Monday 16 August 2010

Chiang Mai - North Gate and all that jazz

There are plenty of bars around the world that would love to have punters spilling out into the street, even in crowds over the road. And on a Tuesday night???

Welcome to the North Gate Jazz Co-op, where the draw is the nightly jazz sessions which kick off around 9:30pm, sort of, roughly-ish (hey, it's Chiang Mai ... the clocks don't work so good here).

It's pot luck in terms of who's playing ... but usually the line up consists of Paul, the good looking Thai owner who blows a mean mean sax, and a cosmopolitan mixture of someone on keyboards, a vocalist, a trumpeter, someone on bongos, bass, drums. With a few people who jump in and out as guest performers. It's amazing who literally blows through Chiang Mai, jing jing!

Tuesday nights is Open Mic nights, and an agreeable and amiable mix of locals, tourists and expats comes to check it out. And participate ...

Some nights it's brilliant. Other nights even better. It could be anyone from a control-freak New York septuagenarian keyboardist, to a hippie-trail European who plays amazing euphonium. Rasta guys on bongos. Weird hermit guy on percussion. A rich and envigorating musical cocktail.

Best of all, it's not some fancy up market glass-and-marble bar where you pay cover charge and $10 a drink. No! Free to get in (well, it's completely open to the street anyway) and a drink costs you about $4. If you're early enough you can grab the comfy sofa and chill. The casual crowd turns up in shorts and singlets. And , being Chiang Mai, there's always an artist or two in the crowd, one who normally sits front and centre and does ink drawings of the music.

Who would have thought Chiang Mai would have something like this to trumpet about?

Address: Sriphoom Rd, Chiang Mai
Directions: Just east of Chang Puek (northern) Gate, on the inner moat road.

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