I have been on the road on the other side of the water for the last three weeks. From New York City to New Orleans and back via Memphis, Nashville and Detroit. Making music and also just some touring around. Got stuck in Detroit (sadly broke an axle on my 1964 Skylark
just outside Toledo.... so I got a tow truck to take me up to Detroit).
I toughed it out by booking myself into the fabulous newly renovated Book Cadillac hotel
and and spent 3 days wandering around the surreal dying city
checking out the amazing music scene. And I stumbled into the best Jazz bar in Detroit. Cliff Bell's.
I was attracted by the extraordinary exterior, so I found a well lit parking spot down the street, politely sneaked past the two crack cocaine deals going on in front of the ruined buildings nearby and entered a mecca of old world style and sophistication. I think I can honestly say Cliff Bell's is one of the most beautiful bars I have ever seen. And they mix a mean cocktail.
I had the luck to walk in on a faculty/student concert from the Wayne State University Jazz program. They still have great musicians in Detroit. The kids already had a sense of personal style and the courage to take chances and make great music.
So, next time you miss the turn-off for Paris and find yourself in the empty wilderness and crumbling skyscrapers that is downtown Detroit, you'll find yourself a welcoming home at Cliff Bell's.