Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts June 1998 Current Issue
June 1998
Short Cuts:


If a quick survey finds your attendees have pegged legends like John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington as baseball heroes, take them to a good jazz club, and soon they'll be clamoring for saxophone lessons.

One of the newest jazz venues to hit the scene is the Kansas City Jazz Museum (816-474-8463), which debuted in September 1997. Memorabilia highlights include Ella Fitzgerald's rhinestone eyeglasses, Charlie Parker's saxophone and Louis Armstrong's lip salve. Several interactive exhibits tell the history of the city's rich jazz culture through musical recordings and videos; mixing stations allow wannabes to create their own unique sound mix; and local jazz musicians take to the stage at the Blue Room, a breeding ground for rising stars. Designed to replicate a classic 1920s Kansas City jazz club, the Blue Room offers dinner and live music four nights a week for groups of up to 150. Several other areas throughout the facility are suitable for parties of 50 to 1,500, from a soul food reception in the glass-enclosed Atrium to an open-air dinner in the courtyard.

New Orleans is the town that gave us jazz legends Jellie Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong. Book ahead for a night at Tipitina's (504-529-1980), a hot spot since 1942 for down-home New Orleans jazz, made even more famous by its appearance in the film The Big Easy. The club's scheduled acts include Harry Connick Sr. (yes, he's the father of heartthrob Harry Connick Jr.) and the Neville Brothers. Events are arranged for groups of 100 to 5,000. At Snug Harbor (504-949-0696), a local hangout, groups of up to 25 can take in plenty of good music along with popular local specialties like Cajun gumbo and barbecued shrimp. Show times are 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.

One of New York City's long-established jazz enclaves is Birdland (212-581-3080). Named for saxophone great Charlie "Bird" Parker, the club, which recently moved to newer, bigger digs in midtown, will arrange corporate events for up to 200. Newer to the Manhattan jazz scene but fast making a mark is the elegant Iridium (212-582-2121) on 63rd Street across from Lincoln Center. The bill regularly features such renowned headliners as Pharoh Sanders and the Ron Carter Quintet. Iridium caters to groups of up to 500.

At Green Dolphin Street (773-395-0066), a swanky, upscale club in Chicago, the music comes packaged in a 1940s ballroom scene. Named after the jazz standard made famous by the late, great Miles Davis, the club's musical roster includes local talent and big name draws like Winston Marsalis. The Jazz Room holds 125. Several dining rooms host banquets for up to 250 and receptions for 700.



What did you learn in school that has helped you the most in life?

"No matter how you worry, it all seems to work out. It's just like meeting planning. You drive yourself nuts, but in the end it all comes together."
Cathy Fitzgerald
Director, Travel & Special Events
Nestlé USA
Glendale, Calif.

"How to be organized, how to persevere and how to meet deadlines. Sending a proposal to a client is a lot like handing in a term paper to a professor. The big difference is that in real life everything is pass/fail."
Janet Elkins
Event Works
Los Angeles, Calif.

"How to work as part of a team. When I was in college, I was going to be a classical violinist. In an orchestra, you have to be a team player, and it really shows if you make a mistake. I guess the same thing applies to meeting planning."
Audrey Zook, CMP
Meetings & Marketing Manager
National Cattleman's Beef Association
Englewood, Colo.

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