Brian Whitney
This Way for the Gas

Living Deliberately at the Jazz Estate

By - Apr 15th, 2010 12:35 am
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One undeniable reality of being a music fan in Milwaukee (less specifically, a reality of being alive) is getting stuck in routine. It all starts with going to see a friend’s band, and seemingly the next minute you’re celebrating your 1,000th trip to Cactus Club and wondering where your year(s?) went.  That’s why, when the opportunity to do something outside of the routine presents itself, it’s important to go for it.

Personally, I‘ve found a venue which routinely presents something different, and that place is The Jazz Estate. Located on Murray Street in Milwaukee’s East Side, The Jazz Estate is, as you guessed, a jazz club. While it isn’t exactly the Blue Note, it does evoke an era not commonly found in Milwaukee; that of the 1950s, pre-rock and roll, where the jazz club was the peak of high culture. It’s classy, to be sure, but not in an unwelcoming way. It’s almost reminiscent of Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge, with the difference being the Jazz Estate hosting live music every night of the week except Sunday.

Granted, my appreciation of jazz will probably never advance past amateur status, and it’s not a scene that I’m familiar with in the way that I am with, say, the Riverwest/Bay View rock scene.  The bands I’ve seen at the Estate have all been able to add to the setting, with varying degrees of success. The Estate does occasionally host bigger names (Clyde Stubblefield played there last June, and I am really bummed that I missed out) but most of their calendar is filled out with locals (including a performance by “The Erotic Adventures of the Static Chicken” every Tuesday. I have not yet seen them, and since the whole idea here is about doing things outside of the comfort zone, I, for once, am not going to judge a book by its cover.)

The idea here is to break new ground. Rock bands get boring. I know because I’ve been in them for about half my life. Everybody needs to change their routine at some point, and places like the Jazz Estate afford you the opportunity to do so. Now, the Estate may not tickle your fancy, but there are places other than Riverwest basements or Bay View bars that offer entertainment. It all ties back to the first installment of this column; it’s easy to complain about the routine, or being stuck in a rut, and decidedly less easy to find things outside of the routine that you can enjoy. The trade-off, though, is discovering how gratifying those new experiences can be.

Also, the last time I went to the Estate they had Delirium Tremens on tap, and that doesn’t hurt either.

Categories: Other-views

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