Returning Saturday evening to the Sundance Square district in downtown Fort Worth I drove to the same parking garage only this time I drove all the way to the top level before finding a spot. A healthy seven flights down to street level and off to the plaza to enjoy the evening. It was much more lively at night and looked a bit festive with all the fairy lights on the trees and the various neon signs. People were milling about the plaza awaiting the water fountain jets performance.
I wandered the now familiar streets and snapped photos of the neon signs along the way to my first destination for the evening – Scat Jazz Lounge. I say first destination because I wasn’t sure I would stick around even though I had read rave reviews about the club. The thing is they allowed smoking and I suspected that the smoke combined with my persistent cedar allergy would make me feel just a little miserable.
I followed a sign advertising an art exhibit and popped in for a quick look. The walls were lined with brightly colored paintings of famous musicians. I didn’t stay to browse since my apartment walls are already filled with artwork and I wanted to get to the club before it was full.
Curbside there was a musician unloading his kit so I offered my assistance and carried a couple of the cases to the elevator. Down to the basement and into the club I helped him carry the kit up to the stage. He thanked me and now having completed my roadie duties for the night I went to scope out the seating situation.
The club has a great atmosphere with cool & swanky retro styling, a few cozy booths near the stage and a bar at the back. Reserved signs occupied almost every table but I found a little round table near the bar and claimed it. Standing at the bar just a few feet away I watched one of the staff slide the ubiquitous reserved sign onto my table. I was evicted.
No worries! I moved my leather jacket over to the bar seat and plunked myself into the chair to order a mojito and a glass of water from the bartender.
Seated next to me were four women who told me they were longtime friends from thirty years back and they just happened to stop by the bar for drinks but weren’t sure about staying for the jazz performance. I encouraged them to hang out and at least listen to a song or two since the band would be starting in a few minutes. You can’t go to a jazz club and not listen to the jazz after all.
Bert the bartender suggested they put their name on a wait list for a table since reservations are only held for 15 minutes and there was a decent chance they would get a table. The band started at 9:00 and the room was filling up quickly.
After a few songs Victor Cager joined the band and made us all swoon with his deep, rich baritone voice. Victor had a great rapport with the audience, cracking jokes and singing the smoothest, jazziest version of happy birthday ever to a couple of audience members. It’s always a treat when a musician has the personality to match their talent. All of the band members were top notch musicians as well, each showing off their individual talents during a bit of solo time on drums, sax, bass, & piano.
My bar stool neighbors received word that they had a table available and they asked me to join them too. We were seated at the front row of tables, center stage, perfect. We were serenaded with jazz classics along with some blues. At one of the breaks my table companions decided it was time to hit the road and we bid farewell.
A couple was seated at my table and the woman told me she had chatted with someone in the band over at the bar, and when she pointed him out I told her about his incredible voice. She mentioned it was her birthday a few days ago and I told her I had recently celebrated my birthday too. Off she went to ask Victor Cager to sing happy birthday to both of us during the next set.
My night was complete after a Happy Birthday serenade in baritone by Victor Cager at Scat Jazz Lounge.
Cover $10 and 2 mojitos + tip $24.50 Round of drinks for table $40.00 and $20 tip for the band. Total cost $74.50
What about the cattle? The title reads Art & Jazz & Cattle but I’ve neither mentioned or eaten any cattle so far. The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo is an annual event that I declined to attend while in Fort Worth. Growing up in Calgary, Alberta I had my fill of rodeos after attending the Calgary Stampede each year. It’s a fun event but it’s just not at the top of my list of things to do now.
If you’re into cowboys there’s plenty of cowboy culture in Fort Worth which shares the Cowtown nickname with my hometown of Calgary, although Fort Worth is also known by the much hipper nickname of Funky Town as well.
Pay a visit to the Fort Worth Stockyards where you can see Texas Longhorn cattle at Fort Worth Herd Cattle Drive twice daily. Finish up with an evening at Billy Bob’s Texas known as the world’s largest honky tonk.
Cowtown or Funky Town no matter what you’re into you can get your fill of art, jazz, or cattle in the great city of Fort Worth, Texas.
Read Part 1 Road Trip to Fort Worth – Visit to the Modern
Read Part 2 Road Trip to Fort Worth – Art & Music