Posts tagged ‘North Square Lounge’

4/19/09: Roz Corral Trio @ North Square Lounge (87/100)

April 19th, 2009

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I snoozed for over an hour today. I never set an alarm on Sunday, but today it was necessary. I had to get up and record my radio show, then see music, then leave for CT for work. Yes people, sorry to have to tell break it to you this way – but the radio show pre-recorded. I knocked that out, then had to run to brunch to catch a jazz band since I had to leave for Bristol at 3pm. So I hit snooze every 9 minutes for over an hour. Which always seems ridiculous once you’re awake, but makes perfect sense when you’re under the covers.

I managed to drag my ass out of bed around 10:30, grab a quick shower, record the show, then run out to North Square Lounge for the 12:30 jazz set with the Roz Corral Trio. I’ve been to North Square once before on Day 10 to see Sachal Vasandani. And I’ll repeat what I think I talked about way back then.

This may seem like cheating, but it’s not. If Roz didn’t have a website or CD for sale, it might be cheating. But she does, so it’s not. And as it turns out, she’s a lot more prompt that Sachal was. I made a reservation for one for the 12:30 set and she began literally seconds after I sat down.

Here’s a little anecdote about how my making that reservation went down:

Me: I’d like to make a reservation for the 12:30 set in the music room.
Hostess: For how many?
Me: One.
Hostess: (puzzled) One?
Me: Yes.
Hostess: Um, ok…your name?
Me: Nick.
Hostess: That’s for one?
Me: Yes.

Yes, it was plainly obvious that the hostess felt sorry for me making a reservation for one. I guess it makes sense, right? It’s not like I was walking by and decided, “I’m hungry, I’ll try this place out.” I was actually making plans to eat by myself. Like, between the time I was calling and the time I was eating, I couldn’t find one other person to enjoy the meal with me. But she didn’t know I was a man on a music mission. Screw her and her damn pity!

Like I said, Roz and her bass and piano player started the first song almost as my ass hit my chair. Which is nice. I might actually get out earlier than I imagined. I ordered a coke, which came in a tiny, tiny bottle but probably cost like 5 bucks. For food, I got the chicken club sandwich (I like the “-unch” part of Brunch) and then busted out the New York Times Sunday paper. Hey, I said I had to see at band every day, it doesn’t mean I have to stare at them for the entire hour.

Here’s what I learned:

Wait, when did this become an ad for the NYT? When it became hard to talk about the music because of my lack of jazz knowledge (mentioned many times in the blog). If I had to compare Roz to someone, I guess I’d say Ella Fitzgerald. But that might be because I don’t know many other singers like her. But I do know that the chicken club sandwich at North Square Lounge is pretty solid. You can put caramelized onions on just about anything and I’ll eat it.

Roz and her Trio played for an hour, almost to the minute, wrapped up the set, thanked the crowd and promised to return for a second set. I paid my bill, thanked my waiter and promised nothing of the sort.

2/1/09: Sachal Vasandani Trio @ North Square Lounge (10/100)

February 1st, 2009

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Special note: Officially this is band #10, but really it’s day #10. Obviously, I will wind up seeing more than 100 bands in 100 days. But the real idea is seeing music for 100 consecutive days. If I see a great opening band, I’m going to want to write about them, even if they’re not the band I intended to see. Just to clear that up. 



Day #10 brought a new challenge I have yet to deal with: getting some day music in before the Super Bowl. I wasn’t sure if I could sit through a band tonight – totally full of chicken wings, beer, football and America. Everyone was telling me, “Go to jazz brunch.” But I sort of felt like that was cheating. Odds are it would be some no-name weekenders playing some lame background music, and I wasn’t sure if that really qualified.

Then I found (ok, my girlfriend Sunshine did. Thanks Sunshine.) a restaurant/lounge that has jazzy brunch, but with a real set time, and a guy who has music on Amazon and iTunes: Sachal Vasandani. So, for anyone who still thinks this is a cop out, tough. He’s got a CD. He’s got a myspace page. He’s got a page on VH-1. He counts.

I call in advance, make a reservation for the first set at 12:30, turn up right on time, grab my table, order my food and wait. Paul Meyers (guitar) and Neal Miner (bass) are warming up as I get there. They jam on a song to get things going, and the room sounds nice. I’m sitting right next to the band, but alas, I don’t need earplugs for this one. 

Sachal arrives as does my overpriced 8 oz. bottle of Coke and chicken club w/roasted peppers, sauteed onions and sun dried tomato mayo . So I’m ready. Let’s get this jazz rolling.

They start off the set with a bunch of old standards: 

“I Get A Kick Out Of You”

“Almost Like Being In Love”

“Honeysuckle Rose” 

And then balance things out with some tracks I don’t know. Halfway through the set, Sachal calls out to the bar, asking if Roz would like to come on up and sing one. I look back and see who turns out to be Roz Corral, another regular jazz singer here at North Square. She tries to refuse, but Sachal won’t have any of it. She grabs the mic, confers with Paul and Neal, and then launches into a song…one that I wish I had written down because now I can’t remember. Doesn’t matter though, she’s great. You can tell that when it’s her night, she’s holding court. She’s no Ruth Brown – who I was lucky to see before she died (Thanks Al) – but she’s still got a voice and charisma to her.

After blowing through her song, Sachal grabs the mic back and asks if she wants to do a duet. Roz thinks about it, but then passes and takes her seat back at the bar. Sachal and his Trio swing their way through a few more numbers, I finish up my chicken club, the set ends, and I’m into the double digits at last. So I got that going for me.