“Nash? You mean the basketball player?” was my response when my friend invited me to go to The Nash with her.
What she was really asking is if I wanted to go with her to “The Nash” – a jazz club in downtown Phoenix. The Nash is owned by Jazz in Arizona, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to preserving and sharing jazz music with lovers of jazz, provides a venue for aspiring jazz musicians to perform and is devoted to educational programs for children.
The club held its Grand Opening on September 30, 2012 but had already started its performance and educational program the previous April.
The Nash is named for Lewis Nash, a Phoenix native. Lewis began playing the drums when he was 10 years old and by the age of 18 was playing with local jazz groups.
I don’t visit the downtown area of Phoenix often and was absolutely enchanted with the updated look of Roosevelt Street. New and interesting shops, upscale “lofts” carved out of older buildings – a wonderful urban setting that is being rejuvenated. The Nash sits on a corner and is surrounded by ample parking within a very short walking distance.
For those of you who do not know, Roosevelt Street is well-known as the art center of Phoenix. They have a “First Friday” event monthly where all the shops stay open late. The public can then take their time strolling down the street, browsing or getting a bite to eat.
The program for the evening I was at The Nash was the Alice Tatum Band. Alice is an award-winning singer who has been performing for a number of years in the Phoenix area and has performed with such greats as our own local Alice Cooper, The Righteous Brothers and Bonnie Raitt just to name a few. She was joined by her band which included with Jerry Donato on the saxophone, Rachel Golf on piano, Bob Lashier on bass and Todd Chuba playing the drums.
I have to be honest and admit that I thought we would go for the first set and then scoot out early… Didn’t happen! Alice and her band had us “hooked” after the first few minutes and we, along with everyone else, stayed until the second set was over.
The Nash doesn’t have a liquor license as of yet and allows the audience to bring a bottle of wine or beer and pay a small corkage fee. The interior is sleek, obviously designed for optimum sound, and provides a small snack bar for guests. It’s not a big room and gives the feel of a small, intimate club. The walls are decorated with a revolving art collection and all of the items are for sale.
This was truly a fabulous evening and I encourage everyone to give it a try. Even if you are not a die-hard jazz lover, you should make a reservation and spend an hour or so surrounded by outstanding talent. Also, check the website for their schedule of “jam sessions.”. During these session, the audience can come up and play a short set with the band. What an experience!
110 E. Roosevelt Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004