At a downtown Lake Worth, Florida, store Tuesday night, a group of at least a dozen musicians stood just inside the door and posed for a photo. This wasn’t a music store. It was The Book Cellar, a bookstore that has blossomed into a community gathering place.

The Book Cellar

In fact, when I walked in Thursday to replenish my sold-out copies of Murder in Palm Beach: The Homicide That Never Died, a young woman sat on a blanket in a corner with a couple of children playing with toys.

The dozen or so musicians didn’t even comprise all who showed that night, since some already had performed and left. Performed? At a bookstore? Yup, the third Tuesday of each month is Jazz Jam night, whereby players from throughout Palm Beach County and beyond unleash their creative talents on a variety of instruments, including voice, to the delight of audiences that occupy folding chairs and standing-room spaces among the shelves.

Ted Mack

This is not the Ted Mack Amateur Hour, a TV show from the late ’50s through the ’60s. (What, you never heard of it? Young whippersnappers … Shhsh!) These are professionals, who form impromptu combos that somehow churn out cohesively improvisational renderings of tunes from The Great American Songbook and more recent popular melodies.

Yvette Norwood-Tiger

And then there’s the occasional foreign number, such as La Vie en rose, which French chanteuse Edith Piaf wrote and recorded in 1947. Yvette Norwood-Tiger, a national and  international vocalist from these parts, did a duet with Frenchman Guillaume de Chalambert that was sublime. Norwood-Tiger, who performed recently in major European cities and South Africa, displayed her lusty but silken contralto, singing in English, while Chalambert reverted to French in a tenor akin to that of Andrea Bocelli.

Edith Piaf

A potpourri of musicians on piano, bass, drums, congas, steel pan, guitar and horns showed off their prowess to an appreciative audience. The Dexter Gordon-flavored musicality of tenor saxophonist Ben Sparrow shined in solos and accompaniment for  vocalists, including jazz stylist Rita Marie and the sultry-voiced Sam. All of it was ably organized by Blanche Williams.

All of this for $5, with wine, beer, coffee and snacks at the cash bar in the store’s rear café. Stay tuned for the next jam, October 16.