Hey, blogspot readers, walk through these doors of this incredibly famous place and you would be stepping into over 90 years of Chicago history. There's only one place SouthSide knows that can boast such a claim - The Drake Hotel. This world class hotel has had royal and papal guests as well as was featured in the 1983 movie Risky Business (starring Tom Cruise). And if you want to experience a proper British high tea, The Drake is where you should go but do dress accordingly since high tea is a formal event.
Tonight, during this extra special On The Town adventure, SouthSide and her number one fan, Joe, had a rare chance to sit inside the legendary Co d'Or bar lounge for another enchanted evening with friend, jazz singer/songwriter Jesse Charbonier. The Coq has its own special place in Chicago history, blogspot readers. For instance when Prohibitiion was repealed on Dec 5, 1933, the Coq d'Or opened its doors the next day serving lines of customers wanting a glass of whiskey at 40 cents a glass. Then in 1940s, this was the place to hang out if you want to mingle with local politicians and newspaper reporters - oh the scoops and scandals the Coq walls must have been witnessed to. And though it's not related to Coq d'Or but this reviewer found this tiny bit of historical fact very interesting - Joe DiMaggio carved his and Marilyn Monroe's initials into the Cape Cod Room bar. She wonders it they're still there...
If you truly want to experience an enchanted, romantic evening of classic jazz standards by Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley (yes, the King has a jazz standard), Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday and more, SouthSide highly suggests spending your next Saturday night (Sept 17 and with dates in October too) with a sauve, debonair friend of hers - Jesse Charbonier. This amazing singer/songwriter, along with Michael on bass and Adrian tickling the ivories, brought back to life the standards (as well as rare or not so popular tunes) from a generation who heard them first but with his unique magical twist. This reviewer knows anyone can do their best to sing and/or imitate Nat King Cole while performing his classic hit Unforgettable. And that's fine. However, when Jesse performed this particular song, it was more heartfelt and meaningful as he sung the lyrics within a downtempo pace which brought out more depth and emotions ...something SouthSide hasn't heard from any other artist who has covered this song than Jesse. She wish she could verbally describe what this vocalist does to make his repertorie of songs pop to life that had couples dancing during his performance. yet that would be giving away a magician's most trusted secret. Believe SouthSide when she says, Jesse is some magician, blogspot readers. He can take a song (for instance Elvis Presley's I Need Somebody from Viva Las Vegas) and add a hint of tender sadness into the lyrics while the accompaniment plays in a downtempo pace ...and voila, the magic of his voice and music hits you in a certain way that you actual "feel" the song instead of hearing it for the first or twenieth time.
Yes, there was plenty of magic happening throughout the time SouthSide spent inside the Coq d'Or with Jesse (his shows run until 1a) in which many enjoyed his lively upbeat tempo as well as the reverently graceful tempo pace of the songs chosen for the night. Jesse in his own magical way added fun lightheartedness to Sir Charles "Lil Tramp" Chaplin's Smile and Chuck Baker's Let's Get Lost. Both songs are among many in which this singer/songwriter put a little romanticism into the lyrics making you want to take a spin around the tiny dance floor of this busy bar lounge especially during the bass bridge solo of Let's Get Lost. Even Frank Sinatra's Fly Me To The Moon (one of SouthSide's favorite songs by the Chairmen of the Board) received that special Jesse treatment of fun yet in more of a downtempo pace to which a couple showed off their divine dance moves for the audience ...such an awe-inspiring moment, blogspot readers, before creating more wonderful memories with Billie Holiday's Easy Living.
Other songs included tonight were Dinah Washington's What A Difference A Day Makes, Nat King Cole's Almost Like Being In Love and the ever popular song (made famous by both Frank and Billie) All Of Me before having to leave for the night. According to Jesse, the fun certainly continued into the early hours of the morning with a large crowd joined him and the band. He said "...It was amazing! There was a lot of romance in the air. It was joyous!"
If you enjoy watching Mad Men (Jesse and SouthSide love that AMC program) and want to relive hearing music from the 30s, 40s, 50s and some 60s, then head to Coq d'Or this Saturday night ...but get there early - that place jumps around 10p and 11p and table seating is hard to find. Also he will be at the Mellow Yellow Restaurant (located 150 E. 53rd in Hyde Park) for a post Hyde Park Jazz Festival celebration from midnight to 3a on Sept 24. For more information about Jesse Charbonier, visit http://www.jessecharbonier.com.
Until next time, support your local scene,