Friday, December 26, 2008

Andrew Distel - Jazz Genius at the Pump Room!

Click my post title and listen to young guys who treat music with respect.

Andrew Distel fronts a quartet of young jazz artists who grace Chicago's Pump Room* on Friday and Saturday nights from 8-10 PM.

There is absolutely no room on the tight stage for any nonsense or clinkers. With a clear and clever voice that delicately places the intent of the composer up on a Waterford Crystal mantel, Andrew sparks the piano, bass and drums **when adding the trumpet, flugelhorn and coronet to the International Songbook.

Along with pianist Pete Benson ( who reminds one of Errol Garner when he solos), Mr. Distel elevates the tones and textures which give music its ability to level out the cant and narcissism that seems the hallmark of contemporary performance artists masquerading as musicians.

These young men are the real deal. They are journeyman geniuses . . .lacking any and all of the puffery of egomaniacs with microphones. Distel scats like Torme! My personal favorite is Andrew's take on 'Sleepy Time Down South.'

If you love your wife as you should, allow Andrew Distrel and his sidemen to lead you to the dance floor for some serious affection reconnection through real music.

You will meet some of the nicest and brightest people in Chicago; especially Commodore Max Weismann who holds court over a crowd of regulars known to the Pump Room irregulars as the Hole in The Wall Gang. Max and the late Mortimer Adler developed the Center for the Study of Great Ideas and the Great Books Program.

Here's a Great Idea!

Dress up; Put on the Dog; and Get to the Pump Room. Treat yourself to real music by Andrew Distel.

* Pump Room in the Ambassador East Hotel:
1301 N. State Parkway
(312) 266-0360

When Ernie Byfield opened The Pump Room in The Ambassador East Hotel on October 1, 1938, he undoubtedly had little idea that he was beginning an enterprise that would still be thriving to this day. Today, The Pump Room remains a magnet for movie stars and celebrities as well as a highly-acclaimed restaurant and Chicago landmark.
In 1938, Mr. Byfield was inspired by a place called the Pump Room that dominated the scene in 18th century England. Located in the resort city of Bath, The Pump Room was a place where Queen Anne and other stylish Londoners converged to revel in the social life at night after a long day. The Pump Room was named after the hot water drinks “pumped” into its patrons’ cocktails.

Byfield’s Pump Room was a success from the day it opened. Chicago’s socialites perched themselves along the large room’s western wall to observe the celebrities who made their appearances along the east side of the room. Those guests seated in Booth One, perhaps the more renowned table in the country, attracted the most attention. Famed actress Gertrude Lawrence, who was starring in a play in Chicago at the same time as The Pump Room’s debut, established its reputation. Miss Lawrence staged a nightly gathering in Booth One during the play’s entire 90-day run. From that moment on, The Pump Room became the place to see and be seen.

John Barrymore roared for champagne; Bette Davis could be found curled up on the piano bench; Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall celebrated their wedding in Booth One, as did Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood. Liza Minelli grew up in Booth One and has fond memories of dining there with her mother, Judy Garland. Ms. Garland immortalized the restaurant in the lyrics to “Chicago”, with the words “we’ll eat at The Pump Room/Ambassador East, to say the least”. And of course, Frank Sinatra held court in Booth One countless times.

After Byfield’s death in 1950, The Pump Room held on to its allure as a place for stargazing. A new generation of luminaries took up residence in Booth One. Mel Brooks personally greeted each guest; Paul Newman and Robert Redford lunched on ham sandwiches and pilsners every day during the shooting of “The Sting”. Michael J. Fox, Eddie Murphy and Jim Belushi have all continued the tables’ famous tradition.

Opera star Beverly Sills has added some high notes to the room, while a few rock and roll legends like David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac, Olivia Newton-John and Mick Jagger, have added some of their own. A little known drummer was refused entry when he failed to pass the dress code and titled his solo album, “No Jacket Required” after the incident. His name- Phil Collins. (He was sent a new jacket by way of apology.)

Executive Chef Nick Sutton

The real command presence of the Pump Room:Bartender Extraordinaire - Angel!

**Andrew Distel Quartet at the Pump Room:
Andrew Distel - Vocals - Trumpet & etc.

Pete Benson - Piano ( 'nuff said!)

Jake Vinsel - Bass ( Jazz Bass Man named Jake!)

Brian Ritter - Drums ( Brian keeps it all together with delicate and clever precision)


Max Weismann said...

Hi Pat,

Thanks for the kudos, hope to see you and the lovely Terry in The Pump Room this evening. The Mayor and his family spent their usual Christmas evening in Byfield’s.

Christmas cheer was had by all . . .


Anonymous said...

Hey Pat
Thanks for the very kind words. Always fun to play to a group of people like you who enjoy listening to what we do!

BTW...just heard today that our gig at the ole Pump Room is ending at the end of January, so stop on back and bring a crowd to support the gig while it's still happening!

Well, thanks again for the mention on your blog and happy new year