Beyu on Main Street

Funny thing about some places… every now and then,
we are fortunate enough to come upon a spot that feels like home.
Beyu Caffe is that kind of place.

As stated in my previous post, I need some Durham-style Southern comfort…jazz, great food, and good conversation.
I was already near downtown, so the only and most obvious choice to me was to keep straight on Main.
I hope you’ll do the same sometime soon. Because I could not have predicted the treat of Brian Miller on sax, Steve Haines on bass, Thomas E Taylor Jr on drums, or Kevin Van Sant on jazz guitar.
Let me tell you what this meant to a girl like me:
I grew up with jazz in a way most kids my age may not have.
You see, my father was a good bit older than my mom. He came into the world on the tail end of the generation that actually birthed jazz as we know it. He was there at the Savoy club in Harlem. He witnessed the phenomenon that was the dual stage, Louis Jordan and the ensemble that could do a wardrobe change in a set revolution – from top hats to spats, Fats Waller, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Lucky Millinder, Louis Armstrong and so, so many others.

The Savoy was open from 1926-1958. It was a place where people could mix on the dance floor. Now, all the hot name black performers could play and sing their heart out at the Cotton Club. But they couldn’t visit as patrons. Even at the Savoy, they were obligated to sit amongst themselves. But on the dance floor, music was king! It wasn’t the only spot in Harlem, but it was certainly one of the most memorable. The music never stopped. Home of the Lindy hop and ultimate swing…sigh! It was the kind of place my Dad told stories about. It was the kind of place a fidgety kid who spent most days trying to become airborne via somersaults, with an endless imagination, would listen to stories about. In short, I could never tire of hearing about Harlem or jazz.

Nevertheless, it wasn’t at my father’s feet that I fell in love with jazz itself. Jazz was just one of the forms of music so present in our family. He helped me discover great jazz. He taught me what was good jazz and not so great. I’d already determined the difference between a real set and something that sounded like a train wreck with too much “discord”. But it was in my teens that I really began a true adoration of the art form. It was in my twenties that it would either lullaby me to sleep or make my heart race.

So.

I needed a warm jazz hug. I got it.
These fellas played such searing music that people were coming in off the street.
Passersby would stop at the window and thumbs-up. You could feel the music clear through you.
There was an electric energy in that room. I haven’t seen people play so hard in quite some time.

Between that, and Chef Juan’s food, I’m here to tell you, it felt right at home.
I got the goat cheese quesadilla that was on the menu at the time… but I was most looking forward to that bread pudding…: ) and I was not disappointed.

The cool thing about music is that it is always changing, evolving … One day this group may be together, the next it may be a different one. Music both grows with us and takes us back to where we belong when we need. It can be a fuzzy blanket or a red-hot poker. But always, it is present.

Long live Jazz… and may all your best days be ahead, friends.

Happy Stompin!

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