78: Mob Town Tour Vol. 2 - A club beyond category
On week two of the Mob Town Tour series of podcasts, we explore the Green Mill in Chicago. In my opinion, it’s one of the greatest jazz clubs in the world. It’s a kind of jazz unicorn. A joint that walks the line and manages to serve the community at large and the musicians too. It’s alive, and it’s local.
You’d think this would be normal, but it’s not. It’s very rare. I don’t know another place like it. And that is due in no small part to the owner, Dave Jemilo. It’s so easy to overlook the importance of the club owner in the success of a club. Not just the economic success, but also the way the club feels and behaves in a community.
In this episode we spend some time talking with musician Bob Rockwell (the saxophone player in the Ben Sidran Quartet) about the Chicago musical legacy, and we also check in with vocalist Kurt Elling and organist Chris Foreman about playing at the Green Mill.
But the real meat in this pod sandwich comes from Jemilo himself, perhaps the finest example of a real Chicagoan that you will ever meet. Dave tells the story of discovering the Green Mill in the 1980s and falling in love with the history (it opened in 1907 and has never closed), grit and potential. Over the last 30 years, Dave has been facilitated and hosted a scene in Chicago that nurtured many of the best musicians in town.
Pull up a stool and make yourself comfortable because we’re going to do this one Chicago style. Deep dish, baby.
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