Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Return of Schwartz's Point

In the heart of the city, near the northern end of a neighborhood, and at a peculiar crossroads, there was this great little jazz club.

It's back.

I met Ed Moss back in 2011. He was the kind of person who’s story you want to share. Over the course of a few weeks, I interviewed him, photographed him, and shared conversation. At the end of our time spent together, I produced a multimedia piece for City Beat, the publication that I was earning college internship credit from at the time. His voice answered questions, speaking passionately about his little jazz club and the operation he was running. In the background, a track from his Society Jazz Orchestra played. All that audio ran over grainy black-and-white photographs I had made in the dimly lit club. Titled “The Secret at Schwartz’s Point,” that slideshow has been lost to time. It wouldn’t even play properly on most modern smartphones now anyways. Nevertheless, I fondly remembered the brief amount of time I spent with Ed. Always wished I had gone back at least once more and forked over a few bucks for his homemade buffet, a couple of beers, and the chance to hear some music from whoever happened to stop by that night at the peculiar, stone-clad building which juts into the intersection. 

- Ed Moss and the Society Jazz Orchestra in 2011.

Unfortunately, I never found the time. 

A local legend, Ed passed away suddenly in September 2016. I found out from his daughter Zarleen. A fundraiser was set up to help cover the costs of a funeral and to settle some bills. After all was said and done, Zarleen looked into reopening the under-the-radar, little known, but greatly loved club that her father had built a reputation around. 

I’m happy to report that she was successful. 

On September 22, 2017, I got to visit Schwartz’s Point once again. True to form, the place seems closed from the outside and the delicate mailbox style letters reading “jazz club” still remain, clinging to the door out front. Inside, the place felt the same as I had know it (albeit only briefly), but you can tell there’s been quite a few upgrades and a thorough cleaning. I brought my buddy Bob along with me for the club’s preview night. After making some photographs, I sipped beer and he sipped whiskey while we sat at a table in the back and listened to the Lou Lausche Trio. I don’t understand jazz as well as Bob, who did his best to explain the intricacies to me between breaks, but I can certainly appreciate hearing talented musicians in a wonderfully unique space. The amazing collection of rugs still adorn the walls right along with the western motif tapestries that may seem out of place for the Midwest, but feel perfectly normal, almost comforting, at Schwartz’s Point. I got to speak with Zarleen for a bit, who was clearly proud to be carrying on her father’s legacy while the crowd seemed to enjoy having the space return to life. The secret of Schwartz’s Point had been reborn for one one night, but now it's also back for good. 

Starting today, in fact. 

- Zarleen.

The Grand Re-Opening weekend will take place October 5-7 and features a slew of diverse performances, signature drinks, and a special guest from the East Coast. Check out the club’s website and calendar for a full list of future events.

It's also highly recommended that you make a reservation.

As we were leaving the preview night, my friend Bob said to me: “I always wanted to make it to Schwartz’s Point one day. Then one day never came.” 

If you were one of the many that always wanted to go and never found the time, maybe never heard about the club until it was closed, or you're just learning about it now, well, here's your chance. Go check out the secret that is Schwartz’s Point and help keep a proud tradition going. 

- At the corner of Vine and W. McMicken. 

A collection of photos from September 22, 2017, just over a year since Ed's passing:

In Memory of Ed Moss:

- Ed Moss at a table in his club, 2011.