Pausa Art House and Lázara Martinez Honored with Northwest Jazz Festival’s Jazz Ambassador Award

A Remarkable Journey of Ten Years

Over the last ten years, Pausa Art House has etched its presence as a cherished haven for jazz enthusiasts and beyond, nestled in the heart of Buffalo’s Allentown district. Thinking back to when it first opened, I recall being elated that a promising jazz venue had finally opened. Enduring a decade demands unwavering determination and perseverance, qualities that embody Lázara Martinez, the driving force behind Pausa Art House’s remarkable journey.

Each year, the Northwest Jazz Festival in Lewiston, NY honors individuals who selflessly contribute their time and talent to enrich the local jazz community through the festival’s Jazz Ambassador Award.

This year, the accolade is awarded to Lázara Martinez, a masterful violinist and the proprietor of Pausa Art House. In my years of knowing Lázara, I’ve admirably witnessed her navigate a path of challenges, including the disruption of the pandemic. Creatively adjusting as you must when challenges come and go with frequency.

Throughout Pausa Art House’s initial years, JazzBuffalo acted as a steadfast partner in bringing jazz artists to Pausa Art House and helping to promote its growth.   We certainly shared memorable moments and magical concerts. (Lázara and I even shared in receiving Best of Buffalo Spree awards one year.)

Pausa Art House remains a gem for jazz fans and the JazzBuffalo Community alike. Year after year, it receives recognition in the “Small Jazz Venue” category of the annual JazzBuffalo Poll, lauded for its intimate performances and artist exhibitions. Lazara’s recent efforts to elevate the sound quality of the space, spearheaded by the tremendous talents of Mark Percy, have made a significant difference in the musical experience. 

The Chairwoman of the festival, Carol Calato, nominated Lázara for the coveted Jazz Ambassador Award, which was unanimously supported by the festival’s board of directors. Carol states, ” “Ask any jazz musician, or jazz lover their opinion of Pausa. They rave about it. Thanks to the foresight, determination, and talent of Cuban-born musician, Lázara Martinez, Western New York has an intimate, award-winning venue to listen to fine performances from local, national, and international artists in an intimate and relaxed setting. Lázara Martinez is well-deserving of the 2023 Jazz Ambassador Award.”

Lázara will be away during this year’s festival.  I’ll be joined by Mark Percy at this year’s festival on Friday evening (August 26th) and have the immense privilege of accepting the award on her behalf. I couldn’t be more thrilled to do so. Lazara is a genuine champion of jazz within our community and personally, a cherished friend.

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