Whatever your feelings are about the food and drink at Hyde Park's the Promontory, you'd be hard-pressed to find much wrong with the venue's performance space, a gorgeous room with atom-shaped chandeliers, a great bar, and clean acoustics. But what distinguishes the Promontory are the acts it draws, atypical groups and artists from various realms of underground hip-hop, jazz, soul, blues, R&B, and funk. A show last fall featuring Pharoah Sanders and the Chicago Underground Duo was one of the best I saw in the past year, and a recent string of performances included the Average White Band, a tribute to Stevie Wonder featuring DJ Spinna, and Night Music sax man David Sanborn. There have also been excellent DJ nights, whether it's Stones Throw mastermind Peanut Butter Wolf or the regularly occurring After Dark series. Praise be unto booker Jake Austen, the Reader contributor, Roctober editor, and Chic-a-Go-Go producer who brings the same sharp sensibility to his bookings as he does to his other projects.
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