23 October 2018
The bar was dark, the stage was small and the windows from the outside were tinted.
If not for the Motif’s swoosh-like emblem projected onto the ground outside its front doors, one would think the venue was closed.
Motif Jazz Café, located on 182 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd in Colorado Springs is for the jazz lovers and classy drinkers. Open four days out of the week, Thursday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the bar offers a variety of mixed drinks and domestic beer to choose from, while the kitchen serves up anything from bison steak to baked macaroni and cheese. From the music to the drinks to the food, the bar offers nothing lowbrow.
Trying hard but not too hard – because that would be uncool – Motif Jazz Café falls between a Beatnik’s safe haven and a paradise for the modern day conformist to unwind. So whether you want to make obscure references to your favorite independent movies from the 50s that probably no one has heard about, or just not talk at all and listen to live jazz, Motif welcomes all.
A reservation would be wise if you would rather sit at a table closer to the stage than at the bar located in the back, which all said and done is nothing to complain about. The café is so small, you can easily hear and see the musicians on stage who play there every night the bar is open. Each night hosts different musicians, so rest assured you’re always getting a unique taste of jazz for your ears.
In a matter of 30 minutes – from 8:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. – the bar turns from completely open to closed, and tables fill quickly, most likely meaning a 45-minute wait.
Hitting harder than an Autumn’s Night, a chia whisky sour cocktail labeled as a fall favorite, was The Wayne Wilkinson Trio, a local jazz band that played on Saturday, Oct 6.. The group of progressive jazz musicians played a captivating two-hour set divided by a short intermission after their first hour of performing.
While beautifully controlling their sporadic jazz drum fills and melodic baselines, Wilkinson gave attendees a geometry lesson in jazz chord progressions on his guitar. Going from quiet to loud in a split second, The Wayne Wilkinson Trio shared the same brain that night as their improvised sections created a controlled chaos that the genre of jazz does best.
Playing at The Motif, a venue that could fit maybe 120 people, you would be surprised to know that the trio has played at venues such as the White House and London Jazz Festival.
So before you double take at the $14 cocktails, know that the biggest expense that Motif has to pay forward is the musicians playing each and every night. Keep in mind that an entry fee isn’t demanded, but you are required to purchase food or drink as a cover charge.
Motif Jazz Café is a rare, chic, niche venue of Colorado Springs, supporting not only your love for strong, sweet drinks, but also the city’s local jazz scene.