president, treasurer, and managing director. Melody is vice president, secretary, and director of operations. Chris is a guitarist, singer, producer, audio engineer and videographer. Melody is an artist with a background in business. Together, they’ve brought the Orlando community a wonderful independent performance venue that also houses an art gallery. And they do a terrific job bringing quality live music to Central Florida at 8:00pm every Tuesday through Sunday night.

One of those top-flight performers is the charismatic and extremely talented pianist Carol Stein, who performs there monthly. On January 23rd her one-woman show, “Carol Stein: The Piano Lady!,” was a musical trip through the vaudeville era of the early 20th century, a well-curated collection of the best of that genre performed as only she can. Between songs she filled in with the rich history of the women who performed them back then.

Coming in February are New York trumpeter Joe Breidenstine’s Quintet, the Bobby Koelble Band, the Orlando Gay Chorus, and more.

After their first evening at Blue Bamboo, guests tend to return for more. Thanks to impressive performances, terrific acoustics, a spacious and casual venue, modest ticket prices, available wine and beer, and original art on the walls, many patrons soon become regulars who return week after week. Blue Bamboo: a true gem for the Orlando area.

1905 Kentucky Ave., Winter Park, FL 32789

(407) 636-9951

Chris Carr is an Orlando art photographer and a contributing writer for ArtScene Press.
Photos: Chris Carr