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Sutherland Jazz Lounge to Reopen for Open House Chicago

By Sam Cholke | October 16, 2014 5:28am
 The Sutherland Lounge will reopen as a museum space for Open House Chicago.
Sutherland during Open House
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HYDE PARK — The Chicago Blues Museum will bring out rare artifacts of they hey-day of jazz in Kenwood for Open House Chicago.

On Saturday and Sunday, the museum will have archival footage and memorabilia on display at the Sutherland Apartments for the annual weekend-long tour of architecture across the city.

The Sutherland at 4659 S. Drexel Blvd. was once home to the city’s hottest jazz club — and one of the rare venues were blacks and whites were both welcome to see acts like Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk.

“I remember that different musicians drew different types of crowds. Monk’s crowd probably was the most ‘way out’ group,” Artie Frazier, a former bartender at the Sutherland, told Charles Walton, a jazz drummer who chronicled the Sutherland for the Jazz Institute of Chicago. “People were coming long distances to see their favorite artist. They would arrange their vacations around the appearances of different attractions.”

Billy Strayhorn is rumored to have written the jazz standard “Take the A-Train” while staying in the building when the lounge was still open and Sutherland Hotel rented the rooms upstairs.

The former lounge will be open to the public once again from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the Open House event.

Other former venues in the neighborhood, including the Forum Assembly Hall at  324 E. 43rd St. and the Meyers Ace Hardware at 315 E. 35th St., which was once the Sunset Café hosting acts like Charlie Parker and Cab Calloway, will also be open for the weekend event. The hardware store will allow visitors to see the stage with its original artwork, which is normally off limits.

A full list of sites in Bronzeville and Hyde Park, visit openhousechicago.org.

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