Office of the VP for Communications – Keeping alumni and friends connected to U-M

Episode 28: Getting snazzy and jazzy on Main Street

A musical corridor

Bassist, composer, bandleader, and Michigan grad Dave Sharp has found a new groove on Main Street as musical director of the Blue LLama Jazz Club.

Interior, Blue Llama Jazz Club

The Blue LLama Jazz Club is open on Main Street, right next to the Ark between William and Liberty. (Image: bluellamaclub.com)

Sharp is a jazz and world music aficionado whose group Dave Sharp Worlds Quartet explores sounds and music traditions from Greece, Turkey, India, and Ukraine, among others. He even has a klezmer group. You could say he’s an explorer of sounds and thrives on experimentation and improvisation. Perhaps it’s the philosophy degree he earned at U-M that drew him to jazz.

In addition to playing in bands of various types over the years – Sharp was a touring bassist with the hard rock band the Melvins back in the day, and he also played with Iggy & the Stooges during an Ann Arbor tribute to their late guitarist Ron Asheton – Sharp also spent many years as a music teacher in Ann Arbor. He books and plays with jazz musicians at local clubs like the Old Town, and he is the founder and festival director of the A2 Jazz Fest, now in its fourth year.

Sharp’s latest role is the artistic director of the stunning and elegant new venue. He has been busy booking talent from far and wide these past several months, including student groups from the School of Music Theater and Dance – and name acts from New Orleans, New York, Chicago, and more. In a word, he and club founder Don Hicks (founder and former CEO of LLamasoft) and executive chef Louis Goral have just given us one more reason to be in love with Ann Arbor.

In this episode, you’ll hear Kurt Elling finishing up soundcheck prior to a recent gig.

Sharp wants to make Main Street a music corridor and, if anyone can do it, it’s probably him.

But we’ll let him tell you all about it. So, listen in, Michigan.
 
 
And, ugh,  a regrettable correction: In the email promo/intro to this episode, I stated incorrectly that Ellis Marsalis opened the club. (Since corrected on the podcast.) Also, Arturo Sandoval played a benefit prior to the opening but has not played at the venue itself. You know who HAS played there? Ravi Coltrane, Joey DeFrancesco, and Kurt Elling, among others. 

Comments

  1. Carol Schneider - 1974

    I was delighted to hear about Jazz in Ann Arbor. Also envious. I’ve lived in Sacramento since 1974 and we’ve had a very hard time sustaining a jazz club. More Jazz news always welcome.

    Reply

  2. Diane Wyse

    I am so excited for this jazz venue on Main Street. Ever since the Bird of Paradise was closed, I had been longing for a new club. My husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary at the Blue Llama on May 22. It was our first visit, and we will definitely be back. The ambiance, staff, dinner, and music were so amazing! Thank you so much for coming to Ann Arbor!!

    Reply

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