Acton Jazz Cafe: Where to Find Jazz

by MusicIDB Team

Acton Jazz Cafe answers the "where to find jazz" question for Lowell, MA.

In my continuing quest for where to find jazz, I spent a little more time on Google.  This time I saw Acton Jazz Cafe in the listings and asked folks at MusicIDB about it.  They said it was great, so that was good enough for me.  I picked last Saturday’s show featuring the nine piece jazz band, Itchy Feet.  The details weren’t what I expected, but the show and the cafe were every bit as fun as you could want.

Acton Jazz Cafe sits in a little strip mall between some farms near I-495.  How would you ever know it was there?  We parked and walked up to the door, past an older gentleman walking out.  It was 7pm and you could hear the band start their first set from outside.

Inside, there was no host/hostess so we hung around the entrance for a minute watching Itchy Feet.  The cool lighting and superb acoustics hit you right away.  The music was slightly loud for conversation up front, but there were plenty of booths at the back where conversation would be easier.  The older gentleman walked back in.

“Are you here for the show?” he asked

“Actually, we want to have dinner.”

“Okay, sure.”  He took us to a booth at back.  We didn’t pay the $10 cover we expected, so we asked the waitress about it.  She didn’t hear us at first.

“You have to pay the cover because there’s a show tonight,” pointing at the jazz band.

“I know, we didn’t pay.”

“What?  You didn’t pay?  Sometimes I don’t know what he’s doing up there,” she said.  (So Itchy Feet, I think we owe you $20 for that night.  When you read this, email [email protected] and I’ll send you our cover. =)

I had read a review saying the food was ordinary but I don’t agree.  The cafe offers a solid margarita and a crunchy catfish with a creamy, Newburg-like sauce.  That’s pretty good.  We were one of 40 when the show started.  By the time we were done with dinner, the place was packed full of happy people.

Itchy Feet are a first class group.  Their alternate sax player Jim Repa, who wasn’t there that night, wrote a song, Los Lagartos, that we really enjoyed.  On the slower end of the spectrum, their arrangement of John Coltraine’s Naima was very nice.  If you have any exposure to jazz music at all, you can listen to a group like Itchy Feet and find yourself saying, “Oh, I know this song!”  It’s way more cool than a movie.  Plus you get to see the sax player drop the horn and pick up a flute, the pianist improvise from the keyboard all the way up to the top of his head, and the trombonist hit every note in that magic way that trombonists do.

The really great thing about live music is that you can find your niche anywhere.  If you’re blessed with many decades of experience, this is a great place for you.  All ages are welcome.

This is the reason why I’m excited for MusicIDB.  Ask “where to find jazz” on MusicIDB and you’ll see that this stuff is available near you.   And I can guarantee that when you find what moves you, you’ll have fun.  Like me, when it’s time to head home, you’ll stop on the way out and say, “Let’s stay for just one more song.”

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