Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Our Little Secret

I am in love.

I've been waiting years to find something like this - something that enriches my soul, makes me feel alive and delights the emotions bubbling beneath my surface. My heart has longed for something so magical, so spectacular, and finally I feel fulfilled.

Who knew I had to go to the ghetto to find the answer for my longing?

Okay, so this love - it's for a special place in Cincinnati. I wish it were more exciting than that, but sometimes a new hangout is less trouble than a man, so for now, that's what I'm lovin'.

And I'll share with you my new obsession, but only if you promise to keep it to yourself.

Why don't you step a little closer, I don't want to whisper that loud...

For two years now, I've wanted to go to the Jazz Club at Schwartz Point. I heard about it a few years ago from a friend who was hip to all the popular and lesser known hangouts, and decided I wanted to check out the secret venue myself.

I'm told Ed Moss has operated his speakeasy-type jazz club for years in the space beneath this Spanish tiled building in Over-the-Rhine.

The club was said to have included an open bar of sorts and buffet, with patrons expected to place a "donation" in a jar in exchange for the goods and entertainment. Local lore says this underground jazz club went on for years, until it was busted by either Johnny Law or the health department (the jury's out on the official buster).

Well. The Jazz Club at Schwartz Point managed to get a liquor license this fall, and now folks are invited to the club to check out the steaming hot jazz legally.

We walked in at around 8 pm on Tuesday night, about half an hour before the eight-piece band started playing. Every table was open, save for two in the back, and so my friends and I grabbed a spot right next to Ed Moss' baby grand piano.

Patrons at the Jazz Club are offered a variety of their favorite beers (I spotted Guinness and Heineken among the bottles available for sipping) as well as wine, spirits, soda and bottled water. I went with a nice Riesling ($6 a glass) and some bottled water ($2).

The folks at the Club don't just serve up a cold cocktail - they lay out a full spread of homemade food for their guests. I enjoyed a hot, cheesy pasta dish, salad with a ginger vinaigrette, shrimp cocktail (the sauce was loaded with horseradish), marinaded mushrooms and Italian bread. The buffet also included pile of juicy looking chicken legs and breasts for the taking.

Once we were stuffed to the gills, the musicians moseyed toward their music stands.

Moss' piano was joined by bass, drums, trumpet, trombone and three saxophones. A few of the musicians did double duty, alternating between their horns to flutes and other brass pieces stashed away between their seats.

The ivory keys tickled, the drums sizzled and the golden brass swooned.

With each tune, my toes compulsively tapped and my noggin swiveled. The jazzy arrangements captivated me, and I was thrilled when the second set included the addition of smoky, sultry singer Pam Ross.

We enjoyed a few more songs before heading out, noticing the house was standing-only as we stepped out the door.

I am so anxious for my next trip back.

*** *** ***

The Jazz Club at Schwartz Point features The Society Jazz Orchestra on Tuesday nights (8:30 pm), and the Ed Moss Trio with Pam Ross on Fridays and Saturdays (9 pm). The entrance is at 1901 Vine St. - the flatiron building at the corner of Vine and McMicken. Look for the green lanterns on the side of the building - if they're on, the club's open.

$10 cover per person - excludes drinks.

NOTE: The Jazz Club at Schwartz Point is CASH ONLY.


Evan said...

So there is going to be an OTRTweetup here at some point? Is that what you are telling us?


liz said...

oooooh! good secret!

Amy in Ohio said...

Sounds fun...May OTRT?

LMJ said...

So glad you finally got to enjoy this great establishment, I know it's been on your radar for awhile. Wanna get together soon, I'd love to catch up!