Monday, April 2, 2012

Rogue Life List #80. Visit a Jazz Bar

After a long day of sightseeing around Chicago the highlight of my day was finally here. The top thing on my list to do in Chicago was to visit a Jazz club. The last time I was in Chicago I was too young to get into the Jazz clubs, this time I was going. I adore me some great jazz music and since Chicago played such a leading role in the evolution of jazz I wanted to be sure that I heard a band live. For me Chicago is a vital expression of Jazz. In fact this is one of the items that has been on my Rogue Life List for a very very long time.


I did a bunch of research and found the top three places that the internet recommended. Out of the three Andy’s Jazz Club had what I thought was the most interesting band plus they served dinner. Good food AND live music sounded perfect to me; it doesn’t get any better than this.

I had called ahead and made reservations for Mrs. Painter, a cousin who also joined us and myself. I requested a table near the band (aka don’t stick us in the back corner or I will be pissed). It doesn’t hurt to ask, then ask again, and then to make sure you repeat yourself. I may be annoying to some people but no one puts baby in the corner! And you know what we got a KILLER table right up front only about 5 feet from the band. Thank you VERY MUCH!

Since we were coming to listen to music we decided to DRAG out dinner as long as possible. You know one of those long rambling meals where you order in intervals. We started with some pre-dinner drinks. We all ordered a different special drink so we could try each others. I ordered the ‘Effen Frenchy Tini’ because it sounded good but mostly because the name made me giggle. It was super sweet and a little tart, not incredible but it was good.


Originally we were all only planning on having a SINGLE pre-dinner drink however that all changed when we tried Mrs. Painters ‘Blackberry Margarita’. Oh my goodness it was INCREDIBLE, and well we were at a Jazz bar and we wanted to stay as long as possible to listen to music, so we all reasoned a second pre-dinner drink wouldn’t be remiss... and did I mention that it was INCREDIBLE! Oh yea and as an added bonus it matched my outfit!


Our first course consisted of a variety platter. The bruchetta was amazing, the filet mignon sliders were stupendous and the others loved the seafood (which I didn’t touch because I am allergic). Alcohol and seafood and I would equal disaster. Sometimes I go to the land of disaster and eat the seafood regardless of the consequences I know I will pay... my Jazz night out wasn’t going to tolerate a disaster.


That first hour we sipped our drinks and nibbled at our appetizer and we listened to the incredible Ari Brown Quintet. Brown. touted as a versatile jazz genius, has been playing reed instruments, mostly the sax, since 1965. Now I love me a sax playing man and this guy was awesome. At one point he called up a friend in the audience who sang a gorgeous ballad of one of Coldplay’s songs. His voice was so gorgeous I almost cried. He was an alto, a high beautiful airy voice full of deliciousness. And then just when I didn’t think that the music could get any better Brown started playing TWO FRIGGING INSTRUMENTS at the same time. The entire audience, including yours truly was blown away!


During a break in the live entertainment I ran up to the front, introduced myself to Brown and then proceeded to buy one of his CD’s. It will be a great momento of this incredible night of Jazz. Although I wasn’t so crazy as to ask to take a photo with Brown I did snap a picture of his 90 year old sax (which used to be his uncles). That is one well loved and well used instrument!


In the lull between the first act and the second act I flagged down the waitress so we could order a bottle of wine and our main course. P.S. the music was incredible but so was the food – double bonus. Dinner arrived perfectly just as the second band of the night took the stage. TASTY deliciousness!


The second band was the Jordan Baskin Trio. Baskin is part of the new jazz era. Graduating from college in 2001 he had a completely different style than Brown. I loved that we got to hear Jazz from an old school legend and then from a new generation of Jazz. I found Baskin’s music technically precise and he played with passion which I loved however there was an element... I guess I would call it ‘soul’... that was missing. The music was good however it failed to move me, to transcend me into great like Brown did.

In the breaks of the music I started playing around with my camera and the little blue light on the table. Call me crazy but we were cracking up and I was having a fantastic time. Blue light + a little alcohol + a camera = one happy funny girl!


We were all so happy with everything so far in the night. We didn’t want it to end. We all cheered the great music, the night, the fun and the fact that the wedding all brought us to this moment. I was ecstatic to cross this off my list.


And so since we didn’t want the night to end, and even though we were stuffed, we decided to give ourselves a little breather and then order desert. Oh MY GOODNESS desert is always a good idea but I ordered a chocolate lava cake that convinced me that the decision to order desert and splurge a little was the best decision ever. Plus red wine and chocolate go hand in hand... I just had to order it!


It ended up being a long three and a half hour meal. We were happy, slightly tipsy but grinning from ear to ear on our way out. One more photo, a rushed cab ride home and we crashed in bed... tomorrow was going to be ANOTHER very long day.



paul peggy zeus said...

Sounds like a wonderful night out on the town. Good friends, great food and entertainment too!

Jennifer Arens said...

I was a fly on the wall of the jazz club and I said, "nice cardigan". You and are sisters to the end :)

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