(The) Cotton Club

1710 S. Michigan Ave.

Named for the famous 1920s club in Harlem, the Cotton Club played jazz in its front room and disco in the back, including sets by DJ Frenchie during the late 1980s. The venue, owned by Yvon Nazon, was also known for having helped to launch the careers of R Kelly and Bernie Mac. Squeezed by condo development during its second decade, and unwilling to jump on the hip hop bandwagon, the Cotton Club eventually closed its doors in 2006. According to Carolyn Albritton, a longtime booking agent at the club, “You’re forced to go in that [hip hop] direction as a business owner, and it makes it harder to get jazz in.”

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