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For over a decade, Jazz Standard has been setting the standard—world-class jazz, warm hospitality, pitch-perfect sound, and award-winning Southern cuisine and barbecue in an intimate and comfortable environment. As one of the world's top jazz venues, Jazz Standard hosts both legendary artists of today and bright stars of tomorrow.

Jazz Standard is a non-tipping restaurant.
Hospitality Included.

Seth Abramson

Artistic Director

Seth provides the artistic vision for the room and is the founding Artistic Director. Through his curatorial expertise in spotting talent, Jazz Standard has given many now well-established jazz artists their first major break in the NY market. A guitarist himself, Seth holds degree in music from NYU, and has worked in just about every aspect of the music business from publishing and record labels to agencies and management. As President and Founder of Rabbit Moon Productions, Inc., Seth continues to produce a number of music events and festivals, including the Oval Lawn Series in Madison Square Park, and served as the founding music director and producer for the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party for over a decade. He is a Grammy Award winning producer with multiple Grammy nominated recordings.

Photo by John Rogers

Bret Lunsford

Culinary Director

Bret Lunsford is the Culinary Director of Blue Smoke. Born in Atlanta, Georgia and raised in Texas and Mississippi, Bret grew up eating a variety of flavors native to the American South. Whether it was grilling with his father, making a pot of seafood gumbo with his Granny, or watching Julia Child and Emeril Lagasse on television, Bret’s upbringing and love for food drove him to pursue a career within the hospitality industry.

Bret earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Southern Mississippi, at which point he worked at a local Outback Steakhouse as a server but also had the chance to dabble in the kitchen. Following college, Bret decided to seek formal culinary training which brought him to New York to enroll in the Culinary Institute of America.

After graduating from CIA in 2013, Bret joined Union Square Hospitality Group as a line cook at Gramercy Tavern before joining the opening team of Untitled in 2015. He went on to work at Blue Smoke and Jazz Standard in 2016 as a server, and then transitioned back to the kitchen as a sous chef. He was quickly promoted to executive sous chef, and then ultimately was named the Culinary Director of Blue Smoke in March 2018.

Mark Maynard

Co-Founder & Director of Operations

Mark Maynard is a Director of Operations for Union Square Hospitality Group where he drives the strategic direction of Jazz Standard, all Blue Smoke enterprises, Porchlight, and USHG’s overall bar programming. 

Mark’s career at Union Square Hospitality Group began as a host/reservationist at Union Square Cafe, where he was personally trained by Danny Meyer to become its maître d’. He was ultimately named General Manager. It was there that he absorbed the company’s approach to hospitality, which he characterizes as honest, straightforward and caring.  

Mark later moved on to co-found Blue Smoke and Jazz Standard in 2002. Under Mark’s leadership, both Blue Smoke and Jazz Standard emerged as destinations for well-curated spirits, vibrant cocktails and craft beer. Mark also led the strategic growth of Blue Smoke, which expanded to multiple locations, including New York’s Battery Park City and outposts of Blue Smoke at CitiField, home of the New York Mets, Washington Nationals ballpark and JFK Airport’s Delta Terminal Four. In 2015, Mark co-founded and conceptualized Porchlight, USHG’s first stand-alone bar located in the emerging West Chelsea neighborhood. Mark then went on to spearhead the opening of Cedric’s at The Shed in 2019. Shortly after, he published his first hospitality focused book titled, The Next Frontier of Restaurant Management: Harnessing Data to Improve Guest Service and Enhance The Employee Experience (Cornell University Press, 2019). 

A graduate of Cornell University with a degree in Landscape Architecture, Mark sees both disciplines requiring patience, planning and vision. Most importantly, he believes that in both cases, simplicity matters most and a design’s effectiveness is only as good as the end-users’ experience and their connection to it. Mark, an avid cyclist, gardener and bakery aficionado, lives with his two children in South Orange, N.J.

“There are some people that if they don’t know, you can’t tell them.”

Louis Armstrong