The soft, rhythmic brush on the snare drum counters the uneven clatter of plates, silverware and glasses and an energetic trumpet solo rises over the melody of laughter and conversation.It’s Saturday Night Jazz at Mystic Cafe in Lewiston and the restaurant has drawn a crowd that’s hungry for more than a tasty meal. Patrons vie for tables near the makeshift stage, clapping after solos and between bites of grilled meat and sips of whatever is on tap.
Live jazz has been a regular feature at Mystic Cafe since its beginning. It began as a weekly event and moved to a monthly event last summer, generally occurring on the last Saturday of the month — though that can vary. The change has served to focus the audience, said Dave Bjur, who coordinates musicians for the event.
“We have very good nights when we do it,” Bjur said. “We’ve had a pretty consistent energy to it.”
The group that plays is drawn from a pool of jazz musicians in the area, with whom Bjur, a professional bassist and jazz bass instructor at the University of Idaho, is connected. Many of them are faculty at the UI or Washington State University, but there are also others in the community and wider region.
“One of the fun things about jazz is that it’s a very flexible genre,” Bjur said.
That means different groupings of these musicians can deliver consistently good music to those who’ve gathered to hear it. The songs change, the people change, the instruments change, but the genre doesn’t.
“It’s always jazz,” Bjur said, adding the audience will notice familiar faces over time.
If you plan to come, it’s a good idea to get table reservations, said Sara Wilson, manager at Mystic Cafe. The music typically runs from 8 to 10 p.m., and tables are almost always full when the music starts.
Live jazz is also often featured at Lindsay Creek Vineyards in Lewiston at their Second Saturday events. For those looking for live jazz on the Palouse, Rico’s Pub in Pullman alternates jazz and blues beginning at 9 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Bucer’s in Moscow features open jazz band, backed by a host band, on Thursday nights, with live music on Friday and Saturday nights that sometimes includes jazz.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Jazz at the Mystic
WHEN: 8 p.m. March 25 and April 22
WHERE: Mystic Cafe, Lewiston