Jam for Jerry tributes Jerry Gillotti, iconic owner of Gilly’s Jazz Club

More than 70 musicians played at Gilly’s Jazz Club before a standing room only crowd in tribute to the late Jerry Gillotti.

The jazz jam session is the penultimate performance at the club featuring jazz and blues musicians founded by Gillotti in 1972. New Year’s Eve will be the last night for the iconic club.

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“It’s an amazing response and I love that everybody came forward,” said Hal Melia, jam organizer. “This club was where a lot of us grew up.”

Gillotti died Thanksgiving Day at age 80.

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Wednesday night, hundreds of people turned out to show their appreciation for the Kettering resident who they said brought jazz to life in Dayton.

“I'm going to miss this facility. There’s not a lot of facilities that brought the type of entertainment that he did bring in here. He used to bring in top-shelf bands,” Rodney Brown of Huber Heights said.

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On Wednesday, the entertainment was free, no performers were paid, and the staff also were not paid. The only thing that cost money were drinks at the bar, but any money was to be given to the Gillotti family, Melia said.

“There’s going to be a lot of tears tonight, and I’m kind of waffling myself right now. It’s an emotional time but it’s also a celebration of what he was able to accomplish,” Melia said. “Dayton is a place where if you want something to happen you have to make it happen yourself and Jerry did that in spades.”

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