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Club Blujazz-A New Jazz Club For Chicago Opens Friday March 12, 2010

In the following article from Metromix music & movies producer/writer Matt Pais of comes the review/overview of Chicago's newest jazz club, entitled, "What is Club Blujazz? 10 things to know about Bucktown’s new music spot" (as published by Matt Pais Metromix March 5, 2010) This club hopes to turn a younger crowd on to jazz while offering a true listening venue for avid, serious jazz and blues fans. The Grand Opening weekend will feature the Mike Melvoin Trio...

"Singer-guitarist Greg Pasenko has played with Bobby McFerrin, and his violinist wife Diane Delin has toured with Frank Sinatra. That's big stuff on a global level, but now the Lakeview-based jazz musician spouses have something big for us locals: a new jazz club.

On Friday Pasenko and Delin, who also run Chicago-based record label Blujazz Productions, open Club Blujazz, which offers live jazz seven nights a week. The spot, located on the southeast edge of Bucktown, comes with a very straightforward goal: becoming a destination for people who want to hear live jazz. “We’re not trying to be more than that,” says Pasenko, 58, “other than we want to be the best place to come hear music.”

Here are 10 other things you should know about the new spot:

1. Pasenko will perform at the club (7:30 p.m. Tuesdays) and so will Delin (7:30 p.m. Thursdays), but the spouses won’t take the stage together. “We’ve performed together a lot in the past. We’ve been together 20 years. That’s how we met. In any great marriage, which we have, it’s sometimes better that we do our own things. We’re in business so much together because we also have the record label.”

2. The long, vertical room, boasting hardwood floors, exposed white brick and handmade tables, offers unblocked sightlines and an inviting if basic feel. Pasenko emphasizes his desire to create an intimate, crowd-friendly environment not found at other Chicago spots. “If you go to the Green Mill it’s very hard to hear or see the music at times,” he says.

3. Pasenko wants serious jazz fans. “We’re not looking for walk-ins. We’re what I call a point of destination.” That’s why he’s covering the front window with a curtain and isn’t worried about street traffic. “We’re a listening club. Did you see that bus go by? We don’t want that distraction.”

4. The stage isn’t particularly wide, but it’s deep. Pasenko says that means the club will feature not just jazz trios and quartets but big bands that can set up in sections front to back.

5. Artists performing during the week—like the Mike Frost Project and Dan Trudell Trio—are based in Chicago but are also nationally recognized touring artists. Says Pasenko: “We don’t really like the word local. I like the word regional better.”

6. There will be an effort to bring in younger crowds. To that end, Pasenko lists Charlie Hunter and the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey as examples of acts he’d like to book. Upcoming shows he thinks will appeal to a younger crowd are Moutin Reunion Quartet (April 30-May 1) and Joe Locke and the Force of Four (June 4-5).

7. Of course, it’s not just music at Club Blujazz. The spot, which doesn’t have a main bar but has a back window for drinks, isn't a place for cutting-edge mixology. Instead: a handful of vodkas, whiskeys and bottled beers, plus an apple martini. Light food options include flatbread pizzas ($8), cheese plates ($7) and cakes ($6) and espressos. Pasenko’s friend Carol Wallack of Sola advised him on the menu.

8. During the late-night set you’re welcome to head to the lone bar window, but during the first two sets Pasenko requests you order food and drinks from servers. His policy: “The customer’s right, unless he’s obnoxious and drunk.”

9. At around 11 p.m. Sundays Pasenko’s brother Robert hosts a pro blues jam session. If you want to participate, you better be at pro level. For five years Robert has hosted a similar session at Bridgeport spot Catcher’s Inn.

10. Particular attention was paid to the women’s bathroom, which includes granite countertops, stone tile floors and a full-length mirror. “My wife convinced me if the women’s bathroom looks great, then people will keep coming back,” says Pasenko. “If the women come back, then the men come too.” "

Club Blujazz
Parking: Free parking on Ashland; metered parking on North; valet coming soon, Pasenko expects $5-$6
Cover: $10 weekdays, $20-$30 weekends. Accept Mastercard, Visa, American Express
Seating for 100
Tickets available at

1540 West North Ave
(Just two doors East of Ashland)
Chicago, IL
Visit the Club BluJazz Website



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