Toledo jazz scene makes a comeback with new lounge downtown

Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 9:38 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) -The Glass City’s Jazz scene has been quiet since 2011. However, an emergence is underway with the opening of a new jazz lounge in downtown Toledo.

Toledo’s jazz scene went dark after Murphy’s Place closed its doors for good. However, jazz enthusiasts now have a new lounge to call home, thanks to Lucille’s Jazz Lounge.

“I used to be in Rusty’s for five nights a week back in the late 90s, early 2000s and I was a Rusty’s person. There were a couple different clubs in town and I really loved the homey feel of Rusty’s that they presented,” Lucas said.

When Lucas opened TolHouse – a members-only social club – he said began to consider how to best utilize the building.

“So when we lost our last jazz club in 2011 with Murphy’s, I felt like Toledo really needed a place when we started TolHouse, I let the building speak to me what needs to be here and this particular geography inside this location said ‘this needs to be a jazz club’,” Lucas said.

Now, the new jazz lounge pays homage to the previous clubs with photographs of Toledo’s Jazz Legends decorating the walls. In addition, two legendary pianos from both Rusty’s and Murphy’s place are located in Lucille’s.

“The whole aesthetic of the jazz lounge is to be like the 1920s. We want to take you back to the roaring 20s era, so Great Gatsby is kind of a vibe, but we don’t lean too hard on a lot of imagery in the building,” Lucas said.

Local jazz musicians now have a place to call home, and touring musicians have a place to perform in the Glass City.

“We get people from all across the country Toledo has always been the chitlins circuit. So when people are leaving Detroit going to Columbus or on the way to Chicago going to Cleveland. This is a place that they can stop and get a show in on their off nights,” Lucas said.

While TolHouse is a members-only club, Lucille’s is open to the public.

“I’m a musician, and so I learn to appreciate great Jazz listening to great musicians. So from the perspective of sitting in the audience [and] just having that camaraderie of people who just want to hear some great cats just make up things on the spot, there’s nothing like seeing people really excel in are excellent at what they do come up with music on the spot,”

You can find a list of upcoming performances at Lucille Jazz

Lucas is credited with bringing live jazz back to Toledo.

“To be a Black man and in this town doing this type of business and to be able to create something that anybody can come to and everyone feels welcome is pretty special,” Lucas said.

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