Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sweet home: Downstairs from disco

1974 photo of the Happy Medium, 900 Rush St., Chicago.
Retrieved from
I have fond memories of Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase in the mid-1970s when it was located downstairs from the Happy Medium at Delaware and Rush in Chicago. On one of my visits, the Happy Medium was doing a disco night (or, for all I knew, it was a dedicated disco club at the time). In any case, I recall entering on the first floor and looking into the club, where I saw the sparkling glitter ball and dancers all in white, with canned disco tunes of high-hat and breezy backbeat. I was hating all of that, of course, but a wonderful transformation took place as I descended to the basement where jazz had commenced. Halfway down the stairs, the mindless high-hat faded away, overtaken by the driving ride cymbal and the rest of the robust propulsion of the jazz band. I don't remember who was playing, but I clearly recall the feeling of arriving home.