with the bold text in the example below: The Skychi Travel Guide : March 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

Chicago Jazz Jam Sundays with Hyde Park Jazz Society at Room 43

Joan Callaso Jazz Vocalist
Joan Callaso Jazz Vocalist
Norman Bolden owner of Room 43
Norman Bolden owner of Room 43 
Larry Hanks (piano), Larry Gray (bass), Kwame Steve Cobb (drums)
Larry Hanks (piano), Larry Gray (bass), Kwame Steve Cobb (drums)
Hyde Park Jazz Society President Charlie Thomas and Secretary Judith Stein
Hyde Park Jazz Society President Charlie Thomas and Secretary Judith Stein 

Hyde Park Jazz Society Attendees
Hyde Park Jazz Society Attendees

Hyde Park Jazz Society in Chicago preserves the history of jazz in Hyde Park. The Hyde Park Jazz Society (HPJS) promotes jazz performances in the Hyde Park and mid  Chicago South Side Community for jazz fans. It also develops and supports jazz musicians. 

There was a jazz club located on the University of Chicago campus named The Beehive during the 50's and 60's where famous jazz musicians performed with students in jazz jams. The Hyde Park Jazz Society Sunday Night Jazz Jams at Room 43 continue that legacy with students jazz musicians and accomplished jazz artists performing improvisational jazz music for eager jazz audiences.

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The Hyde Park Jazz Society Home for Jazz on Sundays... Click here for Jazz Schedule

- TIME: 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

- LOCATED: 1043 E. 43rd Street, Room 43 is 1.5 blocks east of Ellis (between Berkeley & Greenwood) on the south

side of the street (at the bus stop sign - it has orange awnings).

- FREE PARKING: on the street or in the "One Stop" lot at Lake Park & 43rd (1 block east)

- VALET PARKING: is NOT currently available

- CASH ADMISSION: $10 adults/$5 for University students with ID or children with adults

- ROOM 43 offers bar and food service, including a tasty selection of "Jazz Bites."

The Hyde Park Jazz Society also hosts the Hyde Park Jazz Festival in partnership with the University of Chicago.

Please check about article Jazzin Good Times at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival.

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 Chicago Jazz Alive on the Southside Map
Chicago Jazz Alive on the Southside Map

Video of Joan Callaso and her Trio
Video of Joan Callaso and her Trio

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Dorothy Donegan Remembers DuSable High School Walter Dyett's Jazz Orchestra

"I was born in Cook County Hospital on the West Side of Chicago in 1922. My parents were living on the South Side at 4801 South Evans at that time. My mother worked as a domestic and my father worked as a chef on the Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad. They called my Dad "Bad Foot" Donegan. He had real bad feet but he could bake his buns off.

My folks started me taking piano lessons in 1928, the same year I enrolled in Willard Elementary School at 4915 South St. Lawrence Avenue. My first music teacher was Mr. Alfred Simms, whose music studio was located in his second floor apartment at 5301 South Calumet Avenue. Mr. Simms was an excellent teacher. He had me playing well enough after two years to do recital work, and before I reached the age of eleven he had brought me along far enough to do professional work as an organist and pianist in churches, lodges and house parties around the neighborhood.  At the suggestion of my cousin, Addison Mosley, I left Mr. Simms had started studying with E. Sterling Todd, who was a pianist and organist at Savoy Ballroom. He introduced me to the three B's: Bach, Beethoven, and Brahams. I devoured the classics at such a rapid pace that Mr. Todd suggested that I go downtown and study at the Chicago Convervatory of Music under Lillian Brown, who had a reputation of being one of the best classical teachers in the city of Chicago. By the time I graduated from elementary school in 1935, I was considered both an excellent classical pianist and a very good jazz piano player. Therefore, when I entered DuSable High School at 49th and Wabash, I had no problems qualifying for Captain Walter Dyett's Booster orchestra. Thomas Rigsby,  Dyett's favorite piano player, was graduating and the Captain was looking for replacements. The competition was stiff for that piano seat because there was Rudy Martin, who was a tall, good-looking, yellow fellow who played pretty good piano. Then there was Martha Davis, who came in from Kansas City,  playing like both Count Basie and Fats Waller. Entering the door of the band room was John "The Terrible" Young, the Earl Hines protege. The DuSable piano field was crowded with talent but I managed to share that piano seat with John Young and the others over the four year period that I was at DuSable High.  Nat "King" Cole dropped out of DuSable two months after I arrived to take his first band on the road.

Captain Dyett was an excellent musician and a hard taskmaster.  He would always say, "When you're right,  you can afford to keep quiet." But he also made you very conscious of being a good musician. He could hear a mosquito urinate on a bale of cotton. His musical ear was that sensitive. Sometimes we could  make Captain Dyett so mad, that he would call us all kinds of S.O.B.'s and M.F.'s, and he would say to me, "Hit it! It's a B-flat chord." And I would say, "Oh, it's still a B-flat chord." He would, retort, "You've got to hit that B-flat, C-7th and F-7th." And sometimes I would cuss back at him and Dyett never liked it. He had such a terrific ear. Out of a 150 piece concert band, he could tell exactly which instrument had made the mistake, and you would know it because he would stare at you with that one good eye and make you feel smaller than a snail. On the other hand, he had a good band and he always produced an excellent Hi  Jinks show from the student talent at DuSable.

Dyett had to use the proceeds from the annual Hi Jinks affair to buy instruments for the band because the Board of Education would never furnish instruments for the students. Dyett gave each member of the booster orchestra one dollar per night for the four nights that we played the Hi Jinks....."

Dorothy Donegan, Jazz Pianist from An Autobiography of Black Jazz by Dempsey J. Travis

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Chicago Bronzeville Originals

My great-great grandparents came to Chicago in the 1890's. My great-great grandfather Robert "Dandy Bob" Anderson was a valet for theater stage stars with whom he traveled around the U.S.  He was known as "Dandy" because he was well-dressed man.

He and his first wife Jennie had two children born in Chicago. Their son Robert "Bob" Anderson, my great Uncle Bob was born in Chicago in about 1895. He was a local basketball star. He also played in the Negro Baseball League for the Chicago American Giants. Bob Anderson founded with a group of friends the Olde Tymers Athletic Club of Chicago in 1932. This organization sponsored youth sports programs. Bob Anderson and the Olde Tymers are credited for sponsoring the 1936 Olympic Team members: Jesse Owens, Rep. Ralph Mercalfe, Eddie Talon, Dave Albriton, Tydie Pickett, Claude Walton, Ben Johnson and Cornelius Johnson. Jesse Owens won four gold medals in Berlin at the 1936 Olympics. He was the first American Track & Field Athlete to win four gold medals in a single Olympiad. This occurred during the Hilter "Nazi" era in which the "Aryan" people were believed to be the dominant race.

Shuffle Along Sheet Music Lyrics & Music by Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake
Shuffle Along Sheet Music Lyrics & Music by Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake

Robert "Bob" Anderson's sister, Eva Mae Anderson was born in Chicago in about 1897. She became a jazz age dancer. She performed at the Harlem Cotton Club. She also danced with Josephine Baker in Blake & Sissle's "Shuffle Along".
It was written and performed by African Americans with Black audience members sitting in orchestra seats instead of the balcony. It was known for featuring the first African-American love story. Despite the fact that the performers wore blackface it was a huge success running 405 shows and setting the precedent for Black Theatre. It is credited with starting the Harlem Renaissance.

My great-grandmother, Eva Mae married Jodie Edwards "Butterbeans" of the famous vaudeville act Butterbeans and Susie Act.

Bob Anderson and Eva Wheatley Edwards were Bronzeville Socialites. The Olde Tymers Club was so named for those who were born or lived in Chicago before the Black Migration in the 1930's. Bob's sister Eva headed the Olde Tymers Women's Auxiliary. The women's club voted to uniamously to make the Abbotts, owners of the Chicago Defender Newspaper honorary members. The Abbotts graciously accepted the invitation. The Chicago Defender is an African American newspaper which was first published in 1904. The Chicago Defender is credited with spurring the Black Migration from the south to Chicago. The newspaper printed stories of job opportunities.

The Chicago Originals were known to look down upon those Blacks migrating from the South. I suppose this is the reason for setting themselves apart as the first to live in Chicago. During the Bronzeville era there 2,000 social clubs and everyone vied to see their name mentioned in the Chicago Defender at a social club gathering. It was during this time that Jazz was incubated in Chicago at the social club dances. 

I am a sixth generation Chicagoan who family has it's roots in the Bronzeville area of Chicago's Southside. I am proud of the Chicago Southside. I am not a socialite. I  am very down to earth  and live among common people. I inherited my desire to travel and serve from my great-great grandfather Robert Anderson, the traveling valet.

Share your family history!

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Travel Lifestyle Hacking #WITS14

"Travel Lifestyle Hacking" is a new term which I just learned recently at the Inaugural Women In Travel Summit #WITS14 held in Chicago at the Palmer House Hilton.

What is "Travel Lifestyle Hacking"?

It is basically creating travel as a priority in your life. There are a million ways to accomplish this goal. Some of the stories were shared by keynote speakers Nomadic Chick, Jeannie Mark and Journeywoman, Ellen Hannon were so inspiring. Then were the panel breakout sessions for the entrepreneur and blogger tracks. I was impressed by the knowledge shared by these insightful women. It gave us a sense of empowerment. The camaraderie of women power enjoyed at the meetups was contagious. We left this summit reunited with old friends, connected to new friends and established partnerships in the Go Girl Travel Blogger Mentor Program. Don't miss next year WITS 2015 in Boston. The Go Girl Travel Network has amassed a community of 10,000 plus women in less than a year. You will join a class of unique women travelers forging their own path. This is an inclusive international network of women who uplift each other.

Women In Travel Summit #WITS14 Social Media Panel feat. Journeywoman Ellen Hannon
Women In Travel Summit #WITS14 Social Media Panel feat. Journeywoman Ellen Hannon

Are you interested in becoming a women travel blogger?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Travel Massive Meetups Women In Travel Summit

Women In Travel Summit Meetup
Women In Travel Summit Meetup

This weekend there is an international gathering of more than 180 women converging on Chicago for the inaugural Women In Travel Summit being held at the historic Palmer House Hilton . I had an opportunity to meet some of these savvy travel godesses last night at a pre conference travel meetup. If you missed that event you have a chance to  come meet conference attendees and travel industry professionals at the next open to the  public event. Yes, men are welcome to attend even though it is a women's summit.

Travel Massive and Women In Travel Summit #WITS14 are co-hosting a travel meetup that you are welcome to attend even if you are not registered for the conference.  This upcoming event is Saturday,  March 15, 2014 from 8 pm to 11 pm at the Gallery Bar which located at 738 North Clark Street in Chicago.

Men and women who are interested in the travel community should register for this event on Eventbrite and bring business cards for a chance to win a travel giveaway:

A pair of round-trip tickets from Virgin America

Chloe Hoodie from Scottevest

Blackout Pocket from Scottevest

Consider this your personal invitation from Flight Attendant Janice aka "SkychiTravels"

Share this event and see you there!

Women In Travel Summit
Women In Travel Summit

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Earl Hines Orchestra at The Grand Terrace

Original Grand Terrace 3955 South King Drive Chicago
Original Grand Terrace 3955 South King Drive Chicago
"Money was what the plantation system was all about. The Grand Terrace in Chicago was the most grandiose plantation in the country. Its appointments were more elaborate than New York's Cotton Club or Chicago's Club DeLisa. Everything and everybody in the club smelled like money except the black entertainers.  They all sweated for a pittance, including Earl Hines, the internationally renowned band leader. The band's star trumpet and saxophone player George Dixon, did not realize how the mob's plantation system worked  until he decided to better his lot in life  and gave notice of leaving Hines at the Grand Terrace to join Don Redman's band in Detroit. Don Redman was the brilliant former musical director of McKinney ' s Cotton Pickers. Omer Simeon, Hines' alto sax man, and Billy Franklin,  the trombonist,  decided to join Dixon in his move to Detroit.

Dixon told me, "The day we left Chicago, Ralph Cooper,  the producer of the show at the original Grand Terrace, came out of the club and shook our hands while we were standing near curb. When I stepped into my little 1929 Ford and said 'Goodbye,' Cooper replied, 'I am not going to say goodbye because you'll be back.'
"I said, 'Not a chance.'
"Shortly after we arrived in Detroit,  Don called  his first rehearsal at the Graystone Ballroom. Before we could play the first note, Don's manager came up and said, 'Where's the three fellows from Earl Hines ' band.?
"We all identified ourselves. Don's manager said, 'Well, I just got a call from New York and I won't be able to use you guys.'
"The three of us yelled in unison, 'Does that mean we have to go back to Earl?
"The manager replied, 'Yeah, that's what it means.'
"After hearing that bad news, the three of us jumped into my little Ford and came back to Chicago. The mob, through intimidation and organization, had things so well-regulated we couldn't  even change jobs."

Later Dixon accidentally overheard a conversation between Ed Fox, manager of the Grand Terrace, and Frank "The Enforcer" Nitti, the Capone treasurer, which shed light on what had happened.  It seemed that Joe Fusco, Al Capone's superintendent of breweries who was also plantation overseer at the Grand Terrace, had called Owney Madden at the Cotton Club in New York, and gold him that Dixon and the boys had to go back to the Grand Terrace, Madden immediately called a member  of the Purple Gang in Detroit, and that individual gave the word directly to Don Redman's manager: the boys had to return to Chicago. The "word" was always the final message...........
Al Capone saved Duke Ellington from ghreats of violence, but chained Earl Hines to a $150 a week contract that was constructed to last forever.  Capone, through his Grand Terrace manager, had a contract with Hines that literally would not permit Hines to use his own name name if he attempted to leave the Grand Terrace plantation. His contract was perpetual: if Ed Fox died, Hines would become personal property of Fox's widow, and in the event of her death, Fox's eldest son would be their heir to the contract for a lifetime. If the oldest son died before Hines , the contract would pass to Fox's youngest son. This chattel contract on Earl Hines was in effect from December 1928 until a 1941 engagement at the Regal Theater in Chicago where Hines collected his music after the last show and told the band:
"I am not working for Ed Fox anymore."
Hines had made this threat before, but this time he apparent intended to keep his word.
Early the following Monday,  Hines and George Dixon, his saxophone and trumpet player went to Harry Gray, the president of  Local  208, at 3934 South Street,  which was the headquarters of the colored musicians' union.  Earl told Gray the story and Gray called James (Jimmy) C. Petrillo, president of the National Federation of Musicians in New York. Petrillo was also president of Local 10, which was the Chicago downtown union for white musicians . Petrillo came into town that Wednesday and met Harry Gray, Earl Hines, Charlie Carpenter and George Dixon at the Palmer House.
According to Dixon, Petrillo read the contract and said, "This contract is not worth the paper it is written on. It's too much Ed Fox and not enough Earl Hines, so you go and work anywhere you want for anyone you want and I will protect you."
Dixon remembered that Fox did not give up on Hines even after the powerful Jimmy Petrillo had told Hines he was free. Shortly after his emancipation,  Hines took a band into New York's Apollo Theater. Fox immediately procured an injunction through his New York lawyers and tied up the band's weekly salary. When Petrillo got the news he called Jack Shiffman, the manager of the Apollo and told him, "If you don't release the band's payroll, your show will not go on tonight!" Jack Schiffman immediately responded by releasing the payroll.
The Grand Terrace (Currently Meyers Hardware Ace)
The Grand Terrace (Currently Meyers Hardware Ace)

Fox subsequently enticed Earl Hines to return to Chicago and open at his New Grand Terrace, which was locatedin the Old Sunset Building on the southwest corner of 35th and Calumet. [The original Grand Terrace which was located at 3955 South Parkway (now King Drive)  had been reconverted go to a theater and named the Park. It had been known as the Peerless Theater from October 1917 to December 1928.] Earl, the freedman, was now brighter in the ways of business and insisted that Fox put the band's four week's salary up in advance and place it in escrow with a third party. Fox agreed and the band opened. Fox then got an injunction to tie up the money he had placed in escrow.  Since Fox owned this plantation,  a call from Petrillo did not release the money. This time it was necessary for Petrillo to take Fox to court. The judge rendered a decision in Hines' favor. Hines was "free at last!"

Excerpt from "An Autobiography of Black Jazz" by Dempsey J. Travis

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Monday, March 10, 2014

"Sweet Nancy" Wilson Love Affair With Chicago!

Sutherland Apartments at 47th & Drexel formerly Sutherland Hotel which housed the Sutherland Show Lounge.
Sutherland Apartments at 4659 South Drexel Blvd. formerly Sutherland Hotel
which housed the Sutherland Show Lounge.
"In 1954 when I graduated from high school I was seventeen years old and an experienced entertainer; I had been working weekends in nightclubs and earning fifteen to twenty dollars a gig. I traveled with a band called the Sultans of  Swing, headed by a fellow named Rolly Rudolph. We went as far south as Cincinnati and as far west as Fort Wayne, Indiana. I took my younger brother Michael along as my chaperone.

I worked in Chicago for the first time in 1956 with Rusty Bryant's band. Rusty was an Ohio boy who became popular back home playing tunes like "Castle Rock" and "Night Train". We were booked into the Crown Propeller Lounge on East 63rd Street. Paula Grier also worked there, along with a shake-dancer and a couple of other entertainers.  The owner of the lounge insisted that when the girls finished their numbers on the raised stage behind the bar; they go out front to the bar and sit and drink with the customers. Paula told me the girls always did that. I didn't.  After I had been working there a couple of nights the owner came up to me and told me to go and sit on a bar stool. I said I didn't care what the girls had always done. I told the owner I wouldn't do it; I had been hired by the band and the band paid me to sing and that was all I was going to do in the Propeller Lounge. That was the only really bad experience I had in Chicago.
My next memorable trip was to New York in 1959. I went there in search of fame and fortune with money I had saved from gigging.  I didn't think I was going to set the world on fire but I was confident that I could get some kind job. The first job I got was receptionist for a handbag manufacturer in the garment district in midtown Manhattan. Then I got a job as a Girl Friday at New York Institute of Technology,  where I didn't have to punch in until noon, so I could look for a singing gig in the evening.  I was lucky enough to get a job singing weekends at the Club Morocco in the Bronx. It was there that my friend Cannonball Adderley brought in John Levy to hear me sing one night. Levy managed Dakota Station, Joe Williams, George Shearing, Ramsey Lewis and of course Adderley himself. Levy liked what he heard, and told me he would call me the next day, whcih he did. Subsequently he had me make demo records which he airmailed to Capitol Records in Los Angeles.  Within five weeks I was signed as a recording artist for Capitol, and there I met the late great Nat "King" Cole. We became fast friends.

I recorded my album for Capitol in December,  1959. It was "Like in Love", released April, 1960. Later that year I played the Sutherland Show Lounge in Chicago at 47th and Drexel Boulevard with Cannonball Adderley and Flip Wilson. Disc jockies Sid McCoy and Daddy-O Daylie picked up my album and gave it big play. Sid McCoy began to call me "Sweet Nancy". These two disc jockies really made it happen for me. Later a fellow in Los Angeles named Johnny Mangus, who was considered one of the most knowledgeable record spinners in the country,  picked up the Nancy beat on the West Coast.  I had national recognition. Mangus was almost embarrassing. He said, "Nancy is singularly the most important singer of the decade. She can lift a song off the printed page and groove it to her own identity.  She has broken a sound barrier and made a success of pure talent."
My love affair with Chicago started at the Sutherland Show Lounge-- I consider that the foundation for what's happening for me today, nationally and internationally.  It's a love affair that's been going on for over twenty years. After the Sutherland Lounge there were Mr. Kelly's, the Palmer House and later the Blue Max. Currently it's Rick Cafe. I've also done concerts at the Civic Opera House, the Arie Crown Theater and the Auditorium Theater. Of the large houses,  I think that the acoustics and the sound system at the Auditorium are close to perfection as anything you will find. I regret I cannot say the same thing for the Arie Crown.

Chicago is my number one city. Sales were broken here for my first album and this town still leads the country,  as it has for twenty years, in sales of my records.  I don't want to sound like the Chicago Chamber of Commerce,  but I had to tell it like it is. Chicago has been wonderful.  It's just great."

An excerpt of an interview with Nancy Wilson by Dempsey J. Travis, author of "An Autobiography of Black Jazz"

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sammy Davis Jr. at Roberts Show Club

Roberts Show Club 6222 South King Drive Photo Credit: Herman Roberts
Roberts Show Club 6222 South King Drive Photo Credit: Herman Roberts
"Roberts Show Club" from An Autobiography of Black Jazz by Dempsey J. Travis
"In August, 1959, Dick Gregory called Roberts Show Club the biggest Negro-owned nightclub in America. All the top Negro acts played Roberts: Sarah Vaughan,  Count Basie, Sammy Davis, Jr., Billy Eckstine,  Nipsey Russell and Dinah Washington.  Red Saunders directed the house band. There was an eight-girl chorus line and more than one thousand seats for people who liked to be entertained in this spacious, well-appointed club. Gregory said, "When I stood on that electrically - powered stage and introduced the acts and gave the coming attractions,  I felt like a top Negro act too."
The power behind Roberts Show Club was Herman Roberts, an energetic entrepreneur who found that owning fifty-five taxicabs did not occupy enough of his time. He opened the Lucky Spot, a small nightclub on 605 East 71st Street. Later when he decided to sponsor a seven-girl social club he changed the name of the Lucky Spot to The Roberettes. The members of the club brought their friends there on Friday and Saturday nights, and business thrived. Herman Roberts owned a garage at 6222 South Parkway which was too small for his fleet of cabs, so he moved the cabs to a larger garage at 610 East 61st Street and remodeled the South Parkway garage into a dance hall. People had so much fun there they wanted to come every night. Roberts responded by improving the interior and naming the place Roberts Lounge and Liquor. He told me at the time he never intended to own a nightclub. He had intended only to provide a place for the members of the Roberettes Social Club to bring their friends to drink, dance, and listen to a small band. Then out of the clear blue sky people began providing their own entertainment. One person would get up and sing with the band and another would do a tap solo and it became obvious to Roberts that there was a need for low budget entertainment for young middle-class South Siders."

"In 1959 Herman Roberts booked his friend Sammy Davis Jr. into the club for five nights at three thousand dollars a night, and additional charges for the large band that traveled with Davis. Sammy attracted  a predominantly white audience every evening for the first show. All seats down front were occupied by white people. Herman Roberts told me on the second evening one of his regular customers came up to him and said, "Hey, man I thought you said Sammy was coming out here to work for his people?"
Roberts retorted, "Have you forgotten that Sammy turned Jewish a few years ago?"
Sammy Davis Jr. drew large crowds because he was the number one entertainer in America and his religious persuasion was irrelevant. "

New Beginnings Church Chicago is currently at the location of 6220 South King Drive.

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