Velvet Lounge

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The Velvet Lounge is a long-standing nightclub located in Chicago's South Loop neighborhood.[1] Originally a jazz club, hundreds of established modern jazz musicians have played there, leading to it being known at one time as the "dusty epicenter of Midwest's free form jazz scene.[2] It was originally located at 2128 1/2 S. Indiana Ave., but moved to 67 E. Cermak when the original building was scheduled for demolition. It now features mostly DJs and comedy.


The club was owned by jazz saxophonist Fred Anderson[3] from 1983 until his death in 2010. Many acclaimed albums were recorded at the club, including a series of live recordings featuring Anderson himself, on the Delmark label, and 1998's Live at the Velvet Lounge with Anderson, Peter Kowald and Hamid Drake. Many prominent musicians played the Velvet Lounge early in their careers, particularly in Anderson's famous Sunday-night jam sessions.[4] Over the years, the sessions have been hosted by various prominent Chicago musicians. The classic lineup of the early-mid 1990s featured trumpeter Billy Brimfield, saxophonist Art Taylor, pianist Jim Baker, bassist Mike Cristol, and drummer Gerald Donovan. Since the early 1990s, the "Velvet Graduates" who have come up through the scene include tenor saxophonist David Boykin, baritone saxophonist Aaron Getsug, alto saxophonist Greg Ward II, bassist Karl E. H. Seigfried, and drummer Isaiah Spencer.

After Anderson's death, the club was purchased by a neighboring business. They replaced the jazz shows with DJs playing mostly hip hop music and comedians.


  1. ^ Datcher, Mary L. (May 2016). "Fair or Foul: Chicago's Black Nightlife Owners Speak Out". Chicago Defender. Retrieved 13 May 2017. 
  2. ^ Ruby, Jeff (October 2001). The Official Chicago Bar Guide. Buckingham Books. ISBN 0963889311. 
  3. ^ Loehrke, Mark (June 29, 2010). "Chicago Says Goodbye to Velvet Lounge Owner and Jazz Icon Fred Anderson". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 13 May 2017. 
  4. ^ Margasak, Peter (April 26, 2017). "Trumpeter Jaimie Branch finally spreads her wings". The Chicago Reader. Retrieved 13 May 2017. 

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