Lots of good things have been happening in the Gaslight District lately, especially in the eats department, with Clifton Natural Foods, Marrakech Moroccan Cafe & Grill, and Los Potrillos recently opening. Now there’s more good news: China Kitchen is back. Located at 323 Ludlow Avenue, China Kitchen has been a fixture in Clifton since forever. It looks different now – sleeker, shinier, more modern. With the new look, a long counter, and more places to sit, they’ll probably have more people dining in while the restaurant again does a bustling carry-out business.
Hours are Monday to Friday 11am to 10pm, Saturday noon to 10 pm, and Sunday closed; the phone number is 513.221.5333, and the fax number is 513.221.5338. Prices are still reasonable, and – as you can surmise from the bottom photograph here – service is still as friendly as ever. In that photo you’ll see the master minds behind the operation teaching their mother the ropes. Jessie, Martin, and Jayden, welcome to the neighborhood!
It’s getting to be that time of the year when everyone sits at home and gets cabin fever. Here’s a close, convenient, and cheap alternative: on Monday nights from 7 to 10pm the Ron Enyard Quartet performs at Om Eco Cafe, located at 329 Ludlow Ave. There’s no cover charge, and the intimate setting is perfect for jazz. (I’ll sneak in here that Om Eco now serves alcohol.)
The vocalist is David Tarbell, whose delivery owes much to Chet Baker and other male vocalists from the 50s and 60s who epitomized a “cool” style now associated with a classic period in jazz history. Drummer and band leader Ron Enyard could easily rest on his laurels – he’s played with Roland Kirk, Bobby Miller, Paul Plummer, and everyone who performed at Kaldi’s during an eight-year stint there – but he keeps coming up with new ideas, and this particular project is both nostalgic and fresh. Here are a couple videos of the quartet that performs for free every Monday at Om Eco Cafe.
Myra’s is still going—one day a week for now—as a “community-supported restaurant” (CSR). If you are used to belonging to a CSR, and getting your box of produce every week, this is similar; think of Myra’s as part of your weekly shopping. Look at Myra’s Facebook page Monday night for that week’s offerings. Order by Friday 9am, pick up on Sundays from 10am to 5pm.
Special requests are possible and encouraged. Check the Facebook page again on Sunday—even if you haven’t ordered, Myra’s has extra goodies available!
Joan Shelley is a roots musician I first saw singing duets with Daniel Martin Moore at an Emery Theatre benefit. Their voices blended together beautifully and were strong enough individually that I was eager to hear what these musicians, both from Kentucky, sounded like on their own. This week the Joan Shelley album Electric Ursa is being released and she’s going to be do an instore at Shake It Records on Thursday (Oct 2) at 6pm. The event promises an opportunity to hear this musician whose new album just got a good writeup in Pitchfork in an intimate setting and pick up her new CD.
I have a video I want to share of Joan singing a track from her new album, but first I want to backtrack to last weekend, when some amazing music took place in Cincinnati. Of course MidPoint delivered, but for me the most mindblowing concert I saw that weekend (or for that matter for many a year) was the Zakir Hussain performance at the Aronoff. Although I didn’t know what the music was going to sound like that evening, I had a hunch that I was going to be blown away. I wasn’t prepared, however, for this kind of intensity. The smaller Aronoff auditorium (very intimate, great acoustics) was packed, and most of the crowd was Indian. There was a feeling, when the three musicians walked out on the stage and talked to the audience it felt like a homecoming, a reconnection between old friends. That already gave the event a good vibe – and then the band began to play.
Playing tabla, Zakir sat in the middle of the elevated stage, flanked on one side by the violinist Kumaresh Rajagopalan and on the other by the veena player Jayanthi Kumaresh. Virtuosity was displayed by all three musicians, along with the deep expressions of a music that’s spiritual at the same time that it’s quite visceral, as funky in its own way as a James Brown record. And bluesy. Between sets, when I mentioned the superb playing of Jayanthi Kumaresh on veena, Ron Esposito nodded and said, “What’s up with that Mississippi Delta shit?’ Exactly, I thought.
And it only got bluesier. During the second set there were extended solo performances passed back and forth between the violinist and the veena player, and what I heard Jayanthi was some of the dirtiest, most get-down blues I ever heard, without ever resorting to a direct quote or mimic-ization of any old Paramount 78s. Amazing. I haven’t seen Mick Taylor yet, but I have seen Jayanthi Kumaresh. Also, I’ve never attended a concert where an audience was more tuned into the music. For all its solemnity, Indian music involves a lot of tomfoolery, and every time a music made a musical joke the audience laughed (and sometimes burst into spontaneous uncued applause).
I don’t have any footage of that show (wish I did), but I can share a couple highlights from MidPoint. Here’s “The Wrecking Ball” by the superb Cincinnati band The Ready Stance from late Saturday afternoon:
Another highlight (this from later in the night came from the Raveonettes:
And here’s a quick blast of white noise, again from the Raveonettes:
Finally, here’s the title track from Joan Shelley’s new album, Electric Ursa. See you Thursday!