Saturday, April 5, 2008

Jazz at the Rosewood Room

Where: The Rosewood Room at Visage Nightclub
Who: Atlantis Quartet: Brandon Wozniak (saxophone), Zacc Harris (guitar), Travis Schilling (bass), Pete Hennig (drums)

Two worlds collided on the first night of an intriguing start-up. Jeremy Walker and Jason Jungbluth (mostly Jason) of Jazz is NOW! are curating a new jazz series in the Rosewood Room, sister club to Visage Nightclub. Located in Minneapolis's warehouse district on 3rd Avenue North, about equidistant between the Deja Vu strip club and the site of the new Twins stadium (currently under construction), the Rosewood is a cavernous space with high ceilings, a large central fireplace, a few cushy chairs and sofas, and a painting of Venice over the bar.

I've never been to Visage, but the Web site describes the entertainment it provides: lollipop parties, naughty-or-nice Santa parties, and fashion shows:

So maybe the nightclub is one thing and the jazz club will be another? It's possible but will take some doing. The bartender and servers were dressed as if they had just come from one of the fashion shows. Three young women walked in with their dates and sat at the bar. They were wearing very high heels, very short dresses, and, according to HH, no underpants. I asked how he knew and it's not what you think.

The drinks were reasonably priced and the appetizers we had were delicious: walleye cakes with sweet bell pepper relish, scallops and smoked tomatoes with orange marmalade and coucous. When we got our bill, we learned that our server's name is Sex Panther.

Okay, I'm having too much fun with this and it's really not fair. I would love to see Jason succeed. A new jazz venue means more work for jazz artists, and that's a good thing. The music he has programmed so far is definitely worth seeing.

The Atlantis Quartet, fronted by Brandon Wozniak (the sax player we saw at the Dakota Late Night last Friday) was overmiked and underlit but their music is fresh. Hear samples on their Web site.

On the schedule for the next few weeks: the Chris Thomson Quartet on April 10, the Reid Kennedy Trio on April 17 (Kennedy is with Snowblind), and the Chris Bates Trio on April 24.

I'd go almost anywhere to see any of those groups. Will I return to the Rosewood? Probably, but how many times will depend on how things shake out. Or maybe the club will draw a whole new audience for the music. I'm crossing my fingers and taking a wait-and-see.

Photos: The Rosewood Room on a non-jazz night, fashion show photos (all from the club's Web site); the Atlantis Quartet (from the group's Web site)

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