I left Bird’s Basement feeling cool. No, not just cool – classy. I could add guilty to my tab too. I made a lot of enemies among the other writers at The Plus Ones for scoring tickets to write about our city’s newest jazz temple for myself and, justifiably, my jazz-fanatic plus one. And it exceed any expectations I had. Actually, I was so impressed with the venue and the music that I left that evening thinking the whole of Melbourne is all the classier for being home to such an incredible venue.
In the thematically named Singers Lane, close to Flagstaff Gardens, we followed the red carpets downstairs to the kind of basement I would have wanted in my town house if I had jazz celebrities as my friends and a few dozen extra zeroes to the right of my bank account balance.
The place looks like (several) million dollars – soft blue neon lights, textured metal panelled walls, reflective tall ceilings – very cosy and suave. Yes, totally an amazing venue to bring a date. It is a venue with a pedigree, a sister-club of New York’s Birdland – both named after the legendary Charles ‘Bird’ Parker.
Albert Dandon, local jazz musician and the Bird’s Basement founder, gave us a passionate introduction, while we settled down to sample a three-course meal prepared by the club’s resident Italian chef Gigi Buono, then played a set with his own exceptional jazz band. We were then treated to music by saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, son of John Coltrane. Both food and music were top-notch. Oh, and the wine, too. Bird’s Basement has table seating for 200, and features two shows a night at 6pm and then 9.30pm.
Albert expressed his intention to make his club a ‘permanent jazz festival in Melbourne’ – and its upcoming line up lives up to his promise. If you are curious about jazz, or love it; need a place to bring a date, have a first-class supper; and/or want to support the local music scene, you can’t go past Bird’s Basement.
Christian G. is an international man of mystery, lover of books, cats, and the performing arts; moonlighting as a finance professional by day.
Bird’s Basement is in Singers Lane off Latrobe Street, open every night from 6pm.
The venue is accessible.
Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Harvey Publicity.
Photo credit: Emmanuel Santos.