alibi online

Free Will AstrologyAlibi's Personals

Flyer on the Web Post yours here
See more flyers here

The Cosmic Belly Dance
The Cosmic Belly Dance
7.29.2014
Pancakes! Wedding Show!
Pancakes! Wedding Show!
8.1.2014
Fayuca
Fayuca
8.11.2014
High Mountain Hideout
High Mountain Hideout
8.29.2014
High Mountain Hideout
High Mountain Hideout
8.30.2014
High Mountain Hideout
High Mountain Hideout
8.31.2014
 
 
 V.19 No.21 | May 27 - June 2, 2010 

Jazzed

A Nice Little Jazz Joint

But you gotta know the password

Tommy Gearhart performs at Vernon’s Black Diamond Jazz Club.
Tommy Gearhart performs at Vernon’s Black Diamond Jazz Club.

Vernon’s Hidden Valley Steakhouse, a classy restaurant on North Fourth, has done very well pretending to be a speakeasy. Advertising has been low-key—what else would you expect from a speakeasy?—and you’ve got to know the password to get in. The windowless dining room looks and feels like a well-appointed back room in a Chicago basement, what with its elegantly polished black diamond plaster walls and period paraphernalia, and the speakeasy charade—complete with the “What’s the password?” routine—adds a little spice and corny fun to an evening out.

Doug Lawrence on saxophone
Doug Lawrence on saxophone

Vernon’s owner, Mike Baird, knows that the classier speakeasies were renowned for their jazz music—as much a part of the festivities as the forbidden alcohol—and he’s long intended to include jazz in his joint. He got it off the ground a while back with vocalist Tommy Gearhart, who does two dinner shows on Sunday evenings.

“Those Sundays were so successful that it just seemed that I needed a better space to provide that entertainment,” says Baird. “And also, the restaurant was getting so busy that I needed more space for a lounge anyway.”

The newly opened Vernon’s Black Diamond Jazz Club fills the bill, defining itself as New Mexico’s “only art space solely dedicated to the survival and the vibrancy of jazz as an unfiltered, unapologetic art form.” It’s also the closest you’ll get to a Chicago or New York jazz club experience in this neck of the woods.

All Jazz, All the Time

Shoehorned between the dining room and kitchen, into what used to be a package liquor store, the club seats 50 people at small tables and a faux-stamped-copper bar at which you can sit with dignity. The subdued lighting and black walls, ceiling and tablecloths—relieved only by a red rose in a bud vase on each table and a fringe of red curtains behind the stage—seal the place off from the everyday. The full bar can have the same effect, and if the prices are a bit high, the pours are generous.

The music is programmed by Gearhart. Wednesday nights are given over to jam sessions hosted by Albuquerque resident Doug Lawrence—that is, when he’s not touring the world as lead tenor in the Count Basie Orchestra. (When he is touring, folks like the renowned alto saxophonist Glenn Kostur and the trumpet luminary Bobby Shew have taken the reins.) Five bucks—two bucks if you’re a musician who plans to jam—gets you in the door, with a one-drink minimum per set. If you’re hungry, you can order from the appetizer and dessert offerings. The club is small enough that you feel Lawrence’s big tenor tone vibrating right in the middle of your chest.

Friday nights—and Saturday nights, beginning in June—might feature locally and/or internationally recognized jazz players. Ten bucks gets you in—no matter who’s playing—with the same one-drink minimum and limited menu. “We’ll be drawing on musicians from around the state and from around the world,” says Gearhart, who drops a few tantalizing names not yet ready for publication.

Sunday nights, Gearhart croons to diners in the lounge at 5 and 7:30 p.m. For table seating, you’ve got to order dinner, but you can sit at the bar for $5 and the one-drink minimum per set.

The club, which both Baird and Gearhart envision as a place where jazz musicians and fans alike can hang, plans to offer jazz five nights a week in the near future.

Oh, yeah, the password: “Joe sent me.”

Certified Organic
with Glenn Kostur (alto), Jim Ahrend (organ), Lewis Winn (guitar) and Chase Ellison (drums)
Friday, May 28, 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Vernon’s Black Diamond Jazz Club
6855 Fourth Street NW
Reservations recommended, 341-0831
vernonsjazzclub.com
 
Join our mailing list for exclusive info, the week's events and free stuff!
 

  • Select sidebar boxes to add below. You can also click and drag to rearrange the boxes; close using the little X icons on each box. To re-add a box you closed, return to this menu.
  • Because you are not logged in, any changes you make to these boxes will vanish as soon as you click to another page. If you log in, the boxes will stick.
  • alibi.com
  • Latest Posts
  • Web Exclusives
  • Recent Rocksquawk Discussions
  • Recent Classifieds
  • Latest User Posts
  • Most Active Users
  • Most Active Stories
  • Calendar Comments
  • Upcoming Alibi Picks
  • Albuquerque
  • Duke City Fix
  • Albuquerque Beer Scene
  • What's Wrong With This Picture?
  • Reddit Albuquerque
  • ABQ Journal Metro
  • ABQrising
  • ABQ Journal Latest News
  • Del.icio.us Albuquerque
  • NM and the West
  • New Mexico FBIHOP
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • Only in New Mexico
  • Mario Burgos
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • High Country News
  • El Grito
  • NM Politics with Joe Monahan
  • Stephen W. Terrell's Web Log
  • The Net Is Vast and Infinite
  • Slashdot
  • Freedom to Tinker
  • Is there a feed that should be on this list? Tell us about it.
    The Cosmic Belly Dance
    The Cosmic Belly Dance7.29.2014