Scene Last Night: Clapton, Blankfein, Jain, Colbert, Hendricks

Clapton and Marsalis at Jazz at Lincoln Center
Wynton Marsalis and Eric Clapton play the blues at Frederick P. Rose Hall. Photographer: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

A New Orleans-style “Layla” with a gospel kick was the surprise addition to the concert Wynton Marsalis and Eric Clapton performed Thursday night in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall.

It was the one Clapton song in a program focused on traditional blues.

“Wynton brought it up in rehearsals, and Eric said the only way he’d do it is if it’s New Orleans-style,” trumpeter Marcus Printup said at the post-concert gala dinner at Roseland Ballroom. Marsalis arranged the song overnight “and Eric took care of the rest,” said Printup.

Preparing to dig into a chocolate cupcake, Printup then recalled his own favorite moment of the concert: when Clapton said he was nervous.

“He looked nervous, too! What it reminds me of is that I’m a firm believer that you can always learn more,” Printup said.

The combination was winning on stage and off. The gala event raised $3.6 million for Jazz at Lincoln Center, drawing an eclectic crowd including” Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and chief executive of Goldman, Sachs & Co.; Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Cory Booker; singer John Legend; and Glenn Lowry, director of the Museum of Modern Art.

InMotion Photography

A few blocks away, 1,400 guests gathered for the annual photography auction to support InMotion, which provides legal services to disadvantaged women.

Four ballrooms of the Sheraton New York Hotel swelled with mergers-and-acquisition deal-makers, advisers, lawyers and investors, as well as new friends in private equity and hedge funds.

Guests included Ajit Jain, president of reinsurance at Berkshire Hathaway Inc.; Jeffrey Aronson, managing principal at Centerbridge Partners LP; Lori Lesser, partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, and Daniel Celentano, senior managing director of Evercore Partners LLC. The event raised $2.2 million.

“We have a great feeling about helping people who are down,” said Timothy Coleman, senior managing director at the Blackstone Group and an InMotion board member. “It’s what we do for a living.”

Last year the organization served 2,091 women and their 2,596 children. Lawyers at top firms do the bulk of the work on a pro bono basis.

“What really convinces people is our leverage,” said Catherine Douglass, founder and executive director of InMotion. “For every dollar we raise we deliver $5 worth of legal services to clients.”

Sondheim’s ‘Company’

Stephen Colbert threw Martha Plimpton in the air and caught her, then kicked up his legs for a chorus line, all in a frumpy maroon sweater and baggy pants.

Clearly he wasn’t the cast member charged with sexing up the New York Philharmonic production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company.” That job went to Christina Hendricks, the buxom, curvy star of “Mad Men.” Flanked by parental figures in long nightgowns, Hendricks wore a navy flight attendant’s uniform. With some very clever coaxing, Neil Patrick Harris got her to take it off in just a few minutes.

This gala fare got everyone’s hearts racing, among them Alec Baldwin, a new board member of the Philharmonic; fashion designer Michael Kors; Broadway legend Elaine Stritch; and Gary Parr, Lazard Ltd. managing director and chairman of the Philharmonic. The event raised more than $1.2 million.

At intermission, many audience members pronounced Harris the best “Bobby” they’d seen. He’d certainly taken advantage of the staging, which had the conductor Paul Gemignani stationed right in a spot that in one scene, turned into a wall of his apartment. Hendricks admires the spot, in gushing praise of Harris’s apartment decoration.

“Oh this,” Harris said, giving Gemignani a poke in the back. “I never really look at this.”

(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

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