Curiosity and country club envy initially inspired me to investigate the sign on Biscayne Boulevard and NE 100th Street: "Miami Shores Country Club
now open to the public, live jazz Thurs. Fri." I had been driving by the sign for months before I finally got around to checking it out, and boy am I glad I did.
Dressed in my best polyester, I blended right in as I grabbed a seat at the '50s-vintage long, oval-shaped bar. I've never been to Las Vegas, but this is how I would picture a bar in the Godfather era of the city --set on the picturesque 18-hole golf course, full of golfers and mafia looking guys and society ladies.
Miami jazz mainstay Mo Morgen, host of the club's twice-weekly jazz night, leads a colorful cast of talented local musicians through four sets of mostly standard jazz tunes. It makes for a captivating show for those on the near side of the bar, and a sophisticated conversation backdrop for those on the far side.
Morgen, owner of the now-defunct North Beach club MoJazz (and lower Manhattan's Jazz Mania before that) started the Shores gig in February 2009 as a Friday night duo with longtime percussionist pal Madafo. In December they started showcasing weekly "guest stars," and in February of this year they added the Thursday night jam sessions.
Last night Morgen, with his trademark soprano sax and smooth deep vocals, joined drummer Leo Riforgiato, pianist Jerry Mascaro, percussionist Robert Bass (Madafo was out to sea playing on a cruise), and most notably guitarist Ted McDermott for an evening of standards and jams. Bar patrons from all walks of life gathered in the oblong lounge, tapping their feet and bobbing their heads as Mo and Co. jammed through an impressive repertoire of classic jazz tunes. Though not as well attended as the usual Friday-night event, which is also fed by the club's weekly dinner dance in the dining room next door, the crowd this night was lively enough to make up for it.
Located just north of Biscayne Boulevard's MiMo district, and just south of the North Miami arts district, the Miami Shores Country Club
is a great spot to grab a few (reasonably priced) drinks and some great food. I was more than satisfied with the seared ahi tuna wrap, and very impressed with the bar's whiskey selection. The free finger food and tapas seemed to be a big draw as well.
Jazz is alive in Miami Shores. See you at the club.
Personal Bias: Love jazz, love history.
Random Detail: The padded bar edge is great for preventing carpal tunnel.
By The Way: Call before heading out Thursday nights in the summer, as the schedule may fluctuate somehwat