When the quartet's first set is finished, they sit down to dinner. They can, I was told, order whatever they want, "within reason." This is, of course, how jazz bands often got paid when jazz was new, and playing for your supper adds something honest to the proceedings regardless of what kind of fees may also be involved--a flavor of jazz as it developed organically in its natural club habitat, before it became a kind of classical music. After one more set, they get dessert.
And on top of all this, the Habitat is a nearly ideal spot for jazz, with the seating area angled away from the stage and permitting various levels of engagement with the music. The Sunday crowd there is a mixture of friends in conversation, business travelers, and a few who focus on the music. It'd be good if that last category grew, for the heart of jazz is beating out there on Jackson Road. Even if you just go, have a steak, and let the music filter in, you'll be getting a bit of the real deal.
[Originally published in January, 2013.]