Queva Jayne Lutz-the well-respected owner of the legendary Greenwich Village jazz club 55 Bar-died at her home in New York City on Thursday, Feb. 22. Lutz’ laidback and supportive personality made the 55 Bar the kind of place where musicians felt free to experiment and socialize.
Born in Harlingen, Texas, Lutz left home at 16 and settled in Northern California, where she owned Tides Bookstore in Sausalito. She moved to New York in 1977 and became a real estate developer in 1981. Lutz’s personality informed how she developed real estate: working to open doors and opportunities for others, ultimately bringing them together.
And bringing people together is the 55 Bar’s greatest charm. Founded in 1919 (during the Prohibition Era), at 55 Christopher St. in the West Village, the club began hosting jazz shows in 1983, allowing anyone who wanted to jam to sit in, though without pay. Lutz took over the space in 2001 and turned it into a venue where both amateurs and well-known professional jazz acts performed.
Lutz is survived by her mother Nickie, her brother Jess, her son Scott Ellard and her two grandchildren, Aerin and Nicholson. Condolences and reminiscences are welcomed at [email protected], and a memorial service will be held at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church on March 15 at 6 p.m. The church, famous for its Jazz Ministry, is located at 619 Lexington Ave., on the corner of 54th St.