by W. Kim Heron
Bert's Marketplace, which kick-started the jazz jam scene in Detroit nearly a decade ago, is pulling back from two nights to one. Bill Meyer, who's been the pianist throughout the sessions, sent us an e-mail Tuesday (Nov. 25), saying that an improved economy might help bring Wednesday's back. We don't have to put on our Sherlock Holmes cap to surmise that the cover charge instituted some months ago (even at a modest $3), plus the worsening economy, amounted to a one-two punch to the Wednesdays, which never had built as strong a following as the original Thursday night sessions.
Meanwhile, Meyer says he's hoping that fans will rally to keep the Thursday nights hopping in Eastern Market. Unlike the Wednesdays, Thursda nights have singer-hosts in addition to the house band, and in the coming weeks, they'll be Armond Jackson (Dec. 4), Chelly K (Dec. 11) and Martha Reeves (Dec. 18). (Insert political witticism here.)
The house band, the SBH Trio, by the way, includes (when they're not on the road) longtime Motown drummer Spider Webb (a Funk Brother who was there for the Temptations' psychedelic era) and Ralphe Armstrong (a veteran of the Frank Zappa band, Mahavishnu Orchestra and others).
Bert's Marketplace is at 2727 Russell Street, in Eastern Market. Call 313-567-2030 for info. The $3 cover, we note, doesn't kick in until 8:30 p.m. and gets suspended for the last hour before closing. (Full disclosure: Yours truly sometimes joins in with his bongos there.)