When I first arrived in Buenos Aires, it was very different than New York City. And yet there was something oddly familiar about it. There are cafes on every corner, a theater district, late night clubs, live entertainment, and bars. Some venues are laid back and easy, while others are high-energy and frenzied. And, amidst all the tango, salsa, rock, and cumbia, they also have jazz.
In an ongoing series about the nightlife in Buenos Aires, I decided to begin with Jazz Voyeur. Nestled in the upscale neighborhood of Recoleta, this intimate space is located on the lower level of the Meliá Hotel, located at Posadas 1557, between Callao and Ayacucho.
Jazz Voyeur a serene step away from the hustle and bustle of standard nightlife in this city, and that’s what makes it such a great place to escape. After all, everyone needs a little time to wind down from the excitement, right?
The minute you enter the venue, you’ll find yourself in a small club akin to something you might expect in NYC’s East Village. It is posh, however, and a crowd to match: everyone dressed for a night on the town. But it has a casual feel to it too, marked by the exposed brick walls, and the stage at the far end of the room. It is large enough to accommodate a band of five comfortably, or maybe a few more if they were packed a bit tighter.
After reviewing the schedule, Stefani and I made reservations for “Blossom In Swing”, a show highlighting the third solo album by Ludmila Fernándeza; with arrangements and musical direction by Rodrigo Agudelo.
The jazz ensemble consisted of drums, piano, bass, and two guitarists. Along with lead singer Ludmila, the talented group was tight, playing mostly light and easy jazz, with songs like You Go To My Head. For me, I thought they were very good, my only criticism that her (Ludmila) microphone was dialed down too low. She has a lovely voice, but it is light and thus needed more volume.
Early reviewers noted that
“After a journey of vast experimentation and great enrichment of her style, the singer returns to translate, with her personal sound and interpretation, a deep and mature material.” They go on to note that Rodrigo Agudelo manages to retain the traditional of the works, while also interpreting it into something more modern and contemporary.
ArgeJazz points out that “On her third solo album, Ludmila Fernández opts for a repertoire of classics from different eras. And he does it with creativity and good taste, giving a personal look at the music of Cole Porter, Dizzie Gillespie or Charlie Parker. Add to the set two songs by the singer, a blues and a ballad, which show their more than interesting compositional facet.”
The club isn’t just about music, however. This is a dinner show. And a good one at that, with the food prepared at the Meliá hotel restaurant upstairs. You can enjoy a simple plate or a full meal. They served things as simple as a burger and fries. Cocktails and a wide selection of wines are available too. We dined on well-prepared fresh pink salmon, with mixed vegetables, and washed it down with a superb Malbec wine.
Argentina is best known for its Malbec, but they did also win the best Cabernet in 2018. The venue additionally has a wide variety of whites on the menu, if that’s your preference.
The food here is delicious, and was noticeably a few steps up from the moderate (and very good) cafes found all over town.
The band played two sets of about 45 minutes each, with Ludmila delighting the crowd in both Spanish and English.
I highly recommend this venue. I personally choose it for a date night, looking for something relaxing and intimate, with an air of sophistication — something outside the everyday fare. And, it didn’t disappoint. We ate well, drank well, and the beautiful music and low lighting set the perfect ambiance. Friends, or a group of friends, would also love this spot, as a place to hang and just share a wonderful experience together.
Buenos Aires, like an oyster, has many pearls. I’ll be searching and revealing more as I find them over the city during the coming weeks. Stay tuned to New Theory, a thumb on the pulse of travel and nightlife.
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