Club owners, listen up.
Some gripe about noise in your establishments. In general, not me (I’ll post on that another time). Some gripe about cover charges or drink prices. Both, to my mind, are fair and justified. Overall, Kansas City jazz club owners, you’re doing a pretty darn good job.
But not totally good. One nuisance which irks me no end: Quit making me work to figure out your schedule when making plans.
Last night, I was at Jardine’s to hear Megan Birdsall (terrific show, especially the second half; I’ll get back to that in another post as well). I walked to the back windowsill where schedules lie. Why was the August schedule the only one to be found? This month is nearly over. I want to know when I want to return next month. The September schedule’s on your (nicely improved) web site. Why isn’t it in your club?
For that matter, why isn’t it front and center on your web site? I have the home page open now. Its scrolling calendar, at this moment, is telling me who was there August 6th, now August 7th, now August 8th. Why?
Trio ALL plays Jardine’s next Wednesday. Terrific group, with some of the sterling young musicians I’ve written of before. Heard them there a couple months back. I may be there next week. But I should have had an easy and obvious way to know the headliners a week away before I left last night. If I wasn’t researching this post, I might not have known until well past the date. The music is a key reason to go to Jardine’s. Tell me who it is.
Another gripe: Tell me more about the group. Thursday of next week Trumpet Summit is listed. $5 cover charge, more than usual for a weeknight. Who are they? Who’s in the group? I may like them. The cover may be a bargain. But how do I figure that out? How do I find out more about Trumpet Summit? Tell me, on your calendar, on a link, on a blurb, somewhere, who these guys (and/or gals) are. Don’t make me work to find it. Stick it in my face. Worst thing that could result? More customers.
Earlier this month, HoracesScope played Jardine’s. No explanation of who they were. I figured it was Horace Washington’s group. Not until I read a review on the wonderful blog Plastic Sax did I know it was a band playing Horace Silver’s work including, among others, the excellent Stan Kessler. Had I known in advance, I’d have gone. Between dinner and drinks, Jardine's, you’d have probably raked in another 30 or 40 bucks off me. It’s to your benefit that we know about the band before, not after, the show.
Okay, Phoenix, you’re not off the hook, either. I just checked your calendar as well. Even printed it out. So explain the partial listings. September 3, 7 pm: Mark. September 4, 4:30 pm: George. September 12, 4:30 pm: Grand. Mark who? George who? Grand what? I’ll bet Mark and George and Grand are good guys. But who are they? Is it too much to expect a schedule which tells me who’s scheduled?
(Each Tuesday’s “Open Jam With” and Saturday afternoons listing only “Lonnie” on the Phoenix calendar look bad, too, though I know enough to complete those blanks. But for potential customers who don’t, the incompletions are a problem.)
The aforementioned Plastic Sax blog posts a compilation calendar (here), but that doesn’t lessen what the clubs themselves need to do.
Club owners, if you want us to come, tell us what’cha got. Don’t hide your schedules. Don’t make them incoherent. There’s too damn few of us fans wandering KC and looking for good music to begin with. If you want us in your clubs, at the very least, tell us why we should be there. And don’t make us do all the work to figure it out.