Monday, December 05, 2016

The Plugged Nickel

Miles Davis Chicago History Museum
The Plugged Nickel circa late 1960s 
(excuse the glare on my photo).
The Sigmund J. Osty collection - Chicago History Museum 
One of my fellow interns at the Chicago History Museum is working on processing a collection photographs of buildings from across Chicago. As she was working her way through them I spotted this jazz-related gem taken sometime in the late 60s/early 70s - the Plugged Nickel at 1321 N. Wells Street (a short walk from the Museum).

I've been keeping my eye out for the Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel 1965 box set. Used copies are so expensive that sometimes I almost succumbed to getting the digital version, but I managed to hold out until I found it reasonably priced last week (although it has been put aside for a Christmas present). Many consider the recordings Miles' quintet made at the Plugged Nickel to  be classics and an essential part of any jazz collection, and it would be nice to see the box set available again in a physical format (seems more likely it will be as vinyl).
old town chicago
As it appears in September 2016

While hunting online for articles regarding the club, I came across the article below from the Chicago Tribune (May 17, 1981) in which Larry Kart ponders why Columbia haven't reissued the Plugged Nickel LP in the U.S....I know the feeling.

Larry Kart Chicago TribuneLarry Kart Chicago Tribune


Unknown said...

I'm listening to Cookin' At The Plugged Nickel as I type and, on a whim, decided to look for a photo or two of the place. This is the first time I've seen the exterior, and now I'm very curious to see what the room, itself, would have looked like ca. 1965. Your 2016 "Tow Zone" photo answers my next question, which was going to be "does The Plugged Nickel still exist?" Can you point me in the direction of some interior photos of this place? I haven't been successful finding any.

AM said...

Thanks for stopping by. I can't recall ever seeing photos of the interior. If you manage to find some, let me know!

Unknown said...

Will do, Adam. I'm always on the lookout for old photos like that. Tonight's listening is Highlights From The Plugged Nickel. That's right... Highlights. I can't afford the complete version, either. I just checked once again at Amazon: they are offering the Complete set, available November 21, for only $399.99. That's just $50 per disc; a mere pittance!

I love Davis' group of this period. Their E.S.P. album is perfectly named -- even when I watch old filmed performances of them I find it difficult to see how they can navigate the starts and stops, the tempo changes, how they can anticipate every possible move. E.S.P.

The Plugged Nickel dates make me ask: is anyone more capable on that ride cymbal than Tony? The atmosphere of these recordings is wonderful, even that inebriated guy adamantly making (noisy) reference to Paul Chambers while Ron Carter was playing!