Jazz Showcase keeps the beat as one of the oldest jazz club in Chicago

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Jazz Showcase is not only one of Chicago's oldest jazz clubs, but also one of the oldest active jazz clubs in the entire county.

Founded in 1947 by Joe Segal, 94 - who was named an NEA Jazz Master in 2014 - the Showcase is now located inside a former train station in the Printers Row neighborhood.

"We're a big part of the city, and we keep the pulse of jazz alive here in Chicago," said current owner Wayne Segal, Joe's son.

General Manager Ainsley Klug started as a waitress at the Showcase, but now helps run the club with Segal.

"There was just a warmth and familiarity to the space," Klug said. "It's really kind of cozy and homey, and that's why we call it our musical home now."

Although events and concerts throughout the world are being cancelled due to the threat of coronavirus, some smaller venues like the Jazz Showcase are remaining open.

"The coronavirus, it is a concern of mine," Segal said. "I make sure that this space, our musical home, is very sterile - as sterile as we can make it."

"I just hope that this comes and passes sooner than late, and that everyone keeps themselves safe," said Segal. "We'll try to do the same here, and just keep the music going."

The Showcase brings in new artists each weekend, and also partners with local colleges to give young musicians the opportunity to perform on a world-class jazz stage. Sunday matinee shows are free for kids 12 and under.

This weekend's artist is Cuban pianist and composer Omar Sosa.

"This is the house of jazz," said Sosa. "One of the main things that I feel every time I come to play in that place is the freedom because all the spirits that (performed) here were a free spirit."

Sosa's trio will feature Cuban violinist and singer Yilian Canizares and Venezualen percussionist Gustavo Ovalles.
Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.