Vernon’s Jazz Club: A Speakeasy for the Modern Age


Vernon’s Jazz Club, in the heart of Albuquerque’s the North Valley may seem like an unlikely place to experience jazz– it’s at least two thousand miles from New York, Chicago, and other music hubs associated with the uniquely American art form. And yet, those in the know realize that a stop on Route 66 in Albuquerque is to jazz what the legendary crossroads is to the blues–and Vernon’s is the place where magic and music intersect any night of the week.
Tucked into a corner of a somewhat ubiquitous New Mexican shopping center, Vernon’s Jazz Club looks rather mysterious but nondescript– hidden behind unmarked, darkly tinted glass. But just as the oyster contains the pearl, once inside this modern speakeasy, with its sparkling, black diamond walls and red velvet curtains you are lured into a lovely den of artisan cocktails, savory appetizers, intoxicating music, and an egalitarian entry fee to boot. Vernon’s is not a mirage–it’s the real McCoy. Vernon’s is a classic jazz club with old school values, for the 21st Century.

On any given night, you may bear witness to the sweat and tears of a hard-working Grammy-winner fresh from the road, or a young lion, looking to make a name for himself, or both. Vernon’s is as much a club as it is a proving ground. “Patrons can expect local, regional, and national jazz artists performing at their best in a club that is committed to presenting, preserving, and cultivating live jazz music in a very unique environment for New Mexico, says Tommy Gearhart, jazz crooner and music curator at Vernon’s. Gearhart performs Sundays at Vernon’s– quite possibly the only club in the state solely dedicated to jazz music. Local favorites like John Rangel and Cathy McGill pack the house, while international artists such as trumpeter Bobby Shew and saxophonist Doug Lawrence also play the Vernon’s stage to copious and eager audiences. Big name musicians just passing through on tour, as Duke Ellington and John Coltrane did a generation ago, will find Vernon’s to be a home away from home. Gearhart says there’s no other venue around that offers world-class performers in an intimate setting where they can truly to let their hair down. “Vernon’s gives the artists an authentic jazz club where they can present their art with dignity in a very hip and sophisticated environment, Gearhart adds.” “Vernon’s Jazz Club strives to be a cultural oasis for those thirsty for true beauty and art that is undoubtedly American, and you’ll be hard pressed to find anything like it in the Southwest.”


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