(The) Apex

330 E. 35th St.

Originally known as Club Alvadere (1920-22) and The Nest Club (1922-26), The Apex was an afterhours spot on the second floor across from the Chicago Defender owned by Joe Louis’ manager Julian Black. It catered to wealthier whites and was a spot where “white jazzmen” often came to listen in on the influential sounds of New Orleans’ musician and bandleader Jimmy Noone. The popular clarinetist and band leader had one of the last of the New Orleans style bands critical to Chicago’s cabaret scene in the 1920s. Noone’s band featured an unusual front line arrangement that preserved the New Orleans’ jazz sound without using brass instruments with Noone on clarinet, Joe Poston on alto saxophone and clarinet, Earl Hines on piano, Ollie Powers on drums, and Bud Scott on guitar. Noone’s smooth clarinet playing would be a major influence on Benny Goodman, Jimmy Dorsey, andd a young Nat King Cole. His sound also influenced the Swing era that followed. The Apex Club was raided and closed down during the Prohibition Era in 1930.

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