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Review: NAYO JONES EVERY FRIDAY @LITTLE GEM SALOON

By on May 15, 2015
LITTLE GYM

Trip Advisor reviews:
“Great dinner and show.”
5 of 5 starsReviewed April 12, 2015
We had great food and service. Nayo Jones performed the night we went, she was awesome, if you get the chance to see her you should take it. It is a small place, we had a reservation, table right in front of the bandstand. The restaurant was full and the waiters kept up great.

“Go See Nayo”
4 of 5 starsReviewed May 20, 2014 credit card Amex Card Member Review
The Little Gem is one of our favorite places to go to listen to music in New Orleans, with good southern cooking in a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere. We had seen Kermit Ruffins, who puts on a wonderfully-entertaining show, and he introduced Nayo Jones, who did a few songs, and reminded us of a young Billie Holiday. So we went back for an evening when Nayo and her band were performing. She is not only a great singer, but warm and engaging as well. She performs weekly, so go see her!

Jazz historians have long considered the 400 block of South Rampart Street the birthplace of jazz. The Little Gem Saloon was first opened in 1903, taking its place among other jazz clubs that have long been lost to the past including The Eagle Saloon and the Iroquois Theater. No other single location is more significant to the founding and evolution of jazz than this one. During its time the Little Gem Saloon served as a popular watering hole for early jazz legends like Buddy Bolden, Freddie Keppard and Jelly Roll Morton until closing its doors in 1909.

Little Gem Saloon is a historic restaurant and live music venue that dates back to 1904 when the early progenitors of Jazz like Jelly Roll Morton and Buddy Bolden performed at Frank Douroux’s Little Gem Saloon in the historic “Back O’ Town” neighborhood that borders the infamous Storyville red-light district. As Jazz became one of New Orleans greatest exports, the 400 block of S. Rampart, also known as “The Ramp”, was a teeming commercial district that included the Karnofsky Tailor Shopwhere Louis Armstrong reportedly worked in his youth, and numerous Jazz clubs including the legendary Eagle Saloon, and The Iroquois Theatre. Between 1926 and 1949, the building was home to David Pailet’s Loan Office, a combination pawn shop and hang out for musicians and in the 1950’s, it became Pete’s Blue Heaven Lounge, an R&B club where members of the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club began and ended members funerals. In the late 50’s and early 60’s, in the name of progress, the once thriving district was demolished in order to build a new City Hall, office towers and parking lots. The Little Gem Saloon was boarded up for close to 40 years until its rebirth in December 2012.

In 2012, Dr. Nicholas Bazan, his daughter Maria Bazan, son Nick Bazan, son-in-law Charles and brother Tim Clark set out to restore The Little Gem with an eye for historic preservation and a passion for Jazz. The group transformed The Little Gem Saloon into a multi-level restaurant and live music venue that harkens back to the days when venue was truly the jazz corner of New Orleans. More than a century since it first opened its doors, the restoration of the Little Gem Saloon marks the resurrection of this historic area as the new epicenter of New Orleans’ jazz.

The Little Gem is anchored by a first floor dining room where patrons experience some of the best live music, cuisine and cocktails that New Orleans has to offer. Chef Miles Prescott creates locally sourced Southern Soul cuisine, bartenders serve up handcrafted cocktails and small ensembles perform on an art-deco stage. The upstairs is home to The Ramp Room, an intimate 2nd floor live music club that boasts pristine acoustics, plush seating and a wrap around balcony.

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