Right Room, Wrong Time | Letters | Chicago Reader

Right Room, Wrong Time 

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Neil Tesser's Critic's Choice of Dr. Lonnie Smith at Green Dolphin Street [May 7] contained inaccuracies and exaggerations which need to be corrected.

Though absolutely accurate about the amazing talents of Dr. Lonnie, his descriptions of the acoustics are wrong and the listening experience distorted. Green Dolphin Street presents live music seven nights a week. Neil Tesser has not spent enough time at G.D.S. to generalize about "the listening experience." First of all, Sunday and Monday for no cover we present acoustic jazz with minimal amplification in our front lounge, dining room, or this time of year on our patio. Though we have a large, rectangular music room with a high ceiling, there is no echo! If you clap your hand in the music room when it is empty you will hear no echo. In August of 1996 Green Dolphin Street installed an acoustic ceiling covering the stage and the entire music room. In a Chicago Tribune review of the Bill Porter-Rich Fudoli Quintet jazz critic Howard Reich wrote the following: "The result is an infinitely better room. Though the sound is still occasionally a bit too reverberant, Green Dolphin Street can hold its own against most of Chicago's jazz clubs." Our recent addition of Barcus-Berry piano microphones has also improved audio quality. Mr. Tesser's statement that Green Dolphin Street provides one of the worst listening experiences in Chicago is a distortion and exaggeration. Neil Tesser attended a performance of William Russo's Chicago Jazz Ensemble that sounded somewhere between good and elegant. Neil has given Green Dolphin Street Critic's Choice in the past for Brad Williams & the 21st Century Review and Freddy Cole without mention of echo or one of the worst listening experiences. Is that because he was being kind, I think not, critics pride themselves on being brutally honest.

Mr. Tesser's generalization about patrons that are noisy and management that does not care contains some truth and some exaggeration. People who go to live music venues, who are loud and pay no attention to the music are an ugly fact of life I've encountered in various degrees at every live-music alcohol-serving nightclub excluding the Jazz Showcase. Much like G.D.S. these same venues have great nights where the crowd is into it and the place is rockin'. Freddy Cole has performed at Green Dolphin Street three times. Signs were posted stating that this is a listening concert, please respect the artist and the audience. G.D.S. books Hammond B-3 organ groups because they sound good in our room.

We offer great jazz and R & B at the lowest possible cover. If you have a legitimate complaint we will refund your cover.

Obviously Neil's last time at Green Dolphin Street was extremely aggravating, for that we are sorry. Like any venue we have bad nights, but the bad are far outweighed by the good. Alejo Poveda, who played percussion with Dr. Lonnie Smith, said the crowd was into it, the best he has played for at G.D.S. It would have been even better if some of you hadn't been scared off by Neil Tesser's "Critic's Choice."

Dave Freeman

Music Director

Green Dolphin Street

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