B Sharps Jazz CafÃ© still serves the Tallahassee community with one of America’s greatest art forms: Jazz, according to its website.
The building originally housed a nursing home in 1921, which was started by Annie L. Shepard, a women’s working band leader. Geraldine Seay, an English professor at Florida A&M, transformed the “old folks’ home” into the jazz cafÃ©.
Seay, former director of Upward Bound in FAMU’s School of Business and Industry, said “it’s all about the music.” Seay said she wanted to create a place that could cater to musicians and wanted it to be somewhere people would actually listen.
Her inspiration came from traveling to jazz clubs and cafÃ©s in Paris and Athens, Greece, among others. Seay’s marriage to a musician also contributed to her desire to open a jazz club. Her has husband has played with musicians such as Wynton Marsalis and Chico Freeman.
B Sharps opened in 2008 after four years of preparation. The establishment, which seats 50 people, has a “beadboard” style, Seay said, meaning that its entire foundation is made of wood. She said that B Sharps is perfect for acoustic-sounding music that does not require a lot of amplifications.
Victor Goines, a prominent jazz clarinetist and saxophonist, will perform at B Sharps on Nov. 9.
B Sharps was originally open Wednesdays through Saturdays but is now open primarily on Fridays.
Al English, the doorman, said that B Sharps was affected greatly by the recession, and it has become costly to book performers. As a result, English said that Seay had to make cutbacks, so now it operates one day a week.
In addition to an array of jazz music, refreshments are available. Guests are able to purchase beer and wine, but liquor is unavailable.