Maccabees At Midtown and Bert’s Jazz Room

The new Detroit Jazz Magazine hosted a music event at Maccabees At Midtown in Detroit on May 31, 2013. The musicians for the event were both very good so I decided to give it a try. The place was an unexpected good surprise although it was crowded. It used to be a diner and had been recently restored. It has a bronzed coffered ceiling. The lamp shades over the lamps near the bar had metal cut outs do lords and ladies on the shades. There were other nice touches that raised it way above its former diner status. The food the servers carried past me during the evening looked fantastic.

The musicians for the event were Gerard Gibbs(keys) and Brandon Williams(dms). Both are so very good and worked well with each other. Gerard is leaving for Australia on Sunday to tour with James Carter(sax) and Leonard Moon(dms). I hope they have a great tour.

They put together a good evening of music. This bar is not really set up for music so I will say those that came to have conversation and drinks were disappointed. Gerard played the theme song from “The Flintstones.” He does that one frequently. Since it not expected, people have a look of concentration on their faces trying to figure out where they have heard it before.


After the show, I had a nice conversation with a young German tourist on an architectural tour of the Detroit area. I mentioned my local favorite Frank Lloyd Home, the Turkel House built in 1955, and showed him the details on my phone. I gave him the directions and he is going to try to see it. I also tried to explain to him that in this country, servers get far less than the minimum wage because the lawmakers believe that the pay plus tips will equal minimum wage. I told him how much they make and he was shocked. He said, “That’s nothing!” He works at a bar in Germany and doing the Euro/Dollar conversion we figured out that he made about thirteen dollars and the tipping is much smaller.

I left and went to Bert’s Jazz Room. I thought this was the last week for the John Douglas Quartet and they would be replaces by Someone else next week. He did announce that the John Douglas Quartet will be staying for a while. It is the perfect end to an evening.

The quartet can change each week because of conflict ing gigs. This week the quartet was John Douglas(tpt), Butter Hawkins(dms), Greg Cook(bass) and Mike Malis(keys). The energy was really good this week. The timbre of the trumpet ws so penetrating and lovely this evening. I like the way John tends to play jazz standards. It’s not easy listening but it is familiar and soothing …ear comfort food.

After the set, I said hello and goodbye to several musicians and left for home feeling uplifted.

I have added a picture of the Turkel House in Detroit which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.


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