Our History | Our Team
Some of the first issues of Hot House Jazz
Our monthly was launched in March 1982 by jazz
writer Gene Kalbacher with his wife Lynn and Jeff Levenson currently executive Vice President of High Note Records. Gene’s goal was to provide music
enthusiasts with a handy printed guide to the best in New York
jazz clubs, concerts and festivals – with informed commentary on
up-and-comers, as well as established talent. Lynn Kalbacher
Taterka labored for twenty years to build on Gene's vision until 2002
when Dave Dittmann took over as Publisher with Gwen
Calvier serving as General Manager. Editor Paul Blair came on board in 2003 bringing his vast contribution to our publication. At the dawn of our 4th decade and with Paul's untimely passing on December 6, 2011, the new team is commited to maintaining the high standard our readers deserve.
President/managing editor Gwen Calvier and her staff (copy editor
Yvonne Ervin with a loyal crew of contributing writers and
production/art director Karen Pica) will keep delivering the highest possible quality:
- We’re broadening the scope and depth of our coverage.
- Our expanded online presence provides direct access to musicians’ and venues’ own websites
- Our pages are more numerous and colorful than ever before.
- And we deliver hard copies around the city on the last Thursday of every month.
House keeps getting stronger than ever. Its readership includes many New
Yorkers but also jazz enthusiasts living far from New York, and
even outside the U.S. Loyal partners, musicians, club owners,
concert promoters and record company execs eager to build the
audience for the music rely upon Hot House to advertise their
Since jazz never stands still, neither will we!
Jazz Journalists Association Award 2005
from left to right Kanzler, Calvier, Blair and Kolb
New Jersey Jazz Society Award 2007
from left to right Calvier, Taterka and Pica
Gwen Calvier, President/Managing Editor: Gwen Calvier, a
jazz-loving lawyer specialized in labor and employment issues, moved from France to the United States in
the late 1990s after spending the first 10 years of her career as an HR consultant. Searching for an ideal way to meld her
business skills with her keen interest in music, she purchased
Hot House and has been running the magazine
since 2002. These days, Gwen spends an inordinate amount of time
visiting local jazz venue to another, attending recording
sessions, enthusing about what she hears and doing everything
she can to promote the music’s top talents.
Yvonne Ervin, Copy Editor: began working as a jazz journalist in 1980 when she produced a radio special on Bill Evans for WGLT-FM in Normal, Illinois. Since then Ervin has interviewed more than 150 jazz greats for print and radio; 30 of her interviews are archived at the Library of Congress. She was a jazz producer for KUAZ radio in Tucson for 10 years and, for seven years, wrote a jazz column for the Tucson Weekly. Ervin has had articles published in: Arizona Daily Star, Tucson Citizen, Tucson Magazine, Showtimes West, Down Beat, and the books Music Hound’s Guide to Jazz and Drama for Students Vol. 19. She also has many liner notes to her credit. Ervin has been writing for Hot House jazz magazine since 2001 and she serves as Vice President of the Jazz Journalists Association.
Karen Pica, Production/Art Director: Holder of a Bachelor of Fine Art degree from Kean University,
designer and illustrator Karen Pica works in a style she calls
“stylized realism,” She’s won awards for her photography and her
hand-painted clothing designs. Her paintings were shown in 2001
and 2002 as a part of the International Miniature Art Exhibition
at the Renee Foosaner Art Gallery in Millburn, NJ. A valuable
assistant to Hot House’s founders since the magazine’s very
first issue, she’s been in charge of the production for many
years and is now our Production and Art Director.
George Kanzler, "Winning Spins" column: A
NYU grad, George Kanzler hosted a jazz show on
Western Nigeria Radio during a Peace Corps stint in the 60s. In
1968, he pioneered in jazz, rock and pop criticism when he began
writing for Newark’s Star-Ledger, with many of his
columns eventually syndicated across North America. By the 80s,
George had become one of the country’s fulltime daily newspaper
jazz writers. Since retiring from the Star-Ledger in 2002, he’s been our expert in new release reviews through his
"Winning Spins" column, has written as well for Jazz Times and All About Jazz. Each year, he votes in polls conducted by downbeat, The Village Voice and the Jazz Journalists Association.
Elzy Kolb, "Jazzwomen!" column: Elzy
Kolb’s lifelong interest in jazz began when she was a kid in
Philly, listening to Joel Dorn on the radio, and scaring her
young classmates with Mingus’ “Oh Yeah”. Elzy cut her
journalistic teeth writing performance and record reviews, then
spent four years as a jazz and blues programmer, producer and
announcer at an NPR-affiliate station in the West, interviewing
everyone from Sun Ra to Son Seals. Her writing on jazz and other
topics has appeared in the New York Times, Gannett Newspapers,
TheStreet.com, Family Circle and elsewhere. Since 2003, Elzy has
relished the monthly challenge of squeezing as many artists as
possible into the space allotted her Jazzwomen! column, for
which she’s honored to have the sponsorship and support of
International Women in Jazz.
Gary Walker, "New Jersey Jazz"
column: "Morning Jazz Host" at WBGO-FM.
For 30 years, Gary Walker has been getting up at 3am Monday through Friday to make the 6am -10am shift at WBGO (88.3fm/wbgo.org). Gary feels extremely lucky to be a part of the world's premier jazz radio station and figures that even without getting up so early he'd still have those bags under his eyes.
As Walker says, "these are vibrant times in jazz to deflect the difficult times in life. Hot House Magazine is a beacon for all things jazz. To make a small contribution by letting folks know of some of the performance highlights in New Jersey is quite rewarding."
Fran Kaufman, Contributing Photographer: Fran Kaufman has been covering the jazz
scene for over a dozen years. In addition to her work for Hothouse, her
appear daily on the photoblog (www.wbgo.org/photoblog) of WBGO Radio.
She is the official photographer for The Jazz Cruise, for which she
produces an annual photobook, and she photographs musicians in the
jazz and classical worlds for album covers, magazines and publicity.
Her work has been honored with recent solo exhibitions at the
Brooklyn Academy of Music and at the gallery of WBGO Radio in Newark,
New Jersey. Viewers who attended these exhibitions know that Kaufman
captures musicians in private moments, behind the scenes, at
rehearsals and in recording studios. Some of these behind-the-scenes
shots appear monthly in Hot House's "Moment You Missed."