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A Musical Good Time In Chicago

Tipping the bucket percussionist, downtown chi-town


  I had a truly amazing time in Chicago this past holiday weekend. Not only did I get to see so much of the city with my awesome girlfriend Natalie, I also got to experience some great music related moments as well. Here’s a few highlights I recommend any musician, especially drummers, who visit the windy city should definitely check out.    

    Chicago, IL has a well documented musical history. There are tons of famous artists, bands, & venues from or based there. Doing a google search can lead you to many destinations throughout, which I did on my first trip a few years back. The Green Mill jazz club & Steve Maxwell’s drums is what I checked out last time, both awesome!!       

     For this trip, Natalie & I bought tickets for the Million Dollar Quartet at the Apollo Theatre. This is a musical based on a famous December afternoon in 1956 where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, & Carl Perkins had a jam session @ the infamous Sun Studios. We ordered tickets online & when we arrived we realized the seats were front row! I had an awesome view of the drums as well!! Dan Leali was the drummer for the night. He played very tasteful, capturing the proper tones and feel of the music. He did all that on a great sounding vintage Ludwig, appropriate for the setting of the musical.

Jazz Record Mart, 27 East Illinois St. Chicago. 

    The next morning I searched Chicago record stores on the web. The first hit was Jazz Record Mart, which was about two miles from our hotel. When I walked in I was blown away; a Jazz based music store carrying mostly vinyl records! I didn’t think a place like that existed!!  There were CD’s too, but many more records. There was some R&B and a few Rock titles, but it was seriously Jazz based. New & used stuff, rarities, must-haves, and so much more. I picked up a Grover Washington Jr. record for $2.99, which includes a 15 min instrumental version of Marvin Gaye’s “Trouble Man”. Good stuff! The staff was really cool & knowledgeable as well. I couldn’t spent the whole day there no prob!       

    This trip was more about a quick romantic boyfriend / girlfriend get away, not focused around visiting all the music related stuff and performing. I'll be back because there's much more to experience. No matter where we went, there was music appreciation everywhere. Whether it was musicians performing in the streets, advertisements for bands playing, Piano stores in the downtown area, or just seeing a people walking around with guitar cases, Chicago is without question a very hip place for music.

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