GRAND RAPIDS — If there’s pent-up demand for live music — in particular, jazz — then GRNoir has quickly cultivated a devoted audience for its offerings.
Open since early February at 25-percent capacity due to the latest COVID-19 restrictions, the slick new Grand Rapids wine and jazz bar at 35 S. Division Ave. operated by Shatawn and Nadia Brigham has drawn enthusiastic, socially distanced patrons for performances by West Michigan jazz musicians, who’ve been wearing masks while playing.
“It has been absolutely amazing,” said Nadia Brigham. “It’s the very vibe we envisioned and we know that because patrons are forthright in telling us.”
GRNoir currently is hosting live music on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with patrons booking reservations online in advance, with attendance limited to one-quarter of the eventual 80-person capacity at the wine bar. Reservations have filled up quickly for the live music nights.
“Very nice venue, tastefully decorated and has a very good wine list,” said Grand Rapids drummer Randy Marsh, who made his performance debut at the bar earlier this month with keyboardist Clif Metcalf and guitarist Jordan Finn. Marsh returns to GRNoir with the popular Organissimo trio on Feb. 27.
“Shatawn and his staff were very nice to us and even at only 25 percent capacity, the people who were there showed their appreciation for the music. I think once the restrictions are lifted, this venue will do well.”
GRNoir — the city’s first Black-owned wine bar — is billed as a place “that exists to celebrate the global and American culture of wine and jazz,” with small plates and a wide selection of wines.
Shatawn Brigham is a Level 1 Sommelier who’s also the community schools coordinator with Kent School Services Network and Kentwood Public Schools. Nadia Brigham is the principal of Brigham Consulting LLC, co-founded by the Brighams.
“The music has been amazing,” Nadia Brigham said. “Kevin Jones, of Tenth World, our music curator, is doing an amazing job lining up artists. Of course, COVID is limiting our ability to have horns and singing, but we look to the day. It will be all the better.”
West Michigan keyboard player Dutcher Snedeker performed during GRNoir’s opening week and said it was fun “seeing all of the different folks digging the space.”
Musicians interested in performing at GRNoir can email Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming jazz shows include the Ivan Akansiima Trio at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (Feb. 20) and Robert Pace Trio at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 24.
— Find more West Michigan music news at LocalSpins.com. Email John Sinkevics at email@example.com.