CHICAGO'S UPTOWN NEIGHBORHOOD
JAZZ – traditional, bebop, contemporary, improvisational –
played by such legendary figures as Von Freeman, Franz Jackson and Wilbur Campbell, as well as young lions Kurt Elling, Eric Alexander and Orbert Davis. All capture the broad spectrum of jazz from its root rhythms in New Orleans to New York avant-garde. Deep smoky jazz sounds fill the club in the early morning hours when soulful musicians continue to express their love of jazz by jamming ’til the early dawn.
The Green Mill is sophisticated informality, warm glowing atmosphere steeped in the heady sounds of the early ’30s and ’40s; it was actually patterned after Clark Monroe’s Uptown House in Harlem (as it was during the ’40s). Uniquely comfortable to all audiences from the sequined Saturday night date to the progressively dressed offbeat student, the magic of the Mill is that the audience commingles in its mutual respect for the music.
And, in the far corner, in all her alabaster glory, stands Ceres, Goddess of Harvest, rechristened Stella by Starlight by the house musicians. Stella was salvaged from the lower depths of the Green Mill, dusted off, and returned to complement the authenticity of the art deco/art nouveau décor in the light fixtures and artwork, embellished with lavishly scrolled frames. Shades of Al Capone’s heyday are found in the wall memorabilia as you enter and in the famous booth where he and his henchmen could keep a cautious eye on both doors.
Today, the Green Mill, in keeping with owner Dave Jemilo’s philosophy for a proper mix of down-to-earth friendliness and class, maintains an authenticity of the ‘40s in service, price and music, perfected upon with the steady Sunday night performance of the internationally acclaimed Uptown Poetry Slam which Marc Smith began at the Mill in 1986.