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Gig Stories

Andy's Jazz in Chicago

Andys Jazz Chicago

Andys Jazz Chicago my first time on stage at this venerable jazz club. [caption id="attachment_988" align="aligncenter" width="193"]Andys Jazz Chicago Andy's Chicago Premier Jazz Club

 

Sometimes a opportunity is so compelling, well ya just can't seem to resist it. So after finding out Andy's Jazz Club on Hubbard Street in Downtown Chicago Ill. had an open session, I simply couldn't resist the chance to preform on the hallowed stage that so many awesome musicians have graced. Knowing we'd be out late, we scored a room right across the street from Andy's, so the travel time to "return to home base" would be minimalized as there might be some kind of cocktailing involved with this endeavor. Staying focused I walked right by Shaw's, one of Chicago's premier seafood restaurants and walked up 6 or 7 stairs to be greeted by a man who wanted 10 bucks, or should I say 10 clams, to get into Andy's. I have been there many times before and have been told that the musicians get the cover, so I gladly paid the price.

 

Andy's Jazz Club

The room filled with the sound of Pharez Whitted's trumpet and his quartet including. piano, bass and drums  and they were soon joined by an outstanding guitar-man. At the break, Pharez asked if anyone wanted to sign up for the open session, so I walked over to him, and said, "Yes Please." Pharez was very nice and quite accommodating,  he asked me, "You know this is a "JAZZ SESSION" and I replied, "I promise I won't ask you to do any John Denver tunes." "I simply want about 3 minutes of stage time at Andy's and then, I be out of your hair." He smiled and asked, what would you like to sing? I like to sing standards, but I knew by his first set, he was more into Miles Davis type jazz rather than Sinatra type songs, so I wanted to come up with the most Jazzed tune I could think of...I wanted "Stella By Starlight" but they had already played that tune...I was fairly nervous..the high notes are a little problamatic specially for someone who had already had 3 pints and one wee shot of courage, so I requested, "On the Street Where You Live." There were some mighty talented folks up before me. Seemingly college music majors that really have some huge chops and like to get some stage ]pharez witted

 

Pharez Witted Chicago Jazz Musician.  After a short while, or eternity, I was called up to the stage by Pharez, I remember him saying, "Vocal Person?...Vocal Person?" Pharez was not the first person to be baffled by my handwriting. I heard him say again, "Vocal Person?" and then...I boldly went to where, I had never been before, "Andy's Stage." I told the piano player what song I wanted to sing and the key...there was a short discussion between the bass man and him and they politely said, "Let's Do It." For around two to three minutes, I was, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Al Jarreau, and Cab Calloway all mixed together into Alex muddy Smith, jazz vocalist extrodonary, even daring to go so far as to wave to a young cutie in the front row and cause her to blush for a second. I got the a signal from Pharez to "wind it up" so I sang the song out, took in a modest amount of polite applause, took a short bow, thanked Pharez and the band, and returned to the comfort and safety of my bar stool and whiskey glass. Being safe is fun, be daring is awesome. Take this as fact from a Chicago native who visits Andy's every time he comes home. You will love Andy's.  They serve great food, service is friendly and professional, and the jazz is world class and thankfully not Smooth. One caveat, it's probably not a place for everyone, but it's Chicago, and there are plenty of places for everyone. Stop in if you feel you're not just everyone, but somebody. Andy's Jazz Club Alex muddy Smith More info on Andy's:

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