Thursday, December 8, 2011
As many of you know by now, Jardine's jazz nightclub on the Plaza in Kansas City abruptly closed their doors last weekend and pulled the rug out from under 15 employees and at least two musical acts that were scheduled to perform that weekend. One of the bands, The Dave Stephens Swing Orchestra was scheduled to perform 2 shows on Saturday, and were called at the last minute with a message that the entire staff at Jardine's had been fired and there would be no one available to work the shows. Jardine's proceeded to close the establishment entirely, putting a note on the door that they were "closed for repairs". The note later changed to say that Jardine's would be reopening on December 14th, and that the Kansas City bands booked to perform would go on as scheduled.
Since this happened, several former Jardine's employees are coming forward with their versions of the story, most of them claiming that the owner of Jardine's, Beena Johnson is an alcoholic and a cocaine abuser and has been screwing employees out of their pay for years as well as using mental and physical abuse on them. Former Jardine's employee "Stevie" and another employee who came forward today "Laura" says that Beena physically abused them and held back their pay for weeks at a time.
The latest breaking news from our sources at Kansas City News is from band leader Dave Stephens, who's show was cancelled suddenly last Friday night at Jardine's. Dave has come forward and told us that a check that was written to pay him for his band's performance during Thanksgiving week was bad and that Jardine's had put a stop payment on the check. Dave claims that he is out $3000.00 and that he had already paid all of his band members for the show, leaving him holding the bad check. This should be a stern warning to all Kansas City bands who are thinking of performing at the new Jardine's if it reopens with it's former management, even if you get a check from them, it doesn't mean that it's any good! If you are going to perform at Jardine's, you need to get your fee in CASH, up front, before you play a single note.
I can imagine that the media will be swarming Jardine's on December 14th if they decide to open their doors to the public, as the management has yet to return any phone calls to any of us.
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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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