Planning on catching some jazz at the Concourse Hotel bar this holiday season? Better do it quick: The venue won't be swinging anymore - well, not with live jazz - after Dec. 31.
Home of a Wednesday-night jazz jam and the stomping grounds of dozens of performers over the years, the bar has decided to change its format. After the bar is remodeled, it will be quieter and more amenable to travelers working on laptops. According to hotel manager Steve Zanoni, guests the hotel polled didn't give live jazz as a priority.
Last week, several of the venue's performers received a letter informing them that changes are afoot. Vocalist Gerri DiMaggio, who's been performing at the Concourse since the early '90s, was one.
"The letter was very polite, but we were all a bit surprised," she told Isthmus. "The Concourse has always been very generous in terms of supporting music, but they think their clientele isn't so interested in jazz anymore," she says.
Former Concourse general manager Cal Worrell, who died in 2005, opened the bar in 1995 with the intention of nurturing a jazz scene there.
"He was a real champion of jazz, someone who really loved the music and did everything he could to support it," DiMaggio recalls. "I understand from a business perspective that the hotel has to make money, but on the flip side, people like Cal will dedicate the time and energy to make it profitable."
In the meantime, the displaced musicians are seeking a new venue. Though they're disappointed, they're not too worried, DiMaggio assures.
"Jazz has always been an underdog. That's a big part of why we love it," she says.