Woodlands Jazz

Posted by Woodlands Traveler on October 8, 2010 in Music, Restaurants, Woodlands Bars, Woodlands Wine Walk |

Live Jazz in The Woodlands

I admit, I’m not really a Jazz fan and I shed no tears when the most recent attempt for Houston to have a Jazz radio station (KHJZ) in Houston left the airways to become an internet (only) music source. Generally, when I think of Jazz, I imagine that tinny trumpet music backed by a light drumbeat that just goes on and on; aka ragtime jazz. So imagine my surprise when a casual invitation to attend the first official Jazz Night at Crescent Moon turned out to be one of the best date nights we’ve had in a while.

Crescent Moon Wine Bar Rayford Road

Crescent Moon Wine Bar on Rayford Road is nestled in a recently developed retail center just west of Bill’s Burger’s and Beer. Technically, it’s Spring but many consider it to be (at least part of) The Woodlands due to its proximity to the area and it’s distance from the actual city of Spring, Texas. The Wine Bar has a modest sign above the door in a modern looking retail center with a rather large parking lot in front resulting in a building that is farther away from Rayford Road than what you might normally expect for a retail center. Just don’t let the nondescript exterior fool you; inside could quite likely be the most pleasant, comfortable, and welcoming lounge atmosphere you’ve ever experienced. The seating varies from cushy and comfy, to large tables with formal chairs to chest high tables with stool-chairs. There are semi-private nooks and larger, open areas for medium sized banquets. The main room is both intimate and open, with excellent visibility of the stage and excellent acoustics. Beyond the aesthetics is the staff, they are incredibly friendly and easy going and the facilities are impeccably clean and there are numerous special wine events held throughout the year. It’s like your own living room, only ten times better.

But I digress. Back to the good stuff – Crescent Moon has just kicked off their monthly Jazz Nights on Thursdays. On the first Thursday of each month from 7:00 – 11:00, Chris Cortez and a rotating assortment of other local jazz favorites come in and set up for an extended set covering a wide array of Jazz music. If you think Jazz is all Dizzy Gillespie and Ella Fitzgerald, think again. In the hour and a half we were there last night, Chris and his friends played a whole range of tunes, from Vince Guaraldi’s “Linus & Lucy” (also known as “the Charlie Brown song”) to Seal’s “Kiss From A Rose.” He sang, played an assortment of guitars and was accompanied by bassist Glen Ackerman, and percussionist James Metcalfe. His energy is infectious and his humor is spot-on, and with the near-perfect acoustics of the ‘Moon, it makes for an incredible listening experience.

Along with the fantastic music, Crescent Moon has recently revamped and extended their menu to include a broader spectrum of dishes to their already wonderful offerings. While I went with tried and true from the original menu, the “Merlot” (an Herb marinated chicken breast with bacon, mushrooms and Swiss cheese on brioche), he tried one of the new gourmet burgers that Chef Cody Psenda has added to the menu. This was no ordinary burger; the ‘Moon brings in fresh cuts of beef daily and grinds their own burgers, which results in a light texture burger patty with fantastic flavor. Accompanied by either your own choice of all-fresh ingredients ranging from avocado to mushrooms, to prosciutto he went for simple with Smoked Cheddar Cheese alongside the usual items (lettuce, tomato and onion). Next time we plan to try one the other chef-selected combinations. Every bite of both meals was wonderful and that burger is a strong contender for best burger in The Woodlands right now. And it’s not just the beef and seafood that’s brought in fresh every day. All of the dressings they offer are hand-crafted in house. And if you somehow can’t find something you want on the menu, don’t be discouraged; as long as Chef Cody has the ingredients in the kitchen, your wish is his command. That being said, Cody has no problem with you modifying any of his offerings to your likings. Heck, you can even dream up your own special combination of items from the menu and he will be happy to prepare it for you. Who knows, you might even get something named for you if it’s original and of course, tasty.

With so many good things to say about Crescent Moon Wine Bar, it is difficult to choose only one as the “best part” – but if I had to try I would say it’s got to be the wine list. It is extensive, broad-ranging, eclectic, yet affordable. Glasses are generously poured and bottles always offered. Not sure you’ll like your selection? No problem; with few exceptions, sample any wine before committing to a glass. Finally, as an added bonus, on Thursdays, take a full $10 off of any bottle you choose, to drink at the restaurant or take home with you.

In short: come on over to Jazz night. There’s no cover and you’re sure to be comfortable, have a great time, enjoy your meal and have some fantastic wine… all of this less than five minutes from The Woodlands, just past the first traffic light from I45 on Rayford Road. It’s really hard NOT to enjoy yourself at Crescent Moon Wine Bar.

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