Happy Birthday, Jazid
Since 1996, it's been all about the music "every damn night" at 1342 Washington Ave., the home of Jazid. This unwavering ethos has attracted a loyal following to the venue, turning into South Beach's longest-running nightclub. For some perspective: It has survived six Miami Beach mayors, four presidential elections, and a 400 percent rise in gasoline prices. This weekend, the club's extended family will celebrate its 12-year anniversary with a two-day event featuring recurring house bands such as the Spam Allstars, Suenalo Sound System, and Locos por Juana, as well as its resident DJs. (Last year, one day wasn't enough to contain the crowds, so this time the club had to double up.)
Under original owners Cesare Mazzoli and Michelle McKinnon, Jazid got its start as a loungy jazz club with a dash of soul and R&B. Over the years, and under current owner Daniel Wohlstein, it has kept the intimate, hassle-free vibe but expanded to a more global, eclectic sound.
"We provide a show that no one else provides, except maybe Van Dyke's," says Wohlstein. "For free, you can see live music at Jazid every night regardless if there's one person or 100." Wohlstein, who boasts a background in real estate but also in DJing, purchased the club in early 2006. He has kept its jazz tradition alive but also caters to the Beach's younger crowds. "Jazz started losing some attention, so we decided to mix it with funk and cumbia to make it more danceable, moving towards the Latin funk idea," he explains. "Now the DJs and groups do some hip-hop, harder house, rare grooves, and reggae. What I've done is to try to bring back the old good and add some new promotion to it."
Meanwhile, the club's vibrant music goes hand in hand with its atmosphere. The colorful art of local artist LEBO adorns the inside walls, while the dim lights and low ceilings create a close-knit setting. "It's an amazing place to play music — our favorite place to play in Miami," says Itagui, lead singer of Locos por Juana, whose members also hold a weekly Wednesday residency as their side project Xperimento. "It's a close vibe, like CBGB's — inspiring. We love to play here." Recently even Prince showed up at the club twice in one week, the second time jamming out on guitar with Suenalo Sound System before asking for a copy of the band's CD.
"People like to go to a place where they can be themselves. Here you don't have to flash money to get through the door; you can hang out for free and wear what you want," says the club's general manager, Heather Sheffy. "But if there's a bad band or DJ, Daniel [Wohlstein] calls me Simon from American Idol because I'll let them know!"
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