In painting the former Jasmine Supper Club as the sole bright spot in an otherwise dim landscape noted Jazz site AllAboutJazz.com once mentioned that Myrtle Beach is "a town where Jazz is obsolete."
Though this may have seemed harsh at the time, the sentiment has been mostly true in the five-plus years since the the once-happening hotspot on Kings Highway closed its doors in 2006. There's been a severe lack of support for local jazz in Myrtle Beach music.
Luckily, there's been a few signs to the contrary lately, the most recent being last weekend's Gold Key Jazz Society Jazz Festival at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.
But even the most starved fans of the music would agree, it's going to take more than once-a-year events to bring the genre back to notoriety locally.
Luckily, there's places such as Aspen Grille, 5101 N. Kings Hwy., which are doing their best to keep the music alive on the beach. This classic fine dining establishment located in the heart of Myrtle Beach has been hosting live Jazz on a regular basis since chef/owner Curry Martin took over the restaurant in 2009.
In addition to top-notch cuisine and charming ambience Aspen Grille currently offers four nights of live music, running Wednesday through Saturday each week.
There's a combination of cool jazz and more upbeat music for dancing with well-known vocalist Jackie Beaumont and pianist Lee Layman on Wine Down Wednesdays where 1/2 price wine is offered by the glass, Thursday nights host jazz trio Holman-Gravel & Friends, Fridays are reserved for singer-songwriter/ keyboardist Becca Bongiorno and on Saturdays Layman performs a variety of classic and modern favorites on piano.
We recently caught up with drummer Bates Holman and pianist Jordan Gravel, who along with a rotating crop of players perform as Holman-Gravel & Friends to talk about their weekly gig at Aspen Grille, the state or Jazz in Myrtle Beach and where the genre is headed. Here's what they had to say:
Catch Holman-Gravel & Friends beginning at 6 p.m. each Thursday at Aspen Grille. Visit www.aspen-grille.com for more information on showtimes & reservations or check out www.batesholman.com for more on the music.