Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Green Mill

There is a place in Chicago called the Green Mill.  It’s a cocktail lounge proudly featuring jazz.  The story has it that it was one of Capone’s favorite nightspots. The joint is surely serious about its jazz. I cannot exactly remember how I ended up there the first time round, although I am sure it was during my ever so brief first visit to the Working Horse of a city, but the image of the place has stuck in my brain.  Seriously serious about THE JAZZ. As I discovered later, except for the swing nights when the Big Band sound takes over and some of the floor is made clear for dancing, one just does not, I repeat DOES NOT, speak when the jazz in on.  If it isn’t the proprietors and ever so quick mixologists, the frequenters can get militant on your arse if you speak when the artists perform.  Sure, the place posts a warning… sorry, a polite request not to speak during the performance, but unless you have been in a situation like that before, it can be a bit eerie.  I have wondered about that more than once. It’s about the respect for the art.  It’s like being at a symphony that if it wasn’t for the music you would hear the pin drop. Take that any way you want – positive or negative – but you will respect. Then again, it’s where Capone presided (!!!). Not exactly someone I think of as an I-need-quiet kind of a man. I might be wrong… even Capone might’ve needed to chill. Don’t get me wrong, I like the place.  It challenges me. And they make a mean Sidecar.  But Sidecar is mean.  This is not some Beat place, too. Snapping in lieu of clapping wasn’t practiced whenever I was there.  This is different.  This is reverent.  Reverent to the musicians and the quiet imbibing of whatever lubrication you choose. After all, jazz is classic. Cheers to that!

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