On August 16th, I ended up at Andy’s Jazz Club.
Well, I didn’t really just “end up” there. It’s a sweet little lounge off of Hubbard in downtown Chicago that does require reservations, but it’s worth the planning out ahead.
Andy’s is one of those places that has a nostalgic feeling about it. Even on your first time in, it feels like somewhere you’ve been a hundred times before. The frames on the walls shadowed by the bright red neon of “wall of fame” lettering, the dimly lit tables surrounding the long central bar, and a small stage where big voices take over the house for the night. It’s spot where people young and old meet to enjoy some of the best jazz Chicago has to offer. As I sat at my table, I reveled in the age gaps between patrons and took in the smells of the delicious kitchen as I waited for my Negroni and truffle fries to arrive.
What’s so special about this particular jazz club is the history of its development into the gem it is today. Andy’s has been bringing people into its doors since the 1950’s, first starting as a beer and shot pub for newspaper pressmen. As the 1970’s rolled around, owner Scott Chisholm began to introduce jazz specials during the lunch hour deemed “Jazz at Noon”. This slowly began to evolve into shows at 5 PM, 9 PM and 11 PM. The tradition, now roaring for almost 50 years, has attracted people from all over, especially Chicago locals.
On this particular Tuesday, Mario Abney and the Adney Effect took the stage by storm with their infectious nature and soulful power. Original tunes and covers of Duke Ellington rang through the venue as the crowd bopped their heads along. During a compelling trumpet solo by Mario himself, a member of the crowd was overcome and inbetween beats hummed and “yeah-ed” along. The band smiled, bobbing their heads at the extra addition. It was an intimate moment that reminded the audience of how impactful live music can be.
The flow between audience and the band was stellar and it was something that left me feeling warm for the rest of the evening. A quaint, exciting night with goodness flowing from each way every direction. Stop by Andy’s Jazz Club when you’ve got the chance, and hey, maybe even have a Negroni.