Locals rejoiced last July when The Mezz opened above Sermet’s at 276 King Street, marking a reincarnation of sorts of the beloved Mezzane music venue that operated in the same location until 2004. And this time, one of contemporary Charleston’s most famed jazzmen, Quentin Baxter, is serving as artistic director.
“The Mezz offers an intimate experience, allowing the music to be expressed and appreciated at all dynamic levels,” says Baxter. Somewhere between a dinner club and a jazz bar, this venue is decidedly a listening room with music featured in the foreground, rather than the background, notes general manager Jennifer Russell. It’s open Thursday through Saturday for two to three sets per night. Dinner from Sermet’s is available at the 8 and 10 p.m. shows, with cocktails at 11 p.m.
On many evenings, the musical director himself is on drums, often playing with the Quentin Baxter Quintet (QBQ), featuring Charleston Jazz Orchestra director Charlton Singleton (trumpet), Mark Sterbank (tenor saxophone), Richard H. White Jr. (piano), and Kevin Hamilton (bass). But the schedule—posted a few weeks out at mezzdowntown.com—also includes groups such as the Charleston Latin Jazz Collective, The Ann Caldwell Quartet, and The Quiana Parler Jazz Ensemble. Renowned vocalist René Marie, plus Matuto—featuring College of Charleston grad Clay Ross—have even made appearances.
If you’re seeking sophisticated, complex jazz, you can’t go wrong with a visit to The Mezz.
The Quentin Baxter Quintet is The Mezz’ in-house band. For a show schedule, call (843) 853-4515 or visit www.mezzdowntown.com. There’s a $10 surcharge per person per night.