Saturday, January 8, 2011

Velvet Lounge Currently Closed; Musicians Go Elsewhere

As a fan of music it saddened us to hear of Fred Andersons passing last year. If you're not familiar with the Jazz scene, he was one of the most influential people around. Fred's passion and talent was realized at his Velvet Lounge at 67 E. Cermak (between Wabash and Michigan).

Unfortunately, the fate of the Velvet Lounge is still TBD according to a Chicago Tribune article we just read:

Anderson had presided over his landmark Velvet Lounge, at 67 E. Cermak Rd., until his death last June, at age 81. His granddaughters kept the club running for several months, but his sons Eugene and Michael Anderson took the reins in late November and promptly closed the place. They have said they'll reopen the Velvet, but it remains dark.

An Anderson family spokesman could not be reached for comment.

The club was unique in Chicago – and perhaps the jazz world, itself – in that it functioned almost as a cooperative. Many musicians and service staff volunteered their time to nurture Anderson's vision of a room where artists could pursue experimental ideas not welcome in more conventional jazz clubs. Anderson's stature as tenor saxophonist drew top names from across Chicago and around the world to the Velvet, not only on Cermak Road but in the club's previous location, at 2128-1/2 S. Indiana Ave.

After Anderson's death, many observers wondered how long the unusual
business arrangement could last without its founder. Anderson himself helped
underwrite the club, applying some of his earnings from foreign tours to pay the

We will eagerly wait and see what happens with the place. In the meantime:

A consortium of Chicago jazz musicians long associated with the Velvet Lounge, which was shuttered on Dec. 1, is setting up shop a few blocks away.

The artists will launch their new venture Jan. 21 at the L26 Restaurant and Lounge in the Chicago South Loop Hotel, 11 W. 26th St. That's at the bustling corner of 26th and State Streets, four blocks south of the late Chicago saxophonist Fred Anderson's iconic Velvet Lounge.

First thing that comes to mind is whether or not the South Loop Hotel is really in the South Loop, but that's another topic for another day. Regardless, hope it works out for them.

(Image from Jazzology Blog)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Might be nice for the Bronzeville crowd.