It was our good friend Anna Jacyszyn’s penultimate night singing at the newly renovated Ritz-Carlton 2nd floor jazz bar, so we went by last night to hear her. Little had we realized, the band is once again playing in their old haunt on the second floor that has been undergoing renovation for at least a few months (6 or more it seems). The bar was originally scheduled to reopen much earlier than now, but the extension of renovation time seemed to coincide with reports of billowing black smoke from the 2nd floor windows of the hotel around the original finish date. So until just a week and a half ago, the band had been performing in the lobby lounge, which we understand was not as inspiring a performance venue for them.
Anyway the new decoration looks good, the lounge is much more cozy now with a new wooden-slat ceiling and curtains defining the space; now we understand why the feng shui just didn’t feel right before. It was just too wide open and huge of a room. Also the cigar humidor has been moved from the center of attention to a far corner of the bar, giving the room one more spot to view the band without massive pillars blocking one’s view.
They’ve done an excellent job also with the stage and sound system; the stage has inlaid monitor speakers hidden in it, and the main speakers are hidden in the ceiling above the stage. That and some new sound equipment have improved the room sound a lot.
We’d recommend heading down there tonight to show some support for Anna on her final show there and to check out the new look.
The Portman lounge post-Anna?
After Anna J leaves us once again for her native Canada, what will Danny Woody and the boys do? The boys, of course, being Eric Harper on bass and Tom Finlay on piano. According to Danny, they’ll play as a trio through August, adding horn players occasionally to change up the sound a bit. Then a new vocalist will join them come September. Stay tuned for details.