Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New clubs featuring jazz
open in Alton, Florissant

The St. Louis area in recent years has lost a number of bars and restaurants that regularly featured live jazz, so it's a welcome development to see two new jazz venues - one on each side of the Mississippi - opening for business.

Jazz on Broadway, located at 554 East Broadway in downtown Alton, IL was mentioned here briefly here in the "jazz this week" post a couple of weeks back, when the club held its grand opening with music from saxophonist Tim Cunningham.

This week, I got a chance to chat by phone with the club's owner Cindy Crawford, who told me that she plans to feature live music every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The hours for most acts will be 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., though Crawford said she eventually hopes to present two separate shows, at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., on weekend nights.

In addition to Cunningham and guitarist Bryan White, who played for the club's soft opening in July, Jazz on Broadway (pictured) so far has booked pianist Roley Overmeyer, who's playing some Fridays, including September 2; and saxophonist Fred Walker, who's playing Sundays including September 4. Also on the schedule are the blues group Mondinband (September 3); Bob and Me, with singer Ellen Martinez and pianist Bob Werner (September 9); singer Danita Mumphard (October 22); saxophonist Jim Stevens (October 28); trumpeter Jim Manley (November 12) and keyboardist Brock Walker (November 18). Although the musicians booked to date lean toward smooth jazz and R&B, Crawford says she plans to present a variety of jazz styles.

In the near future, perhaps by October, Crawford said she hopes to work with radio station WSIE, SIUE and other local colleges to present open jam sessions on Wednesdays. She said the club, which holds about 200 people, also will offer special events for occasions such as Halloween, the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras.

Jazz On Broadway's website isn't online yet, but the club does have a Facebook page and an email list, which you can subscribe to by emailing them at; or you can call them at 618-465-JAZZ (5299).

Meanwhile, back on the Missouri side of the river up North County way, the Halls Ferry Inn Jazz Cafe, 3425 N. Lindbergh, will have its grand opening weekend this Friday, September 2 and Saturday, September 3 featuring music from singer Danita Mumphard and her band, with special guest guitarist Daryl Darden. Mumphard will perform at 7:30 and 9:30, and there's a $10 cover.

The HFIJC is open Tuesday through Thursday from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday from 4:00 p.m. to midnight, with music from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.. Located on the site of the old Halls Ferry Inn, the club also serves food, with a menu that reportedly incorporates a few favorites from the previous tenants.

The club's website (warning: autoplay music) presently is a bit sparse, but among the upcoming bookings listed are "Special Guitarist & Patio music" on Thursday, September 8, saxophonist Michael Fitzgerald on Saturday, September 10, and "Coming Soon - Spoken word night (and) Comedy night." Yr. humble StLJN editor will try to track down some more details in the next week, but in the meantime, for more information you can check out the website or call HFIJC at 314-972-8410.

(Edited 9/1/11 to fix a typo.)

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