In 1958, around the time Bob Dylan was shadowing Karen Dalton in the West Village while folk music ascended in popularity, The Music Inn opened its doors. From the get-go, Jeff Slatnick was part of the Music Inn scene too, hanging there Saturday afternoons while a high school student in Newark. Time passed, Jeff went to India for seven years of sitar study with Ali Akbar Khan, moved to San Francisco where he hung with Black Panthers, with Chuck Berry, opened on sitar for Sly and the Family Stone, and while returning to New York via St Louis re-met Chuck both there and again in New York.
Several instances of being in the right place at the right time led Jeff to the present day and his role as a shop owner, teacher of Classical Indian sitar, instrument inventor, designer and maker, repairer (even of darabukas), player of stringed instruments, a seller of all, including percussive instruments and vinyl records. And, producer: on Thursday nights, beginning 7 pm, he hosts an open mike for rising stars.
This shop is similar in style to the Red Caboose, one of the pre-eminent railroad hobbyist stores in North America. Upstairs and downstairs there’s stuff everywhere, hardly any two pieces alike. Beauty abounds on every hand whether you’re noticing the quality of wood, brass, stainless steel, shape of instruments, suppleness of hide, or uniqueness of purpose.
Interesting video, and here are some of the recognizable, unnameable instruments hanging on his walls: Balafone, L’oud (Lute), Charango, Dutar, Dirube.