Tucson, AZ-- The enduring appeal of jazz in all its forms was best expressed in this excerpt from an article in Smithsonian Folkways Magazine by Dr. John Edward Hasse in 2016. “Often acclaimed as America’s greatest art form, jazz has become accepted as a living expression of the nation’s history and culture, still youthful, difficult to define and impossible to contain, a music of beauty, sensitivity, and brilliance that has produced (and been produced by) an extraordinary progression of talented artists.”
Missing from Tucson’s very active music scene until now was a dedicated venue for jazz. The Century Room at Hotel Congress, A Borderlands Jazz Club and Mezcal Tasting Lounge, will open soon. The Century Room is the result of a collaboration with the Rio Nuevo Board and dedicated to the transformation of a space at the 100-year-old Hotel Congress into a state-of-the-art club that will contribute to the spirit and excitement of Downtown Tucson.
Shana Oseran, partner in Hotel Congress with her husband Richard since 1985, was inspired to develop this exciting project by jazz drummer Arthur Vint. Originally from Tucson, Vint has spent the past 15 years in New York City performing and working in jazz clubs including the Blue Note, Dizzy’s Club, among others. For over 10 years he worked at the world-famous Village Vanguard where he rubbed elbows with some of the greatest living jazz masters and learned the intricacies of managing a jazz club. Since 2020, he has been professor of jazz drum set at the University of Arizona. “I have always dreamed of opening my own club and Shana has included me in every aspect of planning the Century Room – it is an exciting project that we are thrilled to bring to the community”, said Vint. His band Arthur Vint and Associates will perform on Friday, January 21st as part of the HSL Properties 2022 Tucson Jazz Festival (the show was moved outdoors on the Hotel Congress Plaza for guests’ comfort and safety during the Omicron virus surge). As the Century Room Music Curator, Vint will showcase regional and national acts on the listening room stage.
Oseran, who has always been hands-on in development of all Hotel Congress/Maynard’s projects, has devoted much of the past year to planning and the build out of the Century Room. Each step along the way has been carefully assessed and executed. For her, this is a true labor of love and the culmination of years of evolution at the hotel property. “The Historic Hotel Congress has been a leader in adaptive re-use since 1985. The Century Room occupies the space that over the years has been home to Valley National Bank, Stamp and Coin, a bookstore, art gallery, Southwestern clothing manufacturer, menswear store, the Copper Hall banquet facility and now Southern Arizona's first dedicated jazz club. We are pleased to introduce a third music venue to the hotel, joining Club Congress and Hotel Congress Plaza. I think Tucson is ready for this one-of-a-kind venue”.
The Century Room welcomes guests through the 100-year-old double door entrance on Congress Ave and 5th Street into a space that is intimate and inviting. Each detail has been carefully considered, from the comfortable bar stools, banquettes, cocktail tables and chairs, to the warm taupe colors of the walls. Caylor Design & Construction guided the remodel. Local specialists Spendiarian & Willis Acoustical & Noise Control were consulted on the design and materials for the stage area to help create the optimum space for acoustic jazz. Custom banquette seating was built for the space to create an authentic jazz club/cabaret feeling. Renowned designer Rory McCarthy created an acoustical hanging cloud system over the wrap-around bar as well as a unique “tower of jewels” liquor display unit near the entrance of the room. The entire design team worked collaboratively and improvised together - much like a group of jazz musicians.
Great jazz is best when accompanied by great beverages. A primary feature of the Century Room, is the beautiful bar area at the front of the space dedicated to the celebration and tasting of the world’s best Mezcal and related Agave spirits, etc. Realizing the vision of Hotel Congress CEO/Owner Todd Hanley, who has long wanted to create a dedicated setting for the exceptional Mezcal spirits of the borderlands and beyond the Century Room offers guided tastings of small batch ancestral mezcals featuring a collection of seven LaMata varieties, as well as Rancho Tapua Bacanora, Mazot Bacanora, Sotol Por Siembre and more. Made with a focus on biodiversity and sustainability of the agave plant, they all represent the ethos of the Century Room, Hotel Congress, and the Agave Heritage Festival, which Hanley founded in 2008. A broad selection of local and Sonoran wines, locally brewed beer and spirits including Whiskey del Bac, Hotel Congress 100 Vodka (produced by Flying Leap Distillery) and a full list of creative cocktails created by Bar Manager Mike McGill, round out the offerings. A small bites menu will also be available.
HOURS AND DETAILS
The Century Club is located in the Hotel Congress at 311 E Congress Street in Downtown Tucson and will initially offer live entertainment on Friday and Saturday evenings from 6pm to midnight. Expanded schedule TBA. For reservations and show schedules visit www.hotelcongress.com/family/century-room/ or call 520-622-8848/toll free at 1-800-722-8848.
COVID SAFETY PROTOCOLS
As per Pima County guidelines, all staff at the Century Room are masked. Guests must present proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test within 72 hours and must wear masks except when eating or drinking. Hospital grade HEPA filters have been installed in the air filtration system of the Century Room for maximum efficiency.