It recently occurred to me that as a jazz lover myself, listening to it exclusively while working and creating, that I can't believe how long it's been since some unsuspecting Las Vegas venue has regularly hosted a jazz brunch. The great Sunday brunch, an institution nationwide, the time when you wind down from the weekend and for some bite-the-hair-of-the-dog that bit them the night before, but also preparing one's mind for the Monday that would come soon enough. The genre itself has always been very popular here in the Valley, evidenced by the millions of dollars locals spend whenever a major jazz event, festival or artist visits the town. Back in the day when we had the jazz-brunch weekend events you would have to arrive early enough to grab a seat or two if you were lucky. or you would just stand and be good with that. I do also remember some really nice spots that had great food and awesome live music. I recollect the Paris' Eiffel Tower Restaurant's Jazz (2009, 2010) brunch on Saturday & Sunday with unobstructed views of the west side of the Strip, nice! And, the food, amazing! The Mandarin's (2012) brief but awesome live jazz Sunday with surprise guests dropping in to sit-in with the band of the day and Mandarin also rocking a panoramic view north to south of the Strip from the 16th floor. These two examples are considered more recent as Vegas has previously hosted, over many years, a variety of venues featuring jazz.
I seem to recall at least seven or eight years ago, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, located on Paradise Road, in the shadow of the Strip, began Sunday brunch with live jazz hosted by none other than our one and only non-profit jazz station, UNLV's 91.5 FM The Source. It seem to however, over the years, morph into something other than a cool jazz scene. More R & B with some pop and a little bit of jazz thrown in for good measure. It seemed like a good move at the time for the establishment as more and more people began to attend. Many were so moved by the thumping rhythmic sounds they didn't seem to mind cutting a rug in a tiny cramped space sandwiched between patron seating and the band that also shared the same cramped quarters. A good time was had by all....but, wait....the grapevine has recently told us that. "allegedly", there has been a systematic push to get rid the Sunday loyalists by instituting new rules, procedures and charges for things that were once was a part of the scene. Losing those church-goers, the fans of the local bands that were booked and the segment of visiting Angelinos that frequent Vegas and look forward to making it their last stop before trekking back to the Golden State, have all been huge supporters of this event for years, now asked pay-up or get lost. Hmmm? There's always two sides to any story...but alas...a sort of warning shot received by recent devotees announced last week by GB that there is an eventual end to the Sunday brunch which will now be moved to Saturdays.
What's up with that Las Vegas?!
Here's what's up and not what's up...ultimately there has not been a consistent flow of an energetic jazz rhythm in the Valley for quite sometime as a desert reveals the drought of many things. Every major city outside of this microcosm has more than one jazz club, venue and/or multitudes of jazz events demonstrating the appreciation of the genre. It gives those with great taste for music the opportunity to congregate with like-minded folk. Is it that Vegas is not sophisticated enough to appreciate one of America's true art forms? i should say not! Whenever jazz hits this town we show up and shelve out! However, we should take the responsibility of accepting the fact that those of us that still buy jazz CD's, download tons music online and attend very expensive jazz concerts should take things into our own hands and do something about it!
One man has done just that. Chef Joe Cooper of A to Z Catering Services decided there was a need to bring jazz back with a Sunday brunch. Beginning Sunday, August 10th, 2014 Chef Joe and his team are gearing up for what hopes to be an answered prayer for many of us, Chef Joe's Jazzy Brunch Sundays to be held on a few designated dates at the Elks Lodge located at 4100 W. Charleston Blvd. just west of Valley View. Chef an Elks Lodge member himself, will be featuring some of his down-home Tallulah, Louisianan specialties as well as brunch favorites. The Elks Lodge #1468 is a beautiful venue boasting a full bar, seating for up to 300 and plenty of accessible parking in the huge lot right on Charleston Blvd. at Hinson Street. Along with Chef Joe's tasty cuisine bandleader and renowned percussionist L.A. will be serving up some smooth sounds with seasoned jazz players, all of which have performed worldwide and will be bringing their A-game to the venue. The music as well as the menu will change weekly bringing different flavors of both elements to the table for a variety of experiences to behold. Join us!
Taking Reservations for all Dates Now
August 10th, 24th & 31st
September 7th, 14th & 28th