Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Say It Ain't So!

It's been eons since there was a true "jazz club" in Dallas. All the old ones of legend (the 6051 Club, the Recovery Room, etc.) are long gone. Even Ft. Worth's Caravan of Dreams strayed from its jazz roots and eventually fell by the wayside. Recently, the most reliable venues for live jazz in the area have been high-end restaurants like Terilli's and the two Sambuca locations (Deep Ellum and Addison). Lately, a few coffeehouses like Ke Davi and certain select Starbucks have joined the fray, but they cater to smaller crowds and up-and-coming bands like 15th Street Jazz and my own college groups; you'd never see a Michael Brecker there, needless to say.

Sambuca has always been my favorite of the "big fish," for a variety of reasons: My old college buddy Shelley Carrol plays there a lot; they have this cool exotic Mediterranean cuisine, and as long as you buy food, you don't have to be over 21 to get in there (unlike the places I ranted about in my Too Young to Jam? post last summer). It's a little expensive for a music student's (or teacher's) salary on a regular basis, but I try to make it out there several times a year at least.

Of the two locations, the Deep Ellum one usually has the more straight-ahead jazz, while the Addison one leans more towards the commercial (though they've evened it out in recent years). The Deep Ellum crowd is usually a little bit more into the music, too, though both locations have their share of cellphone talkers, etc. The only trick was taking student groups down there, since most parents have an extreme Deep Ellum-phobia, whether it's warranted or not. At times we've had to tell them it was the "downtown location"...not a lie, just not the entire truth. Hey, it works.

But then came rumors that the Deep Ellum location was going Uptown...literally, to McKinney Ave. in a much less "interesting" part of town. I missed the article in last week's paper that confirmed this rumor. Then I saw the column in last week's Dallas Observer that was pretty much the ultimate in great news/awful news: Sambuca is indeed moving to McKinney Ave. (yay), but they're also changing their music format (boo). As restaurant critic Mark Stuertz writes:

Sambuca's owners plan to change the live music mix from an in-your-face jazz format to an eclectic pop-blues-new age hum. "We're like a side order of live music now," [co-owner Holly Forsythe] says.

I couldn't dig the Morning News article out of the online archives without paying for it, but I caught the part where it said that the new music will not be primarily live jazz, so there still is some hope. At any rate, I hope the format at Addison stays as it is, and I hope Shelley's jam session isn't without a home again. Watch this space for further developments, and you'd better believe I'll give the old location one last visit before the March move.

PERSONAL UPDATE: I have "made my peace" with my schedule for this portion of the week; whichever way it goes, I'm good with it.

The name fits the job? According to yesterday's paper, the nonprofit research center Child Trends has a Director of Fertility named "Dr. Jennifer Manlove." I wonder how much ribbing she gets around the office...