When you think of cool, do you think of the Ramada Inn? Underground parking, loud floral carpets, bellhops and chandeliers? A lady in a wig singing “My Funny Valentine” at the piano bar?
Think again. Both cool and hot, the Indigo Jazz Lounge thrives in the Compton Ramada Inn and Convention Center. The decor is basic lounge--low lights, candles on the tables, a mirror ball or two. The long bar has a good view of the stage.
Monday through Friday this is where everyone from the nearby Compton City Hall waits for the traffic to die down. The entertainment is recorded music and TV sports.
“During the week, we get people from the district attorney’s office, the mayor’s office,” says bartender Mia Gordon, a psychology major at Cal State Dominguez Hills who plans to go to law school.
But on weekends, the club turns into an upscale hot spot with a line to get in and a $5 cover charge.
Seville plays every Friday night--three synchronized sharpies in neon-blue suits who sing and move in perfect harmony, doing songs from Etta James, Michael Jackson and Bobby Brown with equal verve and aplomb.
Saturdays, rhythm-and-blues singer Elaine Gibbs performs.
On a recent Friday night, Lonnie Howard, campaign manager for Compton Mayor Walter R. Tucker, is hanging out at the bar in a neon track suit. “People should know that Compton is a place where they can come and enjoy themselves,” he says, adding, “This place has a good atmosphere for black people and all minority people.
LaVerne Jackson and Odelle Smith sit at the bar together watching the dancers. “I grew up here,” says Jackson, who works in health care, “and this is the place I like to come to.
Seville changes into red ties and red suits. “If you live it, put your heart into it,” says lead singer Philemon Young Jr.
The hotel and lounge are run by Lawrence Woods, former chief engineer for the hotel, who isn’t above taking a turn on the dance floor with the customers. The club is close to his heart, he says. “This is a place where the real people of Compton can come and relax.”
Where: The Indigo Jazz Lounge, Ramada Hotel and Convention Center, 111 E. Artesia Blvd., Compton.
When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Cost: $5 cover. Well drinks $4, beer $2.50.