A look inside a Philly jazz club


Especially for many young people, jazz has not been fresh since its heyday in the 1940s.

“I wish more people would give it a chance,” said Dan Green, director of the SJU Jazz Band. “There is a lot of dance music [now] where I understand why people want to go to a club and dance. But the quality of the music or the substance of the music is not really there.

I’ve been in jazz since I was in high school, but mostly as background music for my studies. I’ve never been to a concert, my listening experience was limited to my Spotify playlists, mostly filled with big bands like the Count Basie Orchestra or the Glenn Miller Orchestra, as well as Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong .

Philadelphia has a rich jazz history that has produced many famous jazz musicians, Green noted, including some popular favorites like John Coltraine, who moved to Philadelphia in 1943, and Billie Holiday, who was born in Philadelphia in 1915.

SuedeLace singer Shay Love performs their set.

Philadelphia was also a hub for some popular jazz shows, which hosted a number of big names in jazz at the time. Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, and Benny Goodman were popular performers at the Earle Theater, once located on the southeast corner of S. 11th Street and Market Street in the heyday of jazz. Today, artists and jazz enthusiasts tend to frequent downtown clubs like Chris’s Jazz Cafe, South Jazz Kitchen, and Time Restaurant.

Larger jazz clubs can be a bit more expensive, with some shows at places like Chris’ costing over $ 65 for a full dinner and a show if you decide to do it all. This does not include the cost of transportation to town and a few extra dollars for drinks for students 21 and older. I wanted to find a smaller, more economical club closer to campus like The Bayou.

For SuedeLace, performing at these small clubs, especially after forming their group in the midst of the pandemic, provides a great space to get their name out there.

Dominic Wilkins (top) plays the keys while Devante Gainse, known as Swingg, plays the drums during their set. PHOTOS: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22 / THE FALCON

“Small venues like this can become legendary, and that’s where talent is born. You never know what the potential or the trajectory of the artists will be, ”Love said. “So these types of places make room for these opportunities and they really matter. “

After about an hour of listening, more and more people began to enter through the front door and fill the Bayou. My friend and I decided it was time to give up our place on the couch we had chosen earlier in the evening and make room for more people to come in and play with SuedeLace.

Green is right, the Philadelphia jazz scene deserves a chance. I suggest taking a Friday night to hang out on campus and check out a few local clubs. The Bayou is a great place to start.

SuedeLace performs every Friday night at Bayou (5025 Baltimore Ave) from 8 p.m. after Happy Hour at Bayou from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more on the artists, you can follow the group and individual artists Shay Love, Kenny RP, Dominic Wilkins and Swingg on Instagram.


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