Submitted by Red Rover — Correspondent
Rover Rating: 4 out of 4
Well, hello, there, dolly. Sounds like big band is back and taking center stage at Durhams Beyu Caffe to a full house.
A coffeehouse, bistro and bar by trade where you can "be-you" Beyu's nightlife draw is in the late-night jazz niche it fills. Now two years on the scene, Beyu supplements nearby Whiskey's Thursday night local-jazz offering of the Brian Horton Trio with a Friday and Saturday sidecar of jazzy samplings. This month the performers range from Jo Gore and The Alternative to GRAMMY-nominated songstress Carolyn Malachi. On my visit, the B&W Quintet was keeping the sax sexy by featuring Horton and Ira Wiggins.
With two street facing large-scale window walls, I had the 'spy' fortune of first street stalking the scene, with only a pane of glass and a few feet separating me from the band. I could see the crowd. Their faces cast barely aglow in the dimly lit speakeasy-ish nightspot. They were mellow. Almost subdued. Not in the "Dazed and Confused" sort of way, but simply serene. Every seat in the house was filled. Every age and range was accounted for, with even an octogenarian perched mid-room, next to a hip set of 20 and 30 something's, bobbing his head. Lost in the music.
Also rapt by the rhythm, the band members don't make eye contact with the patrons. They look off into the night, a snapshot waiting to happen by a still-life portrait artist that you can picture a hundred years from now on a historied museum wall, chronicling the Old North State's scale through jazz culture over time.
Inside, the pulse of the music penetrates the bar-side of Beyu with a mellow meter. Separated by a dividing wall is the bakery/cafe (which you enter into) with a host of Southern fare menu specials a sweet supplement. Soul music. Soul food.
The bottom line? Miles Davis would no doubt be proud. And well fed. A Bull City mainstay, Beyu has made its mark as a cafe-by-day, and a sort of sultry come-hither kind of weekend nightspot for you to get your John Coltrane on. And if it's your jam, you can have your cake and eat it too.