by Monica Chamness
Down the stairs and through the corridor of the old Milk Bar on West Adams Street wafts a single musical note, high and sweet. It is the sound of a saxophone wailing a lonesome tune.
Offering jazz performances in an upscale atmosphere is the vision of entrepreneur Angela Fulton, the creator of Sax N the City.
Every Sunday night, below the De Real Ting Cafe, the band Cliche entertains fellow jazz lovers. Sax N the City is the company leasing the underground facility and putting all the details together.
“The name Sax N the City is mine,” said Fulton. “I’m not affiliated with Cliche. I will bring in guest musicians to play with the band. It’s a good way for people to get exposure.”
Fulton’s foray into the downtown music scene stems from her interest in jazz and a perceived demand for that type of club. To gauge her target market, the 21-and-up crowd, she sent out surveys regarding musical tastes in the area. Uncovering positive feedback for her idea, Fulton proceeded with her plan.
“I’m a jazz lover,” she said. “I haven’t been anywhere in Jacksonville where you can listen to jazz in a classy environment. I’ve been to Philly; I’ve been to different places and I decided that this is what we need. Jazz grabs a wide audience. I’ve been talking to people, going to functions, looking at what’s out there and comparing it to what I can offer. This is something I’ve wanted to do for years but never had the money.”
With potential corporate sponsors and a little help from her friends, Fulton is scheduled to stage the first Sax N the City on Nov. 3. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the first set playing around 7 or 7:30 p.m.
“I’ve been pulling all my resources from 20 years to do this,” she said. “I have a friend that owns a cigar bar. He’s going to lease out some of the area. Plus, I know these guys that have a valet service that will do the parking for me.”
Fulton also has a friend in marketing who will handle the advertising.
To ready the space for the upcoming events, the owner of the property will install hardwood floors, slap a fresh paint job on the walls and install red carpet to lend a touch of class. Fulton will decorate the tabletops with illuminated mini-saxophones, lanterns, floating candles and other items of a related theme. A small dance floor also will be added.
Tickets will be sold in advance and at the door for VIP seats and general admission seats at $12 and $10. The VIP seats will be in front of the stage. Both tickets include dinner until 8 p.m.
“This is not going to be your typical jazz club,” explained Fulton. “The whole object is red carpet treatment. We will have roses for the ladies on the first day, a cigar/cognac bar and valet parking. Also, the owner of the club is a master chef. He will do the desserts and food.”
New Orleans-style Cajun cuisine will dominate the menu.
Until Fulton can acquire a building of her own, Sax N the City events will be limited to Sunday evenings to avoid competition with Saturday night happenings. She intends to keep the operation downtown as she searches for a permanent home in some quaint little space. Radio spots, flyers and e-mail distribution lists are her main forms of advertisement at this point. With the advent of residential units such as Berkman Plaza and the W.A. Knight Building lofts and the resurgence of interest in Springfield, Fulton hopes to draw progressively bigger crowds.
“Downtown is really growing,” said Fulton. “We’re starting to look like a big city, how we should be looking.”