Friday, July 16, 2010

Jazz at Basil, Every Thursday

Wilmington is a world-class jazz town -- the annual Clifford Brown Jazz Festival downtown is evidence of that. In theory, we should be able to go out on any given night and catch some great live jazz. In reality, Thursday night is the night to experience it in Wilmington, at Basil at 422 Delaware Ave. Basil is an atmospheric little bistro inside the Sheraton Suites, with its own separate entrance. Look for the distinctive green awning to bypass entering through the hotel.

Jazz at Basil is an early night: the first set starts at 8:00 PM, and the bar closes at 10:00. The timing is good for a late dinner (Basil is a bistro serving traditional American fare--I saw lots of chicken wings and veggie burgers) or after dinner cocktails. The real draw, of course, is the music. Basil has a nice setup for jazz musicians, with a small stage that is well visible from the bar and much of the seating area in the restaurant.

On Thursday the 15th of July, the trio FVC was featured, and if this trio represents the sort of jazz Basil features every week, it's worth checking out any Thursday night. FVC, led by Philadelphia-based keyboardist Dennis Fortune, who is also a piano & jazz instructor at Wilmington's Christina Cultural Arts Center, started with an all-instrumental traditional jazz tunes with catchy beats and cool solos. Two singers were also featured: established jazz vocalist Barbara Yates, who knocked out standards such as "Misty" and "Blackbird," and up-and-comer Safia Davis, who brought a smooth, contemporary R&B styling to the set. Both vocalists fit seamlessly with the trio, each bringing her own style and edge to the set. A nice mixture of live jazz by some great regional artists.

Jazz at Basil has a $5 cover. Get there by 8:00 for a good spot--the place was filled up, except for the furthest tables, by 9:00.

For more:
Basil at Sheraton Suites
FVC Live at CDBaby

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