After my adventurous weekend, plus all the wonderful jazz clubs I’ve been to for the husband’s gigs, I’m going to write a few of these in the coming weeks.
Smalls Jazz Club is hot. Located in my favorite NYC neighborhood, Greenwich Village, it’s the perfect spot to grab a drink and hear live jazz all night long.
Smalls Jazz Club 183 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014 Open 4pm-4am daily.
I’ve been to this club several times now. Every time I go, I love it more. I love the staff, I love the atmosphere, and I love the music. Just be careful not to share anything super personal if you sit near the front because on big gig nights, they live stream the music from the stage and you can hear everything.
If you’re not used to navigating the Village around 7th Avenue & 10th Street, good luck finding this place. But once you’ve found it, head down the narrow staircase, following the amazing music, and cross your fingers that there’s no need for a fire drill while you’re downstairs. Once you’re inside, peruse the drink list, check out the night’s special on the chalkboard, or ask the bartender to whip up something random for you. The worst drink I had here could be described as “good, but too sweet.”
I’d Recommend: Hanging out by the bar. Bar stools aren’t as comfortable as the benches, but the company is great. There are wonderful bartenders, and at least a handful of local musicians to mix it up with. I always meet someone new and interesting when I sit at the bar. I’d also recommend eating before you go. There are great restaurants all around, and the only food at Smalls are delicious pretzel sticks that get snatched up as soon as they’re put out.
Stay Away From: The front. As I said, the live streaming will share your whole conversation if you’re not careful. The club is small enough to feel intimate no matter where you land. There’s a bartender and a roaming waitress who will get your drink order, even if you’re crammed in a corner by the bathroom.
This club gets the extra factor because every single person I’ve heard make a comment about it says this place is their ideal watering hole. Even people who don’t live in Greenwich Village seem to agree. I dare you to come here, wearing whatever you currently have on, and not feel warm and welcome. The atmosphere is great, but not perfect. Plenty of people show up wearing fancy clothes, and plenty of people show up wearing jeans. It’s difficult to pinpoint which one is more accurate to the club’s vibe.The price range is what you’d expect for a bar in the Village, which means it’s more than what’d you’d like to pay, but you understand. The average of reviews on Yelp is 4.5/5 or so, which is really great.
The only caveat is that if you have a tendency to feel claustrophobic in tight spaces and/or you are short on patience with strangers, maybe wait until a weeknight to try Smalls for the first time.
[Score has a max of 4 pts for each section] Food (0); Music (4); Drinks (4); Atmosphere (3); Price (3); Consumer Review (3); Extra Factor (1)
The Jazz Showcase gets a score of 18 out of 25. They could improve their score if they lowered their prices. I don’t expect they’ll ever add food, and you just can’t get over a 20 it seems without that. And now on to the pictures and links.
What would you do with a day off?
Maybe you’d go shopping and have lunch with the girls? Well, I have no money for shopping and my girls live in Chicago, so that wasn’t an option.
Maybe you’d finally see a movie you’ve been dying to see and maybe even make it a double feature? There are a ton of movies out I’d like to see, but the thought didn’t even occur to me to try to see a film.
Maybe you’d stay up late dancing in your pajamas, just happy to have some time to yourself? That was an appealing thought, but I was out of the house last night, so pajamas dancing will have to wait.
Wednesday was a true day off for me for the first time since I’ve moved to New York. I normally work Monday through Friday, but some schedule shuffling made it possible.
I should have slept in, making myself mimosas and frittatas whenever I finally woke up. I should have walked around with no pants on, letting the hours slip away.
I should have been glad that for once, I didn’t have to wake up to get ready for work, or get ready for the soup kitchen, or get ready for church.
But instead, I volunteered my one morning of free time to the home I volunteer at. I mentioned before how I do tutoring at this home for new mothers who don’t have anywhere else to go. Since I started, the tutoring volunteering has expanded to include much more.
On Wednesday, it extended to babysitting an adorable 2 month old while her mom had a job interview. Getting a job is one of the big steps towards independence at the home, and I was happy to help facilitate it. Plus, that baby is freaking adorable and despite being a bit fussy, she’s a cool baby to be around.
So when I should’ve been at home determining the best proportion of orange juice to champagne, I was instead trying to coax a con artist baby to stay asleep even after I put her down.
I guess it’s not a bad trade. As much as I’m nowhere near ready for my own children, I do enjoy the companies of babies who aren’t jerks. And this baby is definitely not a jerk, so it was fine.
I’m looking forward to helping her mom more in the future once she starts her job. That’s right, she got the job!
After babysitting, I did finally engage in some day-off behavior. I sat on the couch with the husband catching up on TV shows. We watched MARVEL’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Revenge, Castle, Almost Human, and a couple of other shows too. There really is some great writing on TV these days.
Then it was nap time. I highly encourage anyone with a day off to embrace nap time like you’re five years old. There is nothing quite as refreshing as a lovely nap. My heart goes out to kindergarteners who don’t have nap time these days. Poor guys. What are they going to take away next? That wonderfully goopy paste that they use to make crappy crafts projects?
After my nap, the husband and I went out because he had a gig. We went to Small’s Jazz Club, a place I love to go to. The staff is great, the venue is unique, and bonus– it’s in the Village.
I know what you’re thinking. I give any and everything in the Village extra weight of special-ness just because it’s in the Village. Well, maybe you’d be right. Or maybe they just make better versions of everything in the Village and that’s why I love it so much. No way to know.
So we’re out at the club, and as now is the trend, as soon as I sat at the bar, I attracted the attention of a random stranger who’s super friendly. Last week, the attention I attracted was awesome because I met a great couple who I can actually see the husband and myself becoming friends with. We’re hanging out with them next week I think and it will be great.
Now the random European guy who’s attention I attracted last night was a different story. This guy seemed to mean well, but this crazy European man was systematically irritating, annoying, and perplexing everyone in our general vicinity.
He made the sweet bartender ladies roll their eyes because of the way he ordered his drinks. Ten minutes to decide on Stella Artois on tap? Really?
He got pushed aside by the bass player/sound man/ general peacekeeper dude because he wouldn’t stop blocking the aisle even though he had a bar stool.
He got hushed by an already boisterous crowd because his voice carried and was interrupting other people’s ability to hear the solos. I don’t know how much time you all spend in jazz clubs, but you’re really doing too much when you get hushed by the crowd who is also talking and laughing.
And to top it all off, the crazy European man got really drunk and almost threw up, so he got kicked out of the club. I’ve never even seen someone get kicked out of a jazz club before. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen someone get throw-up drunk at a jazz club before.
Needless to say, I didn’t exchange contact information with this crazy European man (who tried to convince me my parents are hippies at heart as illustrated by the uniqueness of my name), nor did I make plans to hang out again.
I spent the rest of the night hanging out with the husband and his musician friends.
Yeah, I have glasses now. Anyway.
Everyone was talking about how much fun our Sunday dinner was, and how they can’t wait until we do it again. I think we’ve started a new tradition, and when they make the movie about one of these musician’s lives one day, my Sunday dinners should make the script, at least it better.
Making new friends is hard, you know?
Especially when the options available are so damn weird.
But I have hope. The husband has another gig on Monday that promises a lot of fun. I ended up inviting 6 people to join me out. I didn’t even know I knew six people here in New York I’d like to hang out with socially outside of a work shift, a Sunday service, or a quick drink after the soup kitchen. The couple we met last week, a guy from work and a friend of his I haven’t met yet, and a guy we met at a bar back in September and his girlfriend.
The fact that I even had more than one person I could think of to invite made me happy. I’m perfectly comfortable hanging by myself at the husband’s gigs, but it would be nice to have some friends with me too.
On that note, I’m going to go make a list of cool ways to spend a day off. The only thing I know is that the next time it happens, I’m definitely not starting my day until after noon.
I fully intend to discuss my flights to Chicago, Atlanta, and New York from last weekend. You all are all groaning in advance at the detail provided in these posts, I know. But before I get to that, I want to discuss why I went to Chicago in the first place.
I was in Chicago for less than 24 hours, but I had to go. The husband was playing in the Chicago Jazz Fest. He was playing with his band, Quatuor de Force, on the Von Freeman Stage. It was a pretty big deal, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
I don’t qualify for paid time off yet since I just started my new job, but I went in on Sunday and stayed late earlier in the week so I would be able to go to Chicago on Friday. I arrived super early in the morning and the husband picked me up at the airport.
He dropped me at my parents’ house where I had important business to attend to. I had to wait on the delivery of my new phone: the Samsung Galaxy S4. Also, I am still catching up on episodes of American Idol.
Yes, I’m still catching up on American Idol. I DVR’d all the episodes on my parent’s TV and I’ve been catching up very slowly for months now. They’ve already picked the judges for the next season, so I know I’m hopelessly behind, but I like watching the episodes. So if any of you even still watch that show, please don’t ruin it for me. I’ve managed to avoid finding out who won all this time. I’m trusting you people, don’t let me down.
The husband ran some errands and got his hair freshly cut (shaved? He’s bald), then came to pick me up. We headed downtown and parked in the Millenium Park Garage right near the festival.
At first, we couldn’t find the Von Freeman Pavillion, but eventually we found it. It looked pretty impressive for a music festival.
It was also so freaking hot out. So humid and so hot, and the fans in the tent weren’t doing anything.
But aside from the heat, it was wonderful. My friend, the husband’s friends, my family, and the husband’s family came out in large numbers. It was so amazing to see all the support from all these people who hadn’t gathered in such large numbers since his CD release party last year.
The music was amazing and the husband put together a really great set list. The crowd enjoyed every song and the whole tent filled up with people listening to his music. In moments like these, I’m still amazed that I’m married to such a talented man and that he’s able to share his gift with so many people.
After the show, he was selling CDs, signing autographs, and giving interviews.
Then I realized I was about to turn into a Snickers commercial, so we went to get food. We hung out with our friends some more and laughed and talked. Then we went back to the fest to check out some more music.
This big band was playing, and I love me some big band music. We were really enjoying ourselves when they made an announcement that a brief but badass storm was heading our way and they were going to temporarily evacuate the festival.
They asked everyone to head to the parking garage for dryness/safety and they would pickup again after the storm passed.
Yeah, that was my queue to leave. So we headed up north (through the storm) for some Mexican food before calling it a night. The husband and I went to my parents’ house to hang out for the night and go back over how great the whole day was.
Seeing as how the Chicago Jazz Fest is one of the last things the husband is doing in Chicago that he setup while he was still a resident there, I’m so glad it went well. He’s really going out on top. Already people were starting to talk about him as a “New York musician originally from Chicago.”
The designation doesn’t mean much except that you are good enough to survive in New York. It’s nice to hear because it feels like they respect his skills, but it’s also amusing because he’s hasn’t been in New York long enough yet. He’s only had one gig here because he keeps leaving town.
I’m sure once the husband sets up shop here for a few months, he’ll earn the designation they are already starting to give him. I’m just excited I’ll be here with him to see it happen.
Of all the posts I write and never have pictures, you all would probably be quite upset by this one having no pictures. So, just scroll down and there are pictures!