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Brisbane Jazz Club: A super night at a great venue

Above: viewed from the riverside and below Joe Chindamo and his daughter Olivia.

For years I have wandered past the Brisbane Jazz Club, which is perched on the the edge of the Brisbane River; sometimes on a fitness walk sometimes walking the dog. It is a quaint looking wooden building on Annie Street at Kangaroo Point and I have for many years thought about paying a visit. I enjoy good jazz.

Last week I had an excuse to drive into the city and checkout the club.

Joe Chindamo and his daughter Olivia were booked in. They were part of John Bloomfield’s weekend set of well-attended and well-received workshops on the Taubman Piano Technique in Brisbane that wife attended.

And what a great night we had. It started around 6.15. The club had opened at 5.30 and the music began at 6 pm. I did notice however that the closing time for dinner booking was at 7.30 pm, which is worth knowing.

It was like entering the Tardis. The small front door opened into a huge area that was packed with people and sexily lit with red lights. On the lower floor the Sydney-based Brendan Clarke Trio was ringing out cool tones while outside on the riverside deck a cool breeze flowed over the patrons who wanted to chat.

It was all very polite and civilised and I loved the atmosphere.

There is a small but well-planned menu that included vegetarian and gluten-free meals all costing in the mid-$20s. There was a fairly extensive drinks menu too and they are well priced. A good glass of house red cost $6 and a bottle cost $25. Service was excellent too.

The club opens Thursday to Sunday with an occasional Sunday lunchtime gig. I was surprised to learn that this smoothly functioning entertainment venue is a community, not-for-profit enterprise run by a voluntary Committee of Management. It even boasts its own band; the 19-piece Brisbane Big Band, which while independently run, has been the Club’s resident band since 1974.

The club also fosters the appreciation of jazz across all ages and nationalities and regularly hosts school and college bands in support of our Youth in Jazz activities. The Club books a wide variety of established and emerging, local and International jazz entertainers to entertain patrons as well as special functions during the year.

After enjoying butter & herb poached salmon on crushed chats with asparagus & sauce vierge the main act began – and what a duo they turned out to be.

This was Joe and Olivia’s B J C debut and they gave us an hour of interpretations of popular Jazz Classics, standards like, Georgia, the Way you Look Tonight, Dancing Cheek to Cheek and Slow Boat To China.

Olivia is the 2014 James Morrison Generations in Jazz Scholarship Winner and has just been awarded the 2016 Bell Award for Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year and we saw why as with lyric and scat singing she wowed us all and Dad swung along on piano with some amazing improvisations on themes.

At times it felt like I was hearing the ghosts of Oscar Peterson and Ella Fitzgerald.

It was a great night with top artists, good food and wine and a delightful ambience. I shall be back.

Annual membership costs run from $15 for an out-of-town family living more than 100 kilometres away to $50 for a local family (two adults and two children under 18).

You can get all the details as well as a look at the menu and the future guest line-up at Phone: (07) 3391 2006.

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