Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Last Friday local Kansas City jazz club Jardines closed it's doors and really got a lot of publicity from Fox News. They are running the story on every segment during the day's news broadcasts mostly featuring an interview from local Jazz celebrity Dave Stephens on the circumstances surrounding the closing of Jardine's in Kansas City. I suppose you could say that curiosity is the driving force behind the news coverage, as there is definitely an unsolved mystery afoot here. The sudden closing of the doors, the sudden firing of ALL of the employees, the cancellation of Dave Stephens show on Saturday, and then the note on the door that as of Monday morning read "Closed for repairs". The fact that Beena Johnson (Jardine's Owner) has not returned Fox News' phone calls probably feeds this media fire.
We do have an update today on the Jardine's situation:
A new sign has been hand written and placed on the door saying that they are hiring new staff and will reopen on December 14th. Rumors have surfaced that many of the former staff members have not received their pay and that they were owed back pay before they were let go. Former employees have now come forward and reported that they had been threatened, physically and mentally abused, and were repeatedly paid late, slowly, or not at all for their services. Currently, Jardine's is only taking information via email and according to the note on the door they are asking that new applicants go to the website to apply for a position. It's safe to say that they are currently screening their calls!
Rumors are also floating around that the owner is claiming that she fired the entire staff for theft. Well of course this is hard to swallow - how could all 15 employees who were fired be stealing? I don't think so. It would take a brave and desperate soul to apply for a job with Jardine's under it's current management, if the last week's events aren't warning enough. Jardine's will apparently open it's doors on December 14th and hope for the best. If you are one of the Kansas City jazz bands that is scheduled to perform there, we would suggest getting your money up front!
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Sunday, December 4, 2011
On Saturday afternoon we received a notice from our good friend Dave Stephens from the Dave Stephens Band warning his fans not to show up to his performance that night that was scheduled to be at Jardines Jazz Club in Kansas City near the Plaza. Dave said that Jardines had fired their entire staff with no advance notice on Saturday or perhaps on Friday. Currently, there is a sign on the door that says "closed for repairs", but according to several inside sources Jardines is closed for good.
It's hard to imagine the circumstances that may have surrounded the closing of Jardine's, but it had to have been something out of the ordinary due to the "sudden death" manner in which it closed. To hear that the entire staff was suddenly fired is proof that something was rotten at Jardine's, and to cancel a show on Dave Stephens at the last minute when they know that he flies all the way in from his home in Los Angeles just to perform at the club is just not right. Surely there is a good explanation for the closing of Jardine's as they have not done any sort of odd things like this in the past. They have been a steady rock in the rough waters that are the Kansas City jazz scene, as Kansas City jazz bands and jazz musicians hardly have anywhere to perform as it is.
Ironically enough, Kansas City is known for Jazz, but in reality there are less than a handful of venues that actually feature and promote live jazz. Jazz musicians are mostly loners, who are fairly arrogant and only want their own name to be known, this is why they don't really put together bands, rather they "sit in" with each other - or jazz performers with some notoriety put together a random group of jazz musicians to "back" their performances, often introducing each musician several times during a performance. Featured jazz musicians who will be affected by Jardine's closing will be Dave Stephens and his band, The Kansas City Lights, Danny Embrey and several other Kansas City bands. This is a serious blow to the jazz community as they are losing one of the most well known jazz venues in Jardine's, and they will be forced to look elsewhere for jazz gigs. A local booking agency is offering free sign up for jazz bands and jazz musicians at www.bandsforhirelive.com to help them find gigs in Kansas City and other areas in the Midwest.
Jardine's owner Beena Johnson hails from Pune, India and is an IT specialist (what else to they do down there, of course she is an IT specialist) and she was not available for comment on the closing of Jardine's jazz club in Kansas City.
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