DEMISE OF ANOTHER BALTIMORE JAZZ CLUB MOURNED
—by Ian Rashkin. If you never made it down to Bobby’s Jazz Club, unfortunately you’re not alone. But many of you did. To me it was one of the gems of the Baltimore jazz scene: a small corner walkup on an industrial block of Pigtown, down behind the Ravens’ stadium. Bobby Garland sold cigars and encouraged their consumption out on the spacious patio. Inside was a comfortable, laid-back bar that always made the night seem full and fun. For a time there was a dinner menu, but after a while that disappeared—maybe that was part of the reason for its ultimate demise—but it was very much about enjoying music and having a good time, not about selling expensive food and drinks.
And those of you who were there know that one of the best things was the people. From Bobby and his great staff, to the small but loyal crowd of patrons, you could always expect a room full of folks who knew and enjoyed what they were listening to. People talked and drank and had a good time—no stodgy, respectful silence here—but they were listening, and musicians always got feedback about their interpretations of songs the crowd knew and appreciation for new material.
I know it wasn’t a money-maker for Bobby—we all know it’s tough running a live music venue of any sort these days—but he put his heart into it, and it showed. You could tell, from his welcoming attitude to his huge jazz-themed mural on the outside wall, that that this was a place where jazz was at home and musicians were valued. Admittedly, I don’t get out to hear music all that often—certainly not as much as I’d like—but I still find it sad when a club like this disappears. Hopefully, its closing will be a reminder to me—and some of you—to get out more to see, listen, and enjoy live jazz. In the meantime, Bobby, we wish you well, hope to see you around, and we thank you for the years of running a great bar. We’ll miss it.
– Ian Rashkin