As Insider Louisville reported yesterday, we are incredibly excited to hear about a new underground jazz club opening soon. We at Louisville Effing Rocks were ecstatic, being jazz enthusiasts. However, we’re left with a string of cautionary tales fraught with failed attempts at jazz venues in recent memory.
Louisville has a rich history in jazz. It was a regular stop as players would work their way from New Orleans, to Memphis, through St. Louis, over to Louisville, up to Indianapolis, and finally Chicago. Guys like Cannonball Adderley and Coleman Hawkins, as well as classic voices like Ella Fitzgerald played here regularly in numerous downtown clubs like: Club Neon, Palm Room, and Top Hat. Rooms where people in surrounding working class neighborhoods would gather and listen to the music they loved.
Currently a lot of local restaurants and bars are hosting “Jazz Nights,” but most of these places are pricey, and are hardly amenable to the working class roots of jazz as an art form. And with spaces like The Jazz Factory who priced themselves out of the market, through expensive cover charges, expensive cocktails.
So, it is this writer’s hope that as they move forward with Johnny Can’t Dance, which I am genuinely excited about, that they will remember the working class roots of the music they obviously aim to pay tribute to and the fans who long to support the music.