by James Hogan
Back not too long ago when I was in college, I would sometimes spend Friday nights in a somewhat Bohemian way. My friend Nick rented a house on the top of a mountain, and I would drive up and start the weekend there, drinking good beer, as he would set up an impromptu jazz concert in his living room. He kept his drum set there, and there was a Rhodes piano, and his other friends–a bass player, guitarist, two sax guys named Jim and Eric, and maybe a singer would come up, light cigarettes, and play for hours.
Yes, I realize my undergraduate experience was somewhat different.
Two things this week brought those college memories back: first, this article in the New York Times about a jazz group that meets in a Manhattan apartment; and second, a small concert I attended Tuesday night in Statesville.
The Tuesday concert featured the Blues City Brass, a quintet ensemble that is a division of the Mid-South Navy Band. Another old friend of mine, JeVone Primus, plays trumpet in the group, and he was excited to see my wife and me there on a cold, snowy evening. They played in a church for about fifty people, and the result was a concert that felt informal and intimate. (Yes, informal and intimate–not often words you associate with the U.S. Navy.) The experience left me wanting more–more time spent in close proximity to musicians, more time spent listening to music with small groups of people.
So I bring this question to you, loyal readers: Where are the best small concerts in our area? Is there a coffee shop that features a string quartet every Tuesday? Please share all about Charlotte’s hidden displays of good music in the comments section.