The Blue LLama Jazz Club is under construction on Main near Liberty, in the space last home to Rush Street Lounge. It’s the work of two Ann Arbor heavy hitters: owner Don Hicks founded software company LLamasoft, and artistic director Dave Sharp has long been at the forefront of the local jazz scene, teaching and performing with many groups. He says the club will bring in some of the biggest names in jazz, including international artists from West Africa, India, and Brazil. Arturo Sandoval performed at the club’s pre-launch at Zingerman’s Greyline in October.
Joining Hicks and Sharp is executive chef Louis Goral, who appeared on the Food Network show Chopped last year, and worked until recently for Iron Chef Jose Garces, running restaurants in Philadelphia, Chicago, D.C., and New York City. To Goral, the two capital “L”s in LLama signify “the Love of food and the Love of music.” The goal, he says, is “to bring an experience that you could find in Paris or New York to Ann Arbor.”
They’re putting special thought into the acoustics. “We’ve tried to design it where every seat is a good seat,” says Sharp. They’re aiming for a March opening.