Kansas City Connection: a place for good jazz, eats; Starlight lets it go
Since the days of Charlie Parker and Count Basie, Kansas City has enjoyed a reputation as a jazz town. But these days one of the most reliable venues to see different jazz bands every night isn’t a nightclub — it’s the restaurant and lounge of a swank hotel on the Country Club Plaza.
Chaz on the Plaza, located within the Raphael Hotel at 325 Ward Parkway, is an upscale restaurant and bar that routinely hosts Kansas City’s finest working jazz musicians for evening concerts and weekend jazz brunches. The granite surfaces, modern furniture and glass panels create a formal but inviting ambiance, and a large-scale mural featuring photographs of Plaza landmarks creates a strong sense of local identity.
Executive Chef Charles d’Ablaing and Sous Chef Ian Denney have created a menu that combines French culinary tradition with regional specialties such as beef tenderloin and a Kansas City Strip Steak. The cocktail menu is befitting of a jazz club, with specialties including the Hazy Hayden (Basil Hayden bourbon, cinnamon simple syrup and sassafras, in a smoke-filled glass), the KC Manhattan (made with Rieger whiskey) and a peach and basil Moscow Mule.
Dining specials include Saturday and Sunday brunch, a Sunday prime rib special, multi-course dinners for two on Tuesdays for $90 a couple, and a two-course dinner paired with wine or a cocktail on Thursdays for $40 per person. A happy hour running from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday features drink specials and half-prize appetizers.
As for live music, upcoming performers include the Mengel Brothers, a cello and viola duo that performs every Sunday evening; the jazz violin and viola of Kansas City Symphony performer Marvin Gruenbaum along with jazz pianist Roger Wilder (6 p.m. Aug. 12); jazz singer Megan Birdsall (7 p.m. Aug. 14); mambo group Miguel DeLeon Carte Blanc 5 (4 to 7 p.m. Aug. 15); and the jazz and Bossa Nova-inspired Stan Kessler Duo (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 16). And that’s just the next week.
For a full menu of Chaz on the Plaza, to see a list of upcoming performers or to learn more about the Raphael Hotel, visit raphaelkc.com/chazontheplaza.
An exciting variety of concerts are taking place in Kansas City this week. Tony Award-singer and actress Idina Menzel performs at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Starlight Theatre. Part of the cast of “Rent” and “Wicked,” Menzel’s most recent star turn came in the form of Elsa in the Disney hit “Frozen,” which featured the hit single “Let It Go.” Tickets are $25 and up at kcstarlight.com.
The next night, Kentucky rockers My Morning Jacket will play a 7:30 p.m. set at Starlight featuring opening group Hippo Campus. MMJ is known for its long sets and energetic performances, and fans of the group can expect to get their money’s worth for the $45 ticket price.
On Friday night at the Folly Theater, folk singer and songwriter Gillian Welch for an 8 p.m. set. Welch and her songwriting partner David Rawlings tour and release albums sparingly, and their most recent effort was 2011’s sparse, reflective “The Harrow & the Harvest.” Tickets to the show are $28 at follytheater.org.
Hot off his summer release, “Wildheart,” pop and R&B artist Miguel will perform next Sunday, Aug. 16 at Arvest Bank at Midland Theatre for an 8 p.m. show with opener Dorothy. Miguel’s music is a hybrid of styles and should be an electrifying outing. Tickets are $36.50 at midlandkc.com.
‘KC Ale Trail’
Kansas City’s craft brewing renaissance and the opening of several new breweries has been author Pete Dulin’s subject of research for the past couple of years, and his new book “KC Ale Trail” takes a tour of 23 modern breweries in the Kansas City area and its surroundings.
Dulin will be at the Kansas City Library’s Central Branch at 6 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the local beer scene with representatives from Torn Label and Big Rip breweries, as well as Boulevard creative director Payton Kelly and Bier Station owner John Couture. Visit kclibrary.org to RSVP for this free event.
— Lucas Wetzel is a writer and editor from Kansas City, Mo. Know of an upcoming event in Kansas City you’d like to see featured in Kansas City Connection? Email us about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.