Tuesday, March 02, 2010

This Morning's Fire Burned a Hole in Dallas' Live Jazz Scene

Waking up from a night of insufficient sleep after this weekend's long trip, I didn't want to believe my ears at first when I heard the news on the radio this morning about a fire consuming a block of businesses on Lower Greenville Avenue. My first thought was: Oh, no--I hope it's not the place where I've been playing every month since last fall. And while I was relieved that it wasn't there, the actual news wasn't much better: Among the venues destroyed this morning was the venerable jazz spot Terilli's.

I've been to Terilli's on a number of occasions; many of them in years past were to hear the late, legendary tenorist Marchel Ivery, who was ensconced in the Sunday night slot for eons. I also caught my old schoolmate Wayne Delano out there quite a few times before he moved out of state a year or so ago. While it wasn't exactly cheap, their Italian fare was always tasty, and it was possible for even the average college student to afford it every once in a while. I never got to play there myself (in part because of their tendency to hire trios, whereas my bands tend to be quintets or sextets), but it was always a place I aspired to hit the stage at some point in time. And now that time will have to wait for a while.

The business expanded for a few years, opening a second location (also with live jazz) in Frisco, where I went to see Delano at least once a month for a while. That location had a lot more square footage, as well as ample parking (for me the only downside of the original Terilli's was the necessity to use valet parking, of which I'm not a fan). It shuttered its doors a while back, supposedly "closed for relocation," and I wonder if this morning's events will hasten that move.

According to everything I've read thus far, all four of the affected businesses are planning on reopening somewhere down the road; there's even been talk that the facade of the 1930's-era building might be able to be preserved. I certainly wish them all the best, and I hope the employees can find work in the interim. And as for the musicians who were scheduled to play there this month, I hope another venue will open their stage to them. Maybe the idea would prove so popular that the second venue would keep the jazz going after Terilli's reopens, which would give us another place to play. Would anyone like to step up to the plate?

(Pictures of the way Terilli's used to look before this morning can still be viewed on the restaurant's website, which does not mention the fire as of now.

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